My life has been enriched through volunteering at various places at different times in my life. I grew up volunteering. Whether at church functions or through the Girl Scouts, volunteering has always been a way for me to give something back to a community that has given me a lot. Seeing a person’s smile when you do something for them or help them better their lives is one of the greatest joys I can think of.

I’m passionate about Oak Park history. It’s the reason I volunteered with the Hemingway Foundation for many years and why I will be participating in Wright Plus for the ninth time this year. This community has such an interesting history, and volunteering at those places has given me a way to learn about this history. Volunteering is also a part of this community’s longstanding commitment to helping others — from Grace Wilbur Trout, who helped Illinois women get the vote, to the everyday people who volunteer at the many excellent organizations we have today.

National Volunteer Week is April 15-21 and it is an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time, talent, voice and support to causes they care about in their community and around the world. Their stories serve to inspire others to take action and discover their collective power to unite in making a difference.

We all have the power to make a difference in this world, and we can make meaningful change through volunteering. 

If you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer, come to the Volunteer Meet and Match event at the West Cook YMCA in Oak Park on Wednesday, April 18, from 4 to 8 p.m. This free event is organized by the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation to match your interests and skills with more than 40 nonprofits that need your help. Walk-ins are welcome but registration in advance will help match your interests and skills to organizations’ needs. Register at

Michelle Springer

Oak Park

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