Caroline Swain, a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School, was recently presented the Cook County Sheriff Commitment to Service Award. To be eligible for this award, high school students must volunteer a minimum of 100 hours and write an essay. Caroline volunteered at local nonprofit agencies for 118 hours. The essay question from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office: In 100 words describe what you feel has been the value of your community service to others and yourself?
As a Food Pantry volunteer, I have contributed in serving 1,100 to 1,460 homeless families from 13 area zip codes. My volunteer work for the Friends of Oak Park Public Library’s Book Fair helped raise funds to support early literacy and learning.
At the Oak Park Regional Housing Center (OPRHC), my volunteer work supported its efforts to promote racial diversity. For example, the OPRHC provides free rental service to approximately 5,000 apartment seekers annually.
Volunteering has made me a better person. Mahatma Gandhi’s words resonate with me: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”