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posted: 3/22/2012 11:15 AM

Gurnee Park District honors dedicated volunteers, employees

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  • Libby Baker

    Libby Baker

Gurnee Park District submission

Each year, the Illinois Association of Park Districts allows member agencies to recognize employees, volunteers, elected officials or civic leaders who go above and beyond the call of duty in their work to help in recreation endeavors.

Gurnee Park District board members and employees recently seized the opportunity and recognized five individuals for their outstanding efforts to help foster the mission of quality parks and programs in the village.

Park board President Libby Baker expressed her pride in the honorees.

"These individuals have embodied what it is to be a part of the Gurnee Park District by personifying the park district mission and vision in a way that truly defines serving others," Baker said.

Debbie Kowalczyk, a park district site director, was lauded for her outstanding efforts in morning and afternoon Children Active in Recreational Enrichment before- and after-school program and camp activities.

Ginni Gianneschi was recognized for her impact on preschool/early childhood camps, contributing to the behind-the-scenes activities of park district programs.

Cindy Schmidt has volunteered at the park district for 14 years in many coaching and volunteering capacities.

Jessie Kuruvilla has donated time to the park system on a regular basis for the past five years at summer camps and special events and is always a positive, happy and great role model.

Marie San Pedro received the Community Service Award for her work with the Gurnee Park District's dance program. She puts her heart and soul into her classes and this is evident by the increasing number of students that request her as an instructor each session.

Park district volunteer coordinator Linda Brogren said there are endless benefits when giving to the community.

"Our volunteers take away benefits like learning new skills, connecting with others, transforming the lives of those around them and feeling a sense of achievement for their efforts," Brogren said.

More than 400 volunteers are part of the Gurnee Park District's program annually. They provide more than 24,000 hours of service to sports teams, special events and projects and day camps.