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updated: 4/8/2013 9:34 AM

Running the Human Race: DuPage Homeownership Center

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  • Supporters of the DuPage Homeownership Center took part in the inaugural Human Race, including Executive Director Debra Olson, kneeling from left, and board members Joan Rickard and Linda Shea.

    Supporters of the DuPage Homeownership Center took part in the inaugural Human Race, including Executive Director Debra Olson, kneeling from left, and board members Joan Rickard and Linda Shea.
    Courtesy of the DuPage Homeownership Center


The DuPage Homeownership Center aims to help people looking to buy their first home, or who are struggling with their mortgage, find their way to responsible, sustainable homeownership.

The organization offers classes and counseling to prepare would-be buyers to borrow responsibly and, through its DuPage Homestead Program, helps them secure low-interest loans. For homeowners struggling to make ends meet, the center offers financial counseling, support in working with lenders to restructure mortgages and guidance in finding emergency financial assistance. Seniors can turn to the center for information about reverse mortgages, tax relief and low-cost home repairs that can help them hold onto their homes.

Today Linda Shea, a board member for DuPage Homeownership Center, tells us more about her support for the organization and why she chooses to run in the Human Race.

Q. What organization are you supporting through the Human Race? Why?

A. I am supporting the DuPage Homeownership Center Inc., a nonprofit housing organization. I have been on the board of directors since it was started over 20 years ago. It is the only HUD-certified nonprofit in DuPage County that offers free pre-purchase, default/foreclosure and reverse mortgage counseling in the county.

Q. Who or what inspires you to participate?

A. This in one of our new fundraising efforts and it combines my love of running with my love for DHOC and helping to raise money for them.

Q. How have you been affected by the cause related to your organization?

A. I'm in the mortgage industry so any time we can get more qualified people into homes the better it is for our business, families, neighborhoods and communities.

Q. What has been difficult about the experience? What has been rewarding?

A. It was more difficult raising awareness about the race in order to get more run/walk participants and money donated than I expected. I ran last year and the weather and turnout of runners/walkers was great.

Q. What might surprise people about the experience?

A. I've participated in many races over the past 10 years and for a new race this one is very well-organized. Everyone is so involved in the organizations/causes they are supporting with the race that it gives it an extra special feel the day of the race.

Q. What have you learned about yourself and/or the person you're honoring because of the experience?

A. That it's fun to run and raise money for an organization you truly believe in. It's also a great way to get the word out about a small, local nonprofit and meet others in the community who are doing the same thing.

Q. What support have you received from your organization?

A. We had several other board members and staff members participate and help with the donations. We are looking forward to even more involvement this year.

Q. Have you done this 5K before and, if so, what was the experience like?

A. I did run the race last year and I'm looking forward to it again this year. It was a fun run and had an overall very festive and exciting feel to it. You can tell that everyone involved is very committed to the cause they are supporting with either running, walking or volunteering at the race.

Q. What would you tell someone who is interested in participating but might be the slightest bit hesitant?

A. Whether you walk, run or donate, you will be rewarded in a way. This is a great first race for someone who's never completed a 5K before and a fun one to do if you do many each year. To visit all of the booths and learn about the organizations afterward helps make it all seem very worthwhile and that you are helping some local great organizations along with keeping healthy is also a plus.

Q. How can readers donate to your fundraising efforts?

A. Here is the link that takes you to our donation page. We'd love to have more runners, walkers or donations. The more people that know about us and the race, the better.

Q. How will the organization use the proceeds from the race?

A. We will use it to help provide a full range of free services to our clients by promoting responsible, sustainable homeownership, with an emphasis on serving first-time homebuyers, low- and moderate-income households and counseling homeowners in crisis. You can learn more about the DuPage Homeownership Center at

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