A closer look at people who volunteer

Seven Senior Corps-RSVP members were given special recognition in April at the HandsOn Suburban Chicago Celebration of Service breakfast at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights. Here's a closer look at a few of them:

<h3 class="breakHead">Craig Powers </h3>

Craig Powers has served for many years as a volunteer at the Community Paint-A-Thon.

"Craig's knowledge and support are essential to the success of the Annual Community Paint-A-Thon," said Annette Sommer. Community Paint-A-Thon program director for HandsOn Suburban Chicago. "His dedication to this program over the years has made a difference in the lives of many individuals in our community."

He acts as the primary home inspector, meeting with each homeowner to detail the scope of work and ensure each home meets program requirements. He created a new Home Inspection Summary Report that details the type of repair, prep work, the amount of paint and color required, the level of need and difficulty of the project, and the number of volunteers required to successfully complete the painting in one day.

He contacts local paint supply companies to donate their "overstock" for this community service project so that every team member has new paint brushes, rollers, paint trays, drop cloths, window caulk and scraping tools.

He works with volunteer management to assign a team with requisite skills to successfully manage the painting and repairs required. He breaks the tasks into manageable pieces, so even the novice team can manage the painting project successfully.

His knowledge and support have made it easier to paint 25 homes each year and to obtain on average more than $10,000 in donated supplies from local businesses.

The community volunteers feel a sense of accomplishment doing a professional job that helps fragile seniors, veterans and the permanently disabled stay in their homes, increases property values and leaves homeowners with renewed pride in their home's appearance.

<h3 class="breakHead">Judy Liles </h3>

Judy Liles volunteers twice a week in the Lunch Buddies program of Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine where she helps tutor fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in math and writing.

If Liles has trouble helping a student, she tries to find resources to better prepare her to tutor the students the next day. She builds a great connection with the students and encourages them to work hard. She finds their true talents and increases their confidence academically.

<h3 class="breakHead">Doris Walther </h3>

Doris Walther has been a volunteer tutor with the Read to Learn program since January 2011.

"I chose Doris Walther for this honor because she is the epitome of what an excellent tutor is. Doris cares about her students deeply and has shared their progress and concerns with me after or before class many times throughout the semester," said Site Supervisor Beth Horvath.

"Doris takes clear and detailed progress notes which let me know not only how her students are mastering the material, but whether or not her students are enjoying the lesson and what additional materials she occasionally brings in to supplement the lesson plan. … She never complains, but offers help to both her fellow tutors and me."

• To hear interviews with other HandsOn Suburban Chicago volunteers such as Dorothy Rzepecki and Gerri Hamilton, who have been friends for 72 years and have volunteered between them for 36 years at Rolling Meadows High School, go to

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