Neighbors in the News: Highland Park man earns service award, pays it forward

Steve Braun, a Highland Park resident and Northwestern Mutual wealth management adviser, was recognized by the company as a 2022 Community Service Award winner.

Braun has been a board member and active supporter of Cures Within Reach and, as part of the Community Service Award, has donated $15,000 to the Chicago-based nonprofit.

Each year, Northwestern Mutual recognizes the leadership of its financial advisers who are making a difference in their communities through exemplary volunteerism. As part of these efforts, the company, through its foundation, is awarding $310,000 in grants to nonprofits nationwide through its 2022 Community Service Awards.

Braun previously received the Community Service Award from Northwestern Mutual in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

“I truly believe being an active and engaged volunteer and supporter of nonprofit organizations creates a more vibrant, healthier community and delivers ongoing benefits to everyone involved,” said Braun.

Cures Within Reach catalyzes the testing of approved therapies for new indications across the U.S. and beyond. Locally, it's working to improve health disparities by funding Chicago-based clinical trials for diseases that impact racial/ethnic minority communities.

Amy Seklecki has joined the Arlington Heights Park District as director of marketing and community engagement, responsible for the overall marketing and communication functions of the park district.

“I'm incredibly excited and grateful to serve the community as the director of marketing and community engagement,” said Seklecki. “The Arlington Heights Park District is one of the largest and best park districts in Illinois, and it's truly a dream to grow professionally and personally here.”

Seklecki previously served as the events and marketing manager at the village of Barrington. Prior to her role with Barrington, she served as the superintendent of marketing and special events and marketing and special events coordinator for the Wheaton Park District.

Seklecki holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Aurora University in communications and earlier this year became a Certified Park and Recreation Professional.

Pictured are Troop 140's new Eagle Scouts: Back row: Michael Meshboch, Carson Gallagher, Eric Vondrak, Matthew McGowan, Kellen McGowan and Jonathan Abraham; front row: Alastair Tutty, Zachary Pipin, Daniel Wilson, Josh Tasher and Liam Thomson. Courtesy of Alicia McGowan

Congratulations to Jonathan Abraham, Carson Gallagher, Kellen McGowan, Matthew McGowan, Michael Meshboch, Zachary Pipin, Josh Tasher, Liam Thomson, Alastair Tutty, Eric Vondrak and Daniel Wilson, all Scouts from Troop 140, who received their Eagle Scout rank in a recent ceremony at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Buffalo Grove.

It has been a fun and memorable journey for this group of boys, whose Scouting adventures include kayaking in the ocean through the San Juan Islands in Washington state, spelunking Maquoketa Caves in Iowa, and canoeing the boundary waters of Minnesota.

Of these 11 Scouts, 10 are from the same elementary school district - Kildeer Countryside District 96 - and seven have been in school together since the first grade.

Their Eagle projects, which were all completed in the past year, include constructing a wooden boardwalk, winterizing plant beds, painting a world map mural on a school blacktop, landscape trim, sanding and repainting a storage shed, creating concrete tubs for native aquatic plants, building plant propagation beds, deep cleaning and disinfecting exercise equipment, building a wooden retaining wall, creating new trail signs, collecting and spreading seeds, and building new benches.

Kylie Cohen, recipient of a Dexcom Scholarship from Diabetes Scholars, a program of the nonprofit Beyond Type 1. Courtesy of Diabetes Scholars

Deerfield resident Kylie Cohen, a 2022 Deerfield High School graduate, was awarded a Dexcom Scholarship through Diabetes Scholars, a program of the nonprofit organization Beyond Type 1. She is one of 58 recipients around the country to receive the scholarship.

Kylie is not your average student. Since her Type 1 diabetes and celiac diagnosis at the age of 5, she has aspired to become an advocate for others struggling with diabetes. She plans to finish medical school to be a physician and, ultimately, make a difference and improve the lives of Type 1 diabetics all over the world.

Continuing to demonstrate her dedication to not letting diabetes hold her back, Kylie is using this scholarship to begin her education at the University of Georgia.

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