The Value of Volunteering
The start of school is the signal — not just for kids, but for adults, too — that summer is over. And for me, this particular school year is a signal that a season of life is coming to a close as well.
This year the youngest of our four daughters will be finishing up high school. While we will certainly try to savor this last year of having a child at home, in what will surely seem like a blur, we will soon be empty nesters. And I will begin the transition from the second major stage of life into the third.
Looking back, my first 30 years or so — from the time I was born until I got married — was the “all about me” stage of life. The past 30 years or so have been the “all about family” stage of life. And while I don’t anticipate this wonderful second stage to ever end completely, my goal for the third and upcoming stage of life is to be “all about others.” While I have always made an effort to volunteer and help out when and where I could, time limitations between work and home made it difficult to get as involved in service or charitable projects as much as I would have liked. Going forward, with less of my time taken by parental responsibilities, my hope is to get more plugged in with local service groups. I’m not sure exactly what that will look like right now, but I’m excited about it. That’s because whenever I have done service projects in the past, I have almost always come away better for having been involved.
Part of it — as the late Harry Chapin expresses more eloquently than I in the quote at the upper left of this page — is that when you get involved with groups that are trying to make a positive difference in the world, you invariably meet and get to know some really great people. And making a difference, even a small one — whether locally, nationally or internationally -— can also be very satisfying. That’s not to say — as Michele Weldon points out in her column, “Any Volunteers?” on page 96 — that volunteering isn’t without its challenges. But ultimately it is truly worth the effort.
For those who are looking to plug in, Giving DuPage might be a good place to start. As indicated in our By the Numbers feature on page 14, the organization offers more than 700 opportunities to volunteer and is in search of 150,000 “do-gooders.”
This issue also contains our annual Dining Guide, which includes profiles of more than 500 area restaurants. Among them are a number of especially noteworthy newcomers, including Michael Jordan’s Restaurant in Oak Brook, which opened last month, and Chuy’s, a new Tex-Mex restaurant in Warrenville. The latter is the first outlet in Illinois of a popular Texas-based chain, which has become a family favorite. That so many quality restaurants are choosing to open in the western suburbs is a great sign of just how far the local culinary scene has come in recent years.
As always, we hope you enjoy this issue and thanks for being a reader!Edit Module