||The Together We Cope picnic celebrated the efforts of its 200 volunteers including “volunteers-in-training” Colin Patrick (left) and Ethan Patrick of Tinley Park.
‘You cannot find a better place’ to volunteer than Together We Cope
Among the volunteers whose work has enabled Together We Cope to help bridge the gap for Southland residents in crisis is Betty Riley of Oak Forest (left), who received her 20-year pin from executive director Kathryn Straniero.They celebrated age and youth, experience and the excitement of being new to the job at the 2014 volunteer picnic for Together We Cope, a day when some of the south suburbs’ hardest-working volunteers were commended and thanked for sharing their talents to make a difference for their neighbors in need.
“Together We Cope is only as good as its volunteers, and we have a fabulous volunteer base,” said Kathryn Straniero, executive director. “We’re very, very grateful. Your efforts make this organization strong.” The Tinley Park-based homeless prevention agency has nearly 200 active volunteers.
Among those commended at the Sept. 14 event were Jo Ann Hillblom of Tinley Park and Mary Nolan of Orland Hills, who previously were named volunteers of the year. These recipients of the Reimer Award were selected for demonstrating the care and compassion that is the spirit of TWC. The award is named for Theodore H. Reimer Jr., a late member of the agency’s board of directors and a longtime volunteer.
Hillblom told her fellow volunteers, “I’m sure I speak for Mary as well when I say that we get so much more than we give. If you’re looking for someplace to volunteer, you cannot find a better place than Together We Cope. It’s a real team effort.”
Longtime volunteer and board member Leonard Schaafsma of Oak Forest received special recognition for most volunteer hours served in 2014. Schaafsma spent 2,119 hours working on behalf of the agency in one calendar year. Two other volunteers also were honored: Gordon Collins of Tinley Park for 908 hours and Victor Vaca of Orland Park with 724 hours. Twenty-year service awards were presented to Robert Gale, Betty Riley, Aurora Scaramella and Kathryn Straniero.
Also among the volunteers was Kevin Patrick, a board member from Tinley Park whose sons Colin, 7, and Ethan, 10, were warmly welcomed as “volunteers in training.”
Cate Dietz, volunteer coordinator, thanked all the volunteers for their help over the past year. “We do more and more every year, and sometimes I wonder, ‘How are we going to get this done?’ You always step up to the plate.”
Area residents interested in volunteering are invited to call Dietz at 708.633.5040.
Together We Cope is a nonprofit agency based in Tinley Park that serves families in crisis from 22 south suburban communities through a food pantry, resale shop and financial aid for some costs like rent and utility bills.
Pasta Extravaganza is back!
Join us for dinner on October 1
Start with hot wings and move on to mostaccioli? Go straight to the linguini, or dive into an Italian beef sandwich? With more than 35 local restaurants filling the buffet at our Pasta Extravaganza from 6 to 9 pm on October 1 at the Orland Chateau (145th and LaGrange), you’ll have a chance to sample lots of delicious dishes and benefit TWC, too. Tickets are just $25 for adults and $5 for kids 3 to 12, and that includes wine, beer and pop. There’s a cash bar as well.
It’s also our Night at the Races, a chance to place a wager with “fun money” on videotaped horse races that begin at 7 pm. You can still sponsor a horse for $50, too. Just contact Katlin Bewley at email@example.com.
Bring your friends and family to this popular night out!
TWC ‘outperforms most other charities in America’
In bridging the gap for south suburban families in crisis, Together We Cope “outperforms most other charities in America,” according to Charity Navigator. The charity evaluator granted the Tinley Park-based homeless prevention agency a four-star rating for the fourth year in a row, commending TWC for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.
“Only 7 percent of the charities we rate have received at least four consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that Together We Cope outperforms most other charities in America,” wrote Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator. “This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Together We Cope from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”
Kathryn Straniero, executive director of TWC, said the agency is thrilled with the recognition. “Of every dollar donated to Together We Cope, 92 cents goes to programs and services for our clients,” she said. “While the need continues to grow, so does our community support. Our focus on ‘neighbor helping neighbor’ has brought out the best in so many people. This rating from Charity Navigator helps us as we strive to deserve the trust so many have placed in us.”