Eight high school sophomores attending one of hundreds of “On the Table” conversations orchestrated by the Chicago Community Trust on May 12 reflected on the importance of giving back to community and immediately identified two very special service projects they want to initiate this summer.
Three Midtown boys are planning a food drive to benefit the Chicago Food Depository. Five Metro girls will organize either a letter-writing campaign for residents at a local nursing home in the West Loop or set up a lemonade stand with proceeds donated to the home.
The students, all of whom received scholarships from the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation to attend college prep high schools, also shared personal stories of philanthropy from their past. One helped orient incoming freshmen at St. Benedict. Another related how students at Walter Payton Prep cleaned classes at a nearby elementary school on “Sweetness Day”, a reference to the school’s namesake. A third commented on a class trip to Nicaragua to build a home.
Kim Pearson, an instructor in the 7th-8th grade after-school program at Metro was glad to see the students getting involved in community service at such an early age. She herself was once a student at Metro and learned the importance of giving back.
Sabrina Guthrie of the Tengelsen Family Foundation concluded the evening’s conversation with a quote from the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that put the aspirational nature of philanthropy in a fitting perspective. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Thanks to Jody Madler at MEF for planning the event, and Glenn Wilke of MEF and Rick Wholey of Robert W. Baird & Co. for participating as well.