As with much of my life thus far, an accidental opportunity.

Here are a few of my favorite non-profits and, my stories within.

Main Street Libertyville … sparked by a regular customer’s morning visit to Caribou Coffee, I noticed that she was in an uncharacteristic rush and, on her subsequent visit, I had asked her why she seemed to be in such an unexpected hurry. She said that she was running late to a Mainstreet Libertyville Committee meeting. Further conversational inquiry really intrigued me about what the Economic Restructuring (now Business Matters) Committee was doing in, and for the local small business community. I attended the very next committee meeting and, was very excited to help engage the local small business community on how this committee and, participating within the Mainstreet Libertyville community at large, could really make a difference.

After a few months of participation, I found myself as Committee Chair and, a member of the Mainstreet Libertyville Board.

I reached out to a local business coach friend of mine and, we started the Mainstreet Libertyville Small Business Growth Club. This group’s participation, maturation and success earned my friend the 2011 Mainstreet Libertyville Volunteer of the Year.

On the perennial events side, there is one story in particular that I will share here, in the context of it being an example to my Daughter; our cleaning up after the Twilight Shuffle … in the pouring rain.

The post-race party is held in the back lot of Mickey Finns. There are tents, tables and plenty of food and drink for all racers, their friends and families.

As volunteers, one of our posts was to keep things clean as folks enjoyed their well earned post-race meals. It was a terrific evening … until the weather moved in, quite suddenly and, took us from a pleasant Autumn evening to a, well … full on deluge.

The tents provided shelter for most yet, the crowd started clearing out pretty quickly as things got wetter and wetter with the non-stop rain.

As volunteers, we were setting up this venue at 11am that morning. It was now approaching 9pm and, we were all doused while still having to break things down before heading home for the day.

This is where the true power of community comes into play. Volunteers and participants alike started busing tables, topping off and then, emptying trash bins and breaking down tables … amidst sheets of rain.

My then four-year-old Daughter Abby found a dry spot on the back entrance to the brewpub and, watched with a smile and a few giggles as we all scurried away, cheering each other on and laughing and splashing each other as we pulled together to clean up the back lot.

Animal Education and Rescue … a Summer Sunday walkabout town with my Daughter, having a conversation about seeing something online about animal rescue.

Arriving at what we thought was the location to find out more about volunteering, my Daughter and I met Sandy Wisniewski as she was returning from a few errands to what we learned was her actual home. She let us know that there was going to be a Youth Club meeting later that very afternoon at the Libertyville Civic Center.

My Daughter was beyond thrilled to join a group of kids sharing a love and fascination for animals as much as her.

She took this passion and formed a group of her own with a few of her schoolmates. “The Puppy Crew” set themselves up outside of Hansa Coffee on an Autumn Friday afternoon and, raised over $100 for AEAR.

Supporting and sharing this experience with my Daughter was a priceless life lesson in serving the greater good.

We also had the opportunity to adopt our beloved guinea pigs, a mother and daughter pair named, Ginnie & Francie.

Little City Foundation … this adventure was sparked by a social media update of a former Daily Herald Media Group colleague looking for help. My experience in social media marketing lent itself well to this mission driven organization looking to get more out of it’s current online presence. With so many terrific stories to tell, it was simply a matter of process and, establishing a content calendar to provide the structure necessary to keep a consistent and, engaging existence across the social media ecosphere.

My help led its way to having an opportunity to interview for a staff position with Little City.

A common theme throughout this blog is, being part of something bigger than yourself.

“We are a community of possibilities, not a community of problems. Community exists for the sake of belonging and takes its identity from the gifts, generosity, and accountability of its citizens.” – Peter Block.

So, if someone’s activities should make you curious then, follow-up on it!

Or, if your nature is a bit more accidental then, take that Sunday walk with your kiddo, keep in touch with former colleagues and, most of all … be helpful.


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