Our work is partly made possible by vital volunteers, who lend a helping hand. Housing Forward recognizes volunteers as "everyday heroes" who come from all walks of life, all ages, with something special to offer. This month we’d like to spotlight local Oak Park resident and youth volunteer, Sophie Essig.
Sophie lives in Oak Park with her parents while attending Triton College on the path to receiving her Bachelor's degree in education with the hope of becoming a future history teacher. A daughter of long-time volunteer, Sheila Essig, a site captain at our Oak Park Temple shelter site, Sophie has been exposed to volunteering from a very young age.
Sophie started volunteering with her mother in the PADS Shelter in 3rd grade laying out the sleeping pads and setting the dinner tables for our clients. Now in college, Sophie continues to volunteer once a month in the evenings and really enjoys interacting with our clients in the hours between dinner time and lights out. She finds that chatting with the clients gives her the opportunity to learn about their lives and interesting facts from them. She has even learned to play gin rummy from a client that was previously in the PADS Shelter and now in housing through the services of Housing Forward.
A fun fact about Sophie is that she helped paint the Housing Forward Support Center upon its remodel. As part of her Jewish religion, Sophie believes in Tikkum Olam which is a concept of repairing the world and leaving it a better place than you found it. She says it seems simple but actually colors everything one does with purpose.
Housing Forward is proud to recognize Sophie as one of our outstanding volunteers. We appreciate Sophie's continued support in our mission to ending homelessness in our communities. Thank you, Sophie!