National Volunteer Week, observed last week, was a time to celebrate those who give of their individual time and talents for the good of the whole.
Nearly everyone has something to contribute, and Evanston – more than other communities, we believe – has a strong tradition of welcoming volunteers to the meaningful work of bettering this community.
Most people who live here, no matter how busy they are, take the time to share their talents. They can be found mentoring teens; taking a senior citizen shopping; teaching kids to read, paint, act or play a musical instrument; coaching a sports team; being a scout leader; teaching Sunday School; maintaining local gardens; serving in a shelter or soup kitchen; and participating in, attending or coordinating fundraisers to keep these programs alive.
Last week, 13 volunteers from Evanston Township High School, Northwestern University and the Evanston community were honored for their good works in the fourth annual volunteer recognition ceremony. These people and their remarkable accomplishments are illustrative of the community spirit of Evanston. They and the myriad other volunteers in Evanston, through their compassion and perseverance, weave the social and psychological infrastructure that is a safety net for all of us.
We believe it is not too late to say “thank you” to the volunteers of Evanston. Keep up the good work. We need each other. It takes a lot of volunteers to raise up a city.
Even if this tough spring continued, no one should stay inside this weekend. Saturday’s agenda is full of community activities:
The Farmers’ Market opens for the season at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday at the corner of Oak Avenue and University Place.
Shortly afterward, at 9 a.m. the Annual Garden Fair, at Independence Park (Stewart Avenue at Central Street) will offer a profusion of plants and flowers, many of them home grown, to fit the pots and plots of Evanston. When the members of Evanston’s six garden clubs are not minding the store, they are minding the community: tucked into spaces that would otherwise be bare or drab – at the lighthouse, for example, and in front of the Civic Center and downtown Evanston – are well-tended plantings, courtesy of Evanston’s hard-working garden clubs.
An hour later and a mile or so further south, YEA will blanket the street sides of Dempster and Chicago with the creations of young artists from Evanston’s public and private schools: paintings, puppets and plays, to name a few. We are always amazed at the talent and the insight of Evanston youth, grateful to the teachers who foster this creativity and to the area businesses and individuals that support the festival.
Let us hope that these delightful activities are just the beginning of a great summer in Evanston.