Leader and philanthropist, Claire Love has been awarded this year’s Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation’s Excellence in Philanthropy Award for Outstanding Young Person. In addition to the hard work and dedication she has given Hephzibah the past several years, the OPRF senior won a $1,000 grant awarded to Hephzibah.
Claire has been an active volunteer with Hephzibah Children’s Association since her freshman year at OPRF and has made a significant impact on our organization and the many lives she’s touched. She began volunteering as a Huskie Helper, an OPRF club sponsored by Hephzibah in which high school students get matched with a child from Hephzibah Home and participate together at various events and activities.
[su_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/337614869″ width=”800″ responsive=”yes”]
Her first year with the club, Claire was an integral part in brainstorming additional ways the Huskie Helpers could help the community—she recruited volunteers to assist with the ‘Roses for Austin’ after school program (in addition to Hephzibah’s after school program). Claire went on to become a recruitment rock-star for the Huskie Helpers, recruiting more than 20 students to volunteer in efforts ranging from attending sporting events with the group home kids, assisting day-care students at the skating rink, and providing school supplies for our foster care youth.
Claire has volunteered in almost every aspect of our agency. She always assisted when we needed last minute coverage at the Economy Shop, hosted movie nights at the group home and helped wrap over 200 Christmas presents for the children. She was critical in the success of our end-of-the-year rodeo celebration (hosted for the children at Hephzibah Home), and not only helped to coordinate volunteers and activities, she encouraged the rest of the volunteer team to fundraise to support the event. Claire is a great leader and cares deeply about making an impact in her community.
Claire has made a significant contribution to both Hephzibah and to her OPRF peers. Numerically, Claire’s involvement has affected over 100 local youths including the group home students, kids in foster care, and the day care students. But the impact of her contribution is priceless.
When some of the young African American boys living at Hephzibah Home needed positive African American male role models, she strategically recruited members of the OPRF football and wrestling teams to volunteer. One time, Claire recruited a group of 10 male students from the OPRF wrestling and football teams to attend the end of the year rodeo at the group home. When Claire walked into the backyard with 10 big, athletic teenagers ready to play and have fun, the kids’ eyes popped out of their heads!
Claire is a great role model and friend, not only for the children in our program but also for her peers. We are so grateful to Claire for all of her hard work, and so glad to have her as part of the Hephzibah Family.