Tag Archives: Waubonsee Community College

FVCC classes provide hands-on experience

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Kaneland High School senior Kyle Straughn did not intend to become a firefighter. A couple of people he knew worked for the Maple Park Fire Department, and he began working there in 2008 as a part-time cadet on the weekends.

He signed up for the fire science class at the Fox Valley Career Center in his junior year, and his initial curiosity turned into a career opportunity. Although he learns a lot in his job with the Fire District, he said the class at the Career Center provides more in-depth training in fire fighting techniques.

Carrying and raising ladders, performing forced entry, employing search-and-rescue techniques, working with ventilation tools and practicing hose evolutions are just a few of the skills that Straughn has learned in the class.

Sugar Grove firefighter Gary Baum heads up the program at the Career Center.

Currently in his second year of the class, Straughn has taken on leadership roles during drills, gaining valuable experience in taking command and communicating effectively with his teammates.

“I’m really glad I took the class; it’s the best class ever,” he said. “It involves helping people.

This year, he also began taking the Career Center’s newly-formed Emergency Medical Services (EMS) class. He said he was glad to have the opportunity to take both classes during high school.

“As long as this is what you want to do, it’s a good time to do it,” he said.

Straughn receives dual credit for the fire science class with Kaneland High School and Waubonsee Community College. By the time he graduates high school, he said he will have 29 credits in fire science, and will be halfway to his associate’s degree.

The EMS class prepares him to become an emergency medical technician at the basic level (EMTB). When he completes the class, he will be eligible to take the state of Illinois EMT basic exam.

“You learn a lot about how to take care of someone properly and to keep yourself safe,” he said of the EMS class.

Straughn said taking both classes makes a lot of sense, because so many of the calls the Fire District receives are for medical emergencies. He said that he will most likely become a paramedic, as most fire departments require their employees to obtain that level of training.

The EMS class is new to the Fox Valley Career Center this year. Janelle McCornack, who also teaches a similar class at Waubonsee Community College, is the instructor. She has been a firefighter and an emergency medical technician (EMT) with the Sugar Grove Fire District since 2001.

“This (class) is the funnest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “These kids are so open; they really get excited and they think completely out of the box. It’s not like any other high school class they’ve ever taken.”

The class, similar to the fire science class, gives students an opportunity to practice hands-on skills, she said. It gives them an idea if this is something they want to do for a career.

Students learn to provide pre-hospital care for patients with a variety of medical complaints, including heart attacks, strokes and diabetic emergencies, as well as trauma patients with any type of injury. Among other skills, they learn to prepare patients with a possible spinal injury for transport, administer medications, control bleeding and administer CPR and artificial ventilation.

Kelly Walsh, the EMS Coordinator for the Sugar Grove Fire Department, helps teach the students how to conduct medical assessments. During a recent class, she gave the class a scenario, a 911 call from a 54-year-old man with abdominal pain.

The students had to talk to the patient, determine what was wrong and provide the appropriate care, Walsh said.

“Each patient you care for will teach you something,” McCornack said. “Slow down and listen to them. The best thing you can do is listen to the patient.”

During the scenario, the teachers simulated a heart attack, and the students had to do CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to care for the patient.

In March, the students will participate in 12 hours of clinical time in the emergency room at an area hospital. There are a few students in the class who want to go into pre-medicine, medical school or nursing.

“This gives them a huge head start,” McCornack said.

Feb. 25, 2010 Update: In a story on page 3B of the Feb. 11 edition of the Elburn Herald, “FVCC classes provide hands-on experience,” Kaneland High School senior Kyle Straughn’s name was spelled incorrectly. It has been fixed in this article.
The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:
Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
e-mail: info@elburnherald.com
phone (630) 365-6446

Waubonsee to provide free tax assistance

Sugar Grove—In these dire economic times, everyone can benefit from maximizing their tax refund, but many can not afford to hire a tax professional to help them do it.

Fortunately, Waubonsee Community College can help. This tax season marks the college’s sixth as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site. Last year the college’s students and volunteers completed more than 1,600 tax returns, refunding more than $1.2 million to low- to moderate-income individuals and families in the community.

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 30, tax assistance sessions will take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the college’s Aurora campus, 5 E. Galena Blvd.

The sessions run through April 15, but the site will be closed on March 17 and 20. At these sessions, Waubonsee students and volunteers help prepare tax returns and file them electronically. Families can also get help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA).

Eligible for assistance are families with annual incomes of less than $50,000, and individuals with annual incomes of less than $25,000. People seeking tax help should bring a copy of their 2008 tax return, if they have one; W-2 forms and 1099s from all 2009 jobs; social security cards for all family members; and a photo ID.

For more information on Waubonsee’s tax assistance sessions, call the college’s VITA line at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2992, or e-mail VITA@waubonsee.edu. You can also visit the Center for Economic Progress’ website at www.centerforprogress.org.

Waubonsee named one of healthiest companies in America

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College was recently named one of the healthiest companies in the country by Interactive Health Solutions (IHS), a company based in Arlington Heights, Ill. IHS Vice President of Business Development Joseph Furlin was on-hand at the college’s board of trustees meeting on July 15 to present the award.

In 2008 employees from more than 2,000 companies nationwide participated in health evaluations by IHS. The healthiest companies were then determined using employees’ aggregate score on IHS’ “Interactive Health Index (IHI).” Waubonsee was one of 83 companies who earned the healthiest designation.

The IHI screens for indicators of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases by measuring things like blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides. An added component of the test is a personalized set of steps individuals should take for health maintenance or improvement.

IHS is the nation’s leading provider of population health management programs, which seek to encourage preventative health care.

“We try to encourage good health and preventative care among our employees, whether it be through annual events like our Fitness Walk or Wellness Fair, or simply by providing important health tips on our intranet,” said Michele Morey, Waubonsee’s Director of Human Resources. “We’re glad to see that so many of our employees are taking such good care of themselves.”

WCC offers TV News Camp for Kids

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Students from sixth to eighth grade have an opportunity this summer to make their own television show at Waubonsee Community College. For two weeks, beginning Monday, July 27, students will find a story to tell, shoot their own footage, learn the important skill of computer editing, and even find themselves in front of the camera.

Everyone will have a chance to be a producer, editor and anchor, said Chris Mohr, Waubonsee’s public access production technician. The newscast will then be scheduled to air on Fox Valley Television Channel 17, with plenty of time to tell their family and friends the time slot for their program.

The class structure, which meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week, gives students the chance to go out and collect their news stories in between class times.

They will be trained how to use the equipment, including studio-quality television cameras, how to write a good story and how to get good shots. The studio work will be done in the television studio on Waubsonsee’s Sugar Grove campus, under the direction of Public Access Programming Manager Mike Rennels, an experienced television industry professional.

Rennels is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcasting. A video professional with more than 20 years experience, he also taught video production at Columbia College and the Illinois Center for Broadcasting for a number of years. He is responsible for the overall operation of FVTV, as well as teaching the Access training class.

The community college has more than 200 registered users, who use the equipment to produce shows with a wide variety of content, including history, church-related, cooking shows, and more.

This is the first time the program will be offered to young people.

“It’s a nice way to fuel that interest young,” Mohr said.

WCC wins 5 communication awards

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College won five Awards of Excellence in the 15th Annual Communicator Awards Competition recently. The Award of Excellence is the top award in the competition, which is sponsored by the International Academy of the Visual Arts.

Competing against more than 7,000 entries, the college won awards for its Connect alumni publication, Waubonsee’s 40th anniversary finale special event, the holiday card, the fall 2008 credit schedule cover, and 40th anniversary “Fabulous 40” newspaper insert.

The Communicator Awards is an international competition that recognizes outstanding work in the communication field. Entries are judged by industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

Waubonsee announces class of 2009 graduates

Waubonsee Community College awarded degrees to 675 graduates at its 2009 commencement ceremony on May 28. The college’s Class of 2009 includes the following graduates:

Jo Algrim, Jessica Chapman, Amy Christoffel, Charles Cisewski, Grace Collins, Heather Dugena, Jacqueline Feldmann, Michele Fugger, Stephanie Howard, Jakob Jorgensen, Amy Martinez, Erin Masa, Sean McGrew, Brian Oko, AshleyMarie Ristick, Amanda Ritter, Ashley Ritter, Rebecca Schultz, Gregory Timpanaro and Jeanne Webster, all of Elburn.

Sally Alef, Kelly Brock, Gregory Diehl, Amanda Fabrizius, Danielle Girard, Joseph Gruber, John Haffey, Jeannette Morris and Jennifer Wells, all of Maple Park.

Also, Amanda Carson, Kelly Dixon, Adam Engelskirchen, Guillermo Gaytan, Jordan Grote, Linda Huber, Heather Jones, Kevin Klein, Sheryl Lyon, Samantha McGovern, Matthew Milligan, Laura Montelongo, Mary Ann O’Donnell, Anita Plachczynska, Tanya Reyes, Kenneth Riley, Roberta Sandberg, Bizeyda Shephard, Anthony Smith, Amanda Stotler, Nicholas Wagner, Jenna Warren, David Welch, Katherine Wellington, Sofia Zafar, Ashley Zick and Laura Zimmer, all of Sugar Grove, and Jackelyn Dorneden from Kaneville.

Waubonsee SS/3B take softball honors

SUGAR GROVE—A pair of Waubonsee Community College softball players recently received post-season honors. Lady Chiefs’ shortstop Amanda Balough and third baseman/pitcher Haley Secor were both named to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Team. In addition, Balough was named to the NJCAA All-Region IV Division II Second Team.

Balough was named All-ISCC First Team and All-Region for the second consecutive year. The switch-hitter batted a lofty .538 this spring (63 of 117), the third-highest average nationally among NJCAA Division II players. A graduate of Yorkville High School, Balough smacked 52 singles, six doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs enroute to a .699 slugging percentage. She also drove in 25 runs, scored 37 runs and had a .556 on-base percentage in 33 games played. In addition, the speedster swiped 55 bases in 55 attempts, to finish second nationally in stolen bases. By comparison, Iowa Central’s Ashley Willard was the national leader with 70 stolen bases in 66 games. Balough struck out just five times in 119 plate appearances this spring, an average of once every 23.8 at bats. The sophomore infielder was also an All-ISCC and All-Region selection as a freshman after batting .518 with 28 stolen bases.

Secor, a sophomore from Plano High School, was tabbed All-ISCC for the second year in a row. The Lady Chiefs’ third baseman and pitcher batted .429 with a team-leading 35 runs batted in. Secor ripped nine doubles and a home run on her way to compiling a .551 slugging percentage. The right-handed hitter also struck out just five times in 113 plate appearances, an average of once every 22.6 at bats. In the circle, Secor won nine games with a 3.97 earned-run-average in 120 innings pitched, striking out 99 and walking 40. As a freshman, Secor earned All-ISCC Second Team honors by batting .364 with a .421 slugging percentage.

WCC offers legal interpreting, patient care technician programs

Sugar Grove–Waubonsee Community College will offer two new certificate of achievement programs in legal interpreting, beginning in fall 2009, and patient care technician, beginning with the summer 2009 semester. These programs will make an immediate impact in the in-demand fields of health care and legal interpretation.

Legal interpreting is a certificate of achievement that gives bilingual students, who are fluent in English and Spanish, the skills and knowledge to successfully interpret in a wide range of legal settings, including trials, depositions, lawyer-client interviews and other court settings. Students in the 17-credit-hour program will learn three types of interpreting— consecutive, simultaneous and sight translation. Legal vocabulary, the processes and procedures of the U.S. justice system, and the legal interpreters code of ethics and standards are all taught as part of the program.

The Patient Care Technician Certificate of Achievement prepares students to provide direct patient care in an acute setting. Graduates learn advanced nursing assistant knowledge and skills and will complete a hands-on externship in an acute care setting. This program provides an opportunity for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) to advance their careers in the growing health care industry.

Long journey passes milestone

KHS alum looks back on difficult road as she graduates WCC
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Ask just about anyone at Waubonsee Community College, and they will likely say that Sugar Grove resident Sophia Zafar, who graduated in May with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, is on her way to a successful life and career.

While active in student government and other activities, as well as working part-time at Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, 19-year-old Zafar was able to maintain a 3.9 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.

Student Activities Specialist Rosie Martinez came to know Zafar through her work with the Student Senate and other college clubs, including the honor society Phi Theta Kappa.

“She was likeable and very visible on campus,” Martinez said. “She was not afraid of going up to new students and introducing herself.”

Zafar was elected to the Student Senate in her first year at Waubonsee, and went on this year to become a student trustee on the Waubonsee Board of Directors.

“The role of student trustee is a student-elected position that requires leadership, responsibility and integrity,” Waubsonsee President Christine Sobek said. “Sofia took her responsibility very seriously and was respected by her peers and her fellow board members as she represented the student body.”

A Kaneland High School graduate, Zafar will go on to Northern Illinois University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She leaves Waubonsee with high praise from Sobek.

“She is a confident, personable, responsible and intelligent young woman,” Sobek said. ”She has tremendous leadership potential and has been an asset to Waubonsee Community College.”

Zafar was not always so confident. She suffered through much discrimination as a teenager and had to overcome many attacks on her self-esteem to become the self-assured young lady she is today.

Zafar and her mother and sister came to the United States from Pakistan in April 2001. She turned 12 that year. She and her family had much to adjust to—a new country, new language, new customs.

Then the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, happened, and people’s attitudes toward her and her family abruptly changed. Although Pakistan is not an Arab state, many people around Zafar blamed her and people like her for what happened.

“People were so mean to me,” Zafar said. “I didn’t know why. I was called a terrorist. People would ask me, ‘Is Osama bin Laden your dad?’ It was crazy. Even my teachers—there was a shift in their attitude toward me.”

Zafar said she became very depressed during that time. She lost her confidence in herself and felt that no one understood her.

Zafar, who is a Muslim, said she was embarrassed about her background during that time.

“I used to try to hide who I was,” she said. “I hated who I was, because I wanted people to like me.”

Slowly, she regained her self-confidence. She became involved in school and continued to achieve. Her older sister, who obtained a CPA, was an inspiration to her, as was her mother, who conducts blood drives for Heartland Blood Centers.

“I really wanted to prove myself,” she said.

After finishing her freshman year at West Aurora High School, she and her family moved to Sugar Grove. She spent her last three years at Kaneland High School.

She began to broaden her horizons and take on leadership roles. She founded a club called Global Cultures, a group that celebrates people’s varying backgrounds. She was president of PODA, Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, whose purpose is to educate students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

During her senior year at Kaneland, Zafar had a Spanish teacher named Mrs. Wilson who saw her great potential. Through Wilson’s recommendation, Zafar was awarded the Gustafson Scholarship, which paid for her tuition to Waubonsee.

Zafar said she has always wanted to be a nurse.

“Nurses have a better connection with their patients (than doctors),” she said. “They are the heart of a hospital. They carry the power of healing lives.”

Zafar should know. She started out by healing her own.

WCC earns environmental award

Waubonsee Community College recently received an Outstanding Project Award from Trees Forever, a nonprofit organization dedicated to tree planting, prairie restoration and watershed management.

As part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Trees Forever, the organization chose 20 outstanding environmental projects to honor. Waubonsee was honored for the wetland restoration efforts it has undertaken at its Sugar Grove campus. These efforts are part of the college’s involvement with the Illinois Buffer Partnership, a program aimed at improving water quality by creating buffers of trees, shrubs and grasses along streams and in wetlands.

The college received a grant as part of this program in 2002. With the help of faculty, staff, students and other volunteers, the college has been able to grow the number of native plant species found in the wetlands from 56 in 2001 to 79 in 2005.

WCC hosts job fair

Waubonsee Community College will hold its Job Fair 2009 on Thursday, April 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Event Room in the Academic and Professional Building on the college’s Sugar Grove campus. The campus is on Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

More than 50 local employers in accounting, banking, communications, construction, health care, manufacturing, retail/sales, secretarial/office technology, management, retail/sales, secretarial/office technology and more will be available at Job Fair 2009 to discuss your career goals and their job openings in the hope of finding a good match.

Job seekers are encouraged to bring plenty of resumes, and to dress for success.

Job Fair 2009 is free and open to the public. Visit www.waubonsee.edu/careerservices for a list of participating employers and job opportunities. Check back for updates.

For more information about attending Job Fair 2009, call Waubonsee’s Career Services Center at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2368 or email careerservices@waubonsee.edu.

Nominations sought for Waubonsee awards

Nominations are now being sought for Waubonsee Community College’s 2009 Distinguished Contributor and Distinguished Alumnus awards. Nominations must be received by Friday, April 3, and should be submitted to Teri Leatherbury, WCC executive assistant to the president, by calling (630) 466-7900, ext. 5703, or by e-mailing tleatherbury@waubonsee.edu. Official nominating forms are available at www.waubonsee.edu.

Distinguished Contributor Award
The Distinguished Contributor Award annually honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions or given exemplary support to Waubonsee Community College. The person has supported the general operation of the college in either a personal or professional capacity, which has contributed to the overall growth and expansion of the college’s mission. The nominee’s commitment has enhanced a program, the operation and/or future development of the college that went beyond the ordinary, and such results would not have occurred without that special effort. The college staff, community residents and officials or community college leaders must also recognize the person as having made an extraordinary commitment to promote the college and its mission. The nominee must have documented evidence of contributions to the community and/or the educational community. Employees and retirees of Waubonsee Community College are not eligible to receive this award.

Distinguished Alumnus Award
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is an award for outstanding graduates of Waubonsee Community College. It honors a graduate who shows evidence of personal/professional support for the college, its growth, development and mission. The individuals must have documented evidence of a distinguished record in their chosen profession and/or occupation; documented evidence of contributions and service to their community; and have demonstrated a continued interest in lifelong education.

WCC students give new Student Center good reviews

by Susan O’Neill
Students visiting the new Student Center’s Café and Coffee Bar and using its other amenities on Monday morning agreed that the new building is a definite plus for students. Whether they were meeting friends between classes, accessing the WiFi or the bank of computers, the students said the new center is a welcome addition to campus life.

Waubonsee students and moms, Jennifer Kenneavy and Amy Mabrey, dropped their young daughters off at the Waubonsee Magnet Place Pre-school at 9 a.m. on Monday and stopped in at the new Café and Coffee Bar until their 10 a.m. classes.

Kenneavy, a North Aurora resident who is studying sociology at Waubonsee, said she usually comes to the student center to have coffee and read and catch up with homework before class.

Mabrey, an Oswego resident who is taking the basic science classes required for a nursing degree, typed on her laptop.

“I’m typing something to e-mail to my teacher,” she said. “I don’t even have to print it out.”

The entire building is Wi-Fi-accessible, allowing students to access the Internet and their e-mail from anywhere.

The two women used to go to the old student center in the Dickson building before this one was built last year. They both said the new building, completed in time for the new semester, is much better.

“The quality of the food is so much better,” Kenneavy said. “They use fresh ingredients and the coffee is good.”

Situated in the center of campus, the building has numerous windows that look out onto a wooded area of mature oak trees.

Batavia resident Jason Castillo, who is working on two majors, comes to campus every day. Castillo said the new Student Center is very open and bright. He also likes the color scheme.

Kimberly Marzullo travels from Leland to campus on Mondays and Wednesdays to take the first two years of general requirements toward a teaching degree. She sits at one of the computers in the lobby available to students.

She spends the hour she has between classes catching up with friends and family members on Facebook. She has a computer at home, but said these are so convenient.

When she is not using a computer, she sits in the lounge and does homework between classes. She said it is calm and quiet there.
“This (center) makes you feel like you’re really at a college,” she said.

These comments reflect much of what Waubonsee Community College President Dr. Christine Sobek, other school officials and involved students hoped to accomplish with the new center. Sobek presided over a party celebrating the grand opening of the center on Friday.

Designing the space took approximately seven months, according to Dr. Deborah Lovingood, executive vice president of educational affairs and chief learning officer.

“It was a successful and positive experience,” said Lovingood. “We ended up with a beautiful and inspirational design that we hope will motivate students to achieve greatness.”

The 58,000-square-foot, $17 million building located in the middle of campus was also designed to be the figurative heart of the campus. The new building provided the opportunity to house under one roof all of the most important student-centered activities and services.

Several of the service departments’ staff said they have already experienced an increase in traffic since the move. Career Services manager Teri Cullen said the number of people her department has seen has doubled since December.

Students used to have to go to three buildings on opposite ends of the campus to access the services they currently find in the new building.

The “one-stop-shopping” design of the new building includes a gathering spot for students to meet and hang out, as well as a place to add a class, obtain career counseling, pay a bill, join a club or apply for financial aid.

The student center is the last of four buildings recently added to the campus as part of the school’s 2020 college master plan. During the past three years, the college has opened a campus operations building and a new 46,590 square-foot science building with state-of-the-art technology, as well as a 56,000-square-foot academic and professional center.

Funding from two successful college referendums in 2002 and 2003 supported the construction of the new buildings and made implementation of the plan possible.

Waubonsee Community College is Illinois’ second fastest-growing community college, Sobek said. With that growth, the college has also seen a dramatic increase in the number of full-time students, as well as the number of traditional age students. Sobek said these students are looking for a more engaged student experience and more student activities.

Having everything they need in one place will allow new students to hit the ground running, she said.

“We hope it will be a vibrant hub for student life for many years to come,” Sobek said.

Photo: Waubonsee Community College unveiled its new 58,000-square-foot Student Center Friday at the college’s Sugar Grove Campus. In addition to being a one-stop shop for students with a cafe, coffee bar, computer workstations and free wireless Internet, the building also houses the college’s admissions, registration, financial aid, counseling, and other core student-service departments. Photo by Mary Herra

Tune in for a cause, good time

by Susan O’Neill
Hundreds of entertainers, politicians, volunteers and community supporters will be on hand for the Association for Individual Development’s 10th annual telethon, held Saturday, Feb. 28, at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

Geneva Mayor Ken Burns will serve as one of the emcees for the 10-hour program, which may also be viewed on local access channels beginning at 9 a.m. Entertainers will include acts such as the State Street Dance Company, vocalist Ninfa Lear and Johnny Cash impersonator Jerry Hutson.

AID clients will put on a fashion show and state Sen. Chris Lauzen and state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia will speak, while 20 volunteers take pledges on the phone.

AID is a social service agency that serves children and adults with developmental or physical disabilities or mental illness in a six-county area that includes Kane. The organization serves approximately 4,200 clients in more than 26 communities through upwards of 20 programs, including job training and employment coaching programs, respite care and housing.

With the current state of the economy, however, AID is suffering from the same kinds of problems as are most other agencies and businesses, Executive Director Lynn O’Shea said. During this time, private donations, such as those raised during the telethon, become even more important.

According to O’Shea, with 70 percent of AID’s funding coming from state and federal Medicaid revenue, the agency has been affected in two ways. First, the agency has experienced several rounds of cuts in its funding from the state in the past year. In addition, the state has delayed paying its bills, so AID has to wait longer to obtain the money it does receive. This has caused the agency to have to borrow money to continue operating.

“The net effect on potential new clients is that, unless you’re a single parent or are over 65, you have no hope of getting services for your child,” she said.

Currently, there are more than 750 people waiting for services. O’Shea explained that in the past, when students left special education programs at age 22, they would either work at a job or go to school.

With funding cuts for programs that would typically serve these young adults, they are currently on a 15-year waiting list.

The wait for housing programs is even longer, with a 29-year waiting period to get into a group home or an apartment. The agency sponsors 27 homes and apartments. O’Shea said that in good times, AID would work to develop another home. However, AID has not been able to place any adults in programs since July 2008.

“Our waiting lists have never been this long.” She said. “It’s a very worrisome situation.”

Private donations make up 30 percent of the agency’s funding. O’Shea said the economy has affected everyone, and with many people losing their jobs, they are often not in a position to either increase or continue giving at the same level.

Up until Christmas, donations were the same. However, since then, there has been a 20 percent decrease from last year.

“I have to believe we’re at the bottom and things will start looking up,” she said. “Our donors are terrific. I’ve got to believe they will be as generous as they can be, to help plug some of the gaps.”

The theme for this year’s telethon is, “When friends reach for your hand, they touch your heart.”
Approximately 1,000 volunteers have participated in making this year’s telethon. AID hopes for $125,000 in pledges. Tune in to Comcast channels 17 or 99 or Mediacom channel 15, or call (630) 466-2494 to make a donation.

AID Telethon
10th Annual telethon to benefit the Association for Individual Development
Saturday, Feb. 28
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Waubonsee Community College
Tune in to watch at Comcast channels 17 and 99 or Mediacom channel 15
(630) 466-2494
for pledges or donations
For more information about AID, visit

WCC to celebrate opening of new student center

Waubonsee Community College will celebrate the official grand opening of its new Student Center on Friday, Feb. 27, at the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The event will kick off with a student open house at noon, a formal ceremony at 2 p.m. and concludes with a community open house from 2:45 to 4 p.m.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature building tours, giveaways and refreshments. Entertainment for the first two hours of the event will be provided by Smash from KISS FM’s Drex Morning Show. Following the formal ceremony, Waubonsee’s Steel Drum Combo will perform.

To RSVP, visit www.waubonsee.edu/studentcenter or call (630) 466-7900, ext. 2411.

The 58,000-square-foot Student Center is designed to be both the literal and figurative heart of the college’s main campus. This “one-stop shop” centralizes all of the college’s most vital student services in one building. Departments housed in the new building include Admissions, Registration and Records, Financial Aid, Counseling, Bursar Office, Center for Learning Assessment, Access Center for Students with Disabilities, Student Support Services, Career Services and Student Activities.

In addition to these services, the building also provides places for students to connect with each other and faculty outside of class. The college’s new Cafe and Coffee Bar is located here, along with a dining room that offers plenty of seating options and scenic views of the campus. There are also several computer workstations and free wireless Internet access for those students with their own laptops.

Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Perkins & Will, construction on the Student Center began in February 2007 and cost approximately $17 million. JJR was the project’s landscape architect while Turner Construction served as the construction management company.

Behind the scenes of progress

by Susan O’Neill
Storefronts, factories and offices demonstrate the visible presence of a business to the public. Organizations such as a chamber of commerce, economic development corporation or small business development center, while not as much in the public eye, can nonetheless have a tremendous impact on the local business community.

Chambers of commerce
Elburn and Sugar Grove each have a chamber of commerce that serves its business community. The Elburn chamber’s mission, similar to that of Sugar Grove’s, is to promote economic development, strengthen the business climate and improve the quality of life in the area.

Each chamber has leads groups, through which members network to share business opportunities and referrals. Members are encouraged to promote each other’s businesses and utilize each other’s services whenever possible.

The chambers sponsor events within the community, such as Elburn’s Day in the Park and the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market. Both groups hold an annual golf outing. They sponsor grand openings to announce the presence of new businesses to the community.

The chambers also provide exposure for their members through their mailing lists and websites. Sugar Grove Chamber Board President George Silfugarian said the Sugar Grove Chamber recently set up a new website that provides its members more functionality and opportunities for advertising. Silfugarian is a certified financial planner with Financial Security Group, Inc.

Businesses also enjoy visibility when their members participate in chamber activities within the community.

“People get what they give,” Elburn Chamber Board President Bill Brauer said. Brauer, president of the American Bank and Trust on Main Street, has been involved in many of the chamber’s activities. “When you get more involved, you’re more visible in the community.”

Predominantly a volunteer organization, the Sugar Grove chamber recently hired its first employee, executive director Shari Baum. Two years ago, the Elburn chamber hired its first office administrator.

Both groups have seen significant membership growth in the last five years. Elburn’s chamber grew from 130 members to 189 at the end of 2008. Sugar Grove’s is currently at 160 members, up from 50 five years ago.

For more information, visit www.elburn.com or www.sugargrove-chamber.org.

Economic Development Corporation
Sugar Grove created the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in 2003. Its purpose was to work with existing businesses to help them thrive and grow and promote the village to other businesses as a good place to locate their operations.

The EDC is a combined initiative between the village of Sugar Grove and local businesses. However, it is a private entity, not a governmental unit. The distinction has allowed businesses to explore options for locating within the community without the initial publicity.

The organization started out with five founding member businesses, and hired former Sugar Grove trustee Perry Clark as executive director at the end of 2003. Three years later, membership consisted of 37 businesses.

During his tenure, Clark and other village officials marketed the village of Sugar Grove to potential industries and other businesses and attended the International Council of Shopping Centers to promote the village to retailers.

EDC membership grew until the recent downturn in the economy led to a decrease in its size and budget. Clark resigned from his leadership position in August 2008 to run for village president, and the organization found it did not have adequate funding for a full-time replacement.

According to Village President Sean Michels, the EDC has been put into hibernation mode until the economy begins to pick up again.

Illinois Small Business Development Center Waubonsee Community College
Funded by the Small Business Association, WCC’s Small Business Development Center provides advice and resources to entrepreneurs considering starting a business, as well as help for existing businesses. Center coordinator and business consultant Harriet Parker said the clients she sees are about equally split between start-ups and existing businesses.

Created in the mid-1990s, Parker said the SMDC at Waubonsee is part of a national network of organizations. Parker, who took over the SMDC in 2006, has 20 years of hands-on management experience with four different start-up companies in the software and high-tech industries.

Clients are often referred to the center through a bank, after they have applied for financing. Parker works with individuals to create a business plan, help them qualify for financing and show them how to complete all the documentation to incorporate a business.

Parker helps current business owners with growth strategies and expansion plans, marketing ideas and in developing the infrastructure necessary to grow to the next level.

She works one-on-one with individuals, and the center also offers classes on topics such as business record keeping and taxes, break-even analysis and how to buy a franchise.

The resources she provides include market research data, competitive analysis and due diligence on a company an individual is looking to acquire, among others. She added that she often connects clients with others who can help them.

“I’m not the expert on everything, but I know a lot of people who are,” she said.

Since Parker came to the center in 2006, she has helped with 48 business starts, the creation of 163 jobs and the retention of 153 jobs. The clients she has advised have received $2.7 million in bank financing.

“I think we’re under-appreciated for the economic impact we have on the area,” she said. “The U.S. economy is the world’s largest. Small businesses in the U.S. make up the world’s second largest economy.

More information about the center is available on the college’s website at www.waubonsee.edu or by calling (630) 906-4143. Parker’s e-mail address is hparker@waubonsee.edu.

Waubonsee celebrates Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Waubonsee Community College’s African Cultural Alliance will present “A Timeline of Tradition and Heritage” on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature dance from the West Aurora Steppers and readings from Just Some Poets.

For more information, call the college’s Student Activities Office at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2929.

AID hosts telethon at WCC

The Association for Individual Development is hosting its 10th annual telethon Feb. 28 at Waubonsee Community College’s Sugar Grove campus.

The telethon is an all-day event to raise $125,000 for programs and services for children and adults with disabilities and mental illness. The broadcast will feature local talent and interviews with AID clients, family and staff. Hundreds of volunteers are needed.

The telethon will air on local Comcast channels 99 and 17, and Mediacom channel 15. The public is welcome to attend the telethon’s live broadcast. To volunteer, pledge or for more information about the telethon, call Wendy at (847) 931-2294.

Chamber honors its own

by Susan O’Neill
The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry honors several of its members each year with awards in one of five categories. This year the chamber also recognized several organizations with special awards for their contributions to the community.

Press release award
The village of Sugar Grove won this category for its speed and thoroughness in keeping the community informed. Village Clerk Cindy Welsch regularly provides information to the community through press releases, the village website and announcements with utility bill mailings about the normal flow of events and services. In addition, village staff were quick to provide vital information to residents during the village’s recent floods.
In the Groove award

Castle Bank received this recognition for employee Lisa Lund’s role in promoting chamber membership and making sure that new members feel welcome. Chair of the membership committee, Lund helped increase membership through several membership drives in the area. She also implemented an orientation process for new members that combines a formal introduction to the community and the organization with informal follow-up and contacts.

Looking So Good Award
Waubonsee Community College won in this category for the new construction on the Sugar Grove campus as the college moves forward with its 2020 Master Plan. Attractive and functional, the Science Building completed in 2006, the Academic and Professional Center in 2007, and the Student Center in 2008 feature state-of-the-art technology to enhance the learning and social experiences of its students.
Chamber Spirit award

Engineering Enterprises, Inc. is recognized with this award for its consistent support of the business and residential community. A sponsor of the Farmer’s Market, Corn Boil and other chamber community events, EEI provides office support and equipment, funding and employee volunteers to ensure their success.
Newcomer award

Brightest Stars Preschool owner Amy Peters has only been in town a short time, but she has jumped in with both feet to participate in community events. In addition to her morning and afternoon pre-school classes, Peters has provided musical and educational programs for children through the library, the Farmer’s Market and the Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

In recognition for stepping up
Special recognition goes to the Village Bible Church and Conley Outreach for providing a place and comfort to students following the fatal accident that claimed high school students Blake Denton and Jeff Malewig.

The Village Bible Church immediately made its building available for students to congregate, and Conley Outreach provided counseling and support as students and teachers attempted to deal with the tragedy.

In recognition for keeping your cool under pressure
Special recognition goes to Oak Trust Credit Union employees for their courage and assistance in apprehending the man who attempted to rob their Sugar Grove branch. Thanks to their quick thinking and observational skills, the Sugar Grove Police, together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were able to quickly locate the man and bring him into custody.

Chili For Charity Cook-off names semi-finals

This past weekend, the Association for Individual Development held two preliminary Chili for Charity Cook-Off contests.

The entries ran the gamut from the exotic (Kahlua Chili), to the hearty, to chili so hot, tasters kept a watchful eye on the fire extinguisher locations.

Twenty-five hopefuls entered the contests held at Mott’s Lounge (Burlington) and Mary’s Corner Tap (South Elgin). Three semi-finalists from each location will advance to the Telethon Finals, which will be broadcast live on cable TV from Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove on Feb. 28. The first-place winner of the Telethon face-off will receive a $500 cash prize.

There’s still time to get in on the fun. The final preliminary contest will be held on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Maple Park Pub. There is a $10 nonrefundable entry fee. For further information, contact Wendy Bialek at (847) 931-2294.

WCC adds to student art collection

"Painted Pumpkins," by Elburn resident James Schnaitman, will be on display at Waubonsee Community College. Courtesy Photo This fall semester, Waubonsee Community College added five more pieces of artwork to its collection as part of the Student Art Purchase Program.

The selected pieces for the fall 2008 semester include “Untitled,” an acrylic on paper work by Liz Cook of Naperville; “Untitled,” an acrylic painting by Chloe Johnson of Oswego; “Cloth,” an acrylic painting by Miranda Munns of Yorkville; “Painted Pumpkins,” an oil painting by James Schnaitman of Elburn; and “Dynamic Space,” an ink drawing by Natascha Wesser of North Aurora.

Through the program, which started in fall 2006, the college has acquired 40 pieces of original artwork for display around its campuses.

WCC seeks comments from community members

Waubonsee Community College will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit Feb. 11-13 by a team representing The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which has accredited Waubonsee since 1972. As part of this visit, Waubonsee is seeking comments from community members to inform the accreditation process.

The public is invited and encouraged to submit comments regarding Waubonsee to the following address:
Public Comment on Waubonsee Community College. The Higher Learning Commission. 30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602

Comments should address substantive matters related to Waubonsee’s quality and its academic programs. Comments may also be submitted online, at www.ncahlc.org, by clicking on the “File Third Party Comments” link. Comments should include the name, address and telephone number of the person providing the comments. Comments will not be treated as confidential.

Individuals with a specific dispute or grievance with Waubonsee should request the separate Policy on Complaints document from the Commission office. Complaints will not be considered third-party comment.

WCC scholarship deadline nears

The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is offering more than 100 scholarships for the 2009-10 academic year. The application deadline is Thursday, Feb. 5.

Scholarships are available to both new and returning Waubonsee students. Details and application forms can be found online at www.waubonsee.edu/scholarships. A printed brochure is also available by visiting Waubonsee’s Financial Aid Office, located in Dickson Center on the college’s Sugar Grove campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive, or by calling (630) 466-7900, ext. 5774.