Assembly instills lifetime of service for local teens
Last updated 12/11/2019 at 4:50pm | View PDF
After spending their first few months away at school, a group of students will return home to Hinsdale over winter break to celebrate their cumulative efforts volunteering and raising money for a vital nonprofit.
Members of this year's Hinsdale Hospital Foundation Assembly will mark the completion of a two-year, $200,000 fundraising commitment to AMITA Health Adventist St. Thomas Hospice Care to support its bereavement camps for children who have lost loved ones.
"The Assembly means everything to us," said Laura Cottrell, director of St. Thomas' Tommy's Kids Camp. "We are so grateful for them and their compassion for our camps and our families. We see our families and they leave camp and they are changed. It's amazing and beautiful."
The $200,000 fundraising pledge will support the five-day summer camp at Hinsdale's Katherine Legge Memorial Park for at least six additional years, according to Cottrell. Elementary school-aged children who are grieving the loss of a significant family member attend free of charge.
Now in its 56th year, the Hinsdale Assembly's 2019 class of 22 debutantes and 28 honor guard will be presented at the organization's annual ball on Dec. 23 at the Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort.
"The Assembly's focus is community service and family," said Becky Mavon, this year's ball chair. "We are launching a lifetime of service for the (debutantes and honor guard) who have worked hard volunteering for organizations with different needs and demographics in their own backyard."
Starting in January, participants in their senior year of high school began volunteering at several local nonprofits, including the HCS Family Services Food Pantry, the Hinsdale Humane Society, Graue Mill and Bethlehem Woods Retirement Community in La Grange.
According to Mavon, whose son was a member of the 2018 honor guard, this year's class also will mark a significant milestone. Since its founding, the Assembly has gifted $3 million to the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation.
Marquette University freshman Hannah Eichelman, a 2019 Hinsdale Central graduate, credits the Assembly for teaching her how to give back to her community. Eichelman said the most rewarding part of her involvement was volunteering at the Frederick Graue House at Graue Mill.
Looking to the near future, the Assembly is directing its 2020-21 fundraising efforts to AMITA's Behavior Health Medicine Institute.
"Our hope is that we can really make an impact in the community for teens and adults living with mental health issues," Mavon said. "By going beyond the hospital and getting into schools and other organizations, as well as informing the community, we can make an impact on this mental health epidemic."
The Pillars Community Health Ball will take place Feb. 1 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.
Guests will enjoy dinner and dancing in a casino-inspired atmosphere with live music by the Connexion band.
The nonprofit integrates primary medical and dental care with mental health and social services to more than 10,000 people each year.
To purchase tickets, $225 per person, visit https://www.pillarscommunityhealth.org/the-ball/.
- Alexis Braden of Hinsdale is the paper's society columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected]