Hinsdale Assembly culminates year of service

Members of the Hinsdale Assembly Class of 2021 soon will be returning home from college to celebrate a year's worth of community service and fundraising for the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation at the organization's annual Assembly Ball.

Despite having to cancel its annual St. Thomas Hospice Carnival due to COVID restrictions, this year's class, consisting of 26 debutantes and 24 honor guard, spent their senior year of high school giving back. Service projects included volunteering at the HCS Family Services food pantry, assisting with painting projects at the Danada Equestrian Center and beautifying St. James Farm in Warrenville.

"The cornerstone of the Hinsdale Assembly is based on community service, said Laurie Eichelman, chair of the Assembly Board. "Our mission is to provide special projects throughout our community where our participants can engage and learn, while having fun working together. We hope that these opportunities will resonate with them and instill a life-long desire to continue to help those less fortunate."

The Assembly's 2020 and 2021 classes pledged to raise $100,000 over two years to support the Amita Health Behavioral Medicine Institute. Eichelman said that the organization's next fundraising pledge will be for the much-needed renovation of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale.

"Our son was born in Hinsdale Hospital and had several visits there after his birth," added Eichelman. "It was so comforting knowing he was being so well cared for in a faith-filled environment."

The Hinsdale Assembly Ball will take place on Saturday, Dec. 23, at the Hilton Oak Brook Hills.

Sponsor a furry friend

Holiday gifts can come in all shapes and sizes, but the ones not under the tree can bring the most joy - especially to the four-legged animals who are desperately seeking their forever home at the Hinsdale Humane Society.

This year, the long-standing nonprofit animal shelter is offering a new way for locals to support its 120 feline and canine residents. For a minimum sponsorship of $50, donors can help provide care for a dog or cat of their choosing. The sponsorships will be listed on the society's website with a photo, calling attention to the pet and to encourage those seeking to adopt an animal to visit the shelter in person. The sponsor will receive a personalized certificate with the pet's photo and can also make an appointment to meet the pet in person.

"Sponsoring an animal not only draws additional attention to that pet on our website, it's also a way to engage our community, often some of our youngest supporters, in providing financial support for animals in need," said Deborah Kraus, development director of the Hinsdale Humane Society. "Sponsorships help our longterm residents who need a little extra love in finding their forever home."

And, according to Kraus, the society usually sees that its harder-to-place, longer-term pets tend to find their forever homes over the holidays. For those looking to adopt a new animal, she recommends doing so over the holiday season.

"The holidays are a great time to add a new furry family member, because everyone tends to be off from work and school and have more time to help their new pet adjust, Kraus said. "We don't recommend adopting pets as presents though, and instead we suggest if you're planning on gifting a pet, to instead give pet supplies as the gift and plan to pick out the pet together after the holidays."

The society hopes to find its longer-term residents their forever homes this season by offering a reduced adoption fee.

"For 12 days leading up to Christmas, we'll be featuring the '12 Strays of Christmas,' " Kraus said. "The community will meet 12 dogs or cats who need a little extra love to get them home.

"We'll begin announcing these special babies on Dec. 9, so be sure to watch our social media to find out who's going home for the holidays."

The sponsor a pet or to learn more about adoption, please visit https://www.hinsdalehumanesociety.org.

- Alexis Braden of Hinsdale is the paper's society columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].