Saturday morning, I was running late for a party. I rushed into the Walgreens at the corner of Waukegan and Shermer to grab a birthday card. I hear a 'Kati, Kati.' I turn to see a friend of mine from grade school, Sharon Latek. She was all decked out in red, white and blue. Hat. The works.
Her daughter was with her that day and was holding an old, beat up paint can. We talked for a minute and she said she was going to spend the morning with her daughter 'canning.'
They took up their post outside of the Walgreens and proceeded to ask for donations for the 4th of July Celebration that occurs every year in Northbrook. A dollar here, $.25 cents there.
The next day, I went to Starbucks and, again, there was the old paint can. The Northbrook volunteers were sitting outside on the bench, enjoying their drinks and their adorable new puppy, Lucy. At the same time, they were contributing to their community by asking for donations for our 4th of July festival.
By now, many of you know, or should absolutely know, that the Northbrook 4th of July festivities are not run by the Village of Northbrook or the Park District. It is run by a group of dedicated volunteers who come together each year to make a great celebration for all of us.
While other communities are struggling to pull together their Fourth of July celebration, our volunteer leaders, Sharon Latek and Shari Bergstein march on to reach their financial goal. And even though the village donates a sizable chunk of money towards the celebration, there are thousands of additional dollars that still need to be raised.
Do we, as Northbrook residents, take this group for granted? Do we just assume that 'other people' are going to get involved and make it happen for us?
What happens if there is no more celebration in Northbrook because no one has volunteered? Will you complain? Will you take it up with the Village or the Park District? Write letters to the editor?
Imagine your Fourth of July in Northbrook with no parade, no fireworks, no pancake breakfast. Will you wake up next year on the 4th and grumble something nasty about the town and the people that run it?
I ask each of you to dig deep down and ask yourself why you are not donating your time to volunteer for this outstanding civic organization.
Now is the time to step up. Honor those who have volunteered for decades for you and your family. It's time to put your own chips into the game.
When Sharon and Shari pass you along the parade route on Wednesday, stand up. Thank them for their passion and energy. Tell them that you are willing to help and Get Involved.
If you don't help, you can't complain.
To volunteer, email email@example.com
To learn more about the history of the 4th of July Association, click here.
Kati Spaniak is a 36-year resident of Northbrook, a former Northbrook Village Board Trustee and a Real Estate Broker with @properties specializing in selling real estate in Northbrook. Her GetInvolvedNorthbrook page is to keep the residents of Northbrook involved and active in the community.