School Year 2022-23: Off to a Tremendous Start!

GECRC students from Churchill and Lincoln visited Hadley on Oct. 4 to see a production of 'Alice in Wonderland' by Glenbard West Theatre Students

Four Program Sites: Growing Strong!

The 2022-23 school year program has kicked off to an incredible beginning. GECRC student enrollment has nearly doubled across the four program sites, and our volunteer numbers are up, as well.

“We’ve had an amazing response to our tutoring needs this year, with an overwhelming number of new volunteers joining the volunteer base,” says Volunteer Coordinator Maryam Ghouse. “We’re always thrilled to welcome more individuals to experience volunteering with us and connecting with our amazing students.”

In addition to taking several field trips (pictured below and above in this newsletter), program staff has begun implementing the “Character Effect Curriculum” at the elementary programs and at Glen Crest Middle School. 

“This social and emotional learning program allows staff and students to recognize character strengths in themselves and others,” says Lisa Hepner, our new Director of Program and Volunteers. “We're excited to see the growth in the students' emotional well-being throughout the year.”

More volunteers are needed at Glen Crest Middle School (pictured at left with Glen Crest Program Coordinator Lizzy Doty), as the student enrollment has been thriving at the newest GECRC site. Read below for more information on how to get involved!

Want to Give Back?

Our volunteer tutors are so invaluable to the mission of GECRC. Volunteering is a mutually beneficial experience where volunteers engage with students, staff and their fellow volunteers in meaningful and purpose-driven ways. Some really wonderful and long-lasting mentoring relationships develop between tutors and students!

If you or your high school student or perhaps even retired parents or neighbors would be interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, please complete a volunteer application to join us! If you've tutored in the past, please send an email to More Spanish speaking volunteers are specifically needed at the Churchill site.

Welcome, Lisa Hepner, MSW,

New Director of Program and Volunteers

GECRC is excited to share that Lisa Hepner, MSW, has joined us as Director of Program and Volunteers!  Lisa brings a social work background, deep connections in the D41 community, and a passion for our mission. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in social work from the University of Chicago. She worked as a United States Probation and Parole officer for 24 years, working with a diverse clientele, supervising more than 200 individuals, developing case plans to empower individuals to lead a law-abiding lifestyle.

On a personal note, Lisa is married to her husband Brett and has three children: Gavin, a junior at the University of Georgia, Kyra, a freshman at Clemson University, and Liam, a freshman at Glenbard West.

Welcome, Lisa! We are so thrilled to have you as a part of the GECRC team!

Morton Arboretum Visits GECRC

Churchill students enjoyed a visit from Miss Laura and Miss Retta from The Morton Arboretum in September; the ladies took the students on a nature walk around the school grounds, talking about various plants and seeds, and then guided them in a related craft project. The smiles said it all - what a fun day!

And GECRC Visits Morton Arboretum!

We are so grateful to The Morton Arboretum for hosting our Lincoln and Churchill students for a late Friday afternoon field trip at the end of September! The students enjoyed exploring the Children’s Garden, learning about trees, plants and flowers.

An extra special thank you to Miss Laura from Morton for being our gracious host! One student shouted, “This is the BEST DAY EVER!” while running through the garden. We agree!

A Day in the Life at GECRC by Maryam Ghouse

Volunteer Coordinator Maryam Ghouse shows us a day in the life at GECRC

Past Events

Rock Around the Block 2022

So much gratitude to all of the members of our incredible community who came out to support GECRC Rock Around the Block parties over two weekends in late August and early September. So much fun was had listening to talented local musicians, catching up with neighbors and learning more about GECRC. Generous donations topped $5000 - we are so humbled and grateful! Extra special thanks to our block party hosts: the Winters, the Lobdells, Anna Dunham, the Petersellis and Megan Lowrie, as well as our musicians: Exmoor Avenue: Justin Ullman with special guests Matt Gasaway and Courtnay Roberts, with a special shout-out to Barry Dupuy for all of his support; Cottage Avenue: Gabi Winter with special guests Will Carlson, Vivienne Winter (party here turned into an open mic night with musicians from Wheaton Yamaha Music School, Calvin Coleman, Alan Taylor and neighbors!); Turner Avenue: Gabi Winter, and Main Street: Back Pocket Bourbon and Side Project. Also thank you to taco truck Mario's Cart (Exmoor Block) for donating 10 percent of proceeds back to GECRC, and to the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company for stopping by the Montclair party. Our community is truly incredible! Visit our events page to see more photos from Rock Around the Block.

Annual Golf Outing 2022

The second annual GECRC Golf Outing, held at Village Links of Glen Ellyn on September 28, brought together more than 74 golfers in support of GECRC programs. 

It was a beautiful day of golf followed by a casual dinner. Two Hound Red Brewing Co. beer was flowing on the course, friends were catching up, and the students at GECRC will benefit from the generosity of our sponsors and guests for many months to come. Nearly $12,000 was raised that day.

Visit our events page to see more photos from the 2022 Golf Outing.

Thank you to our generous golf outing sponsors:

-Mulcare Insurance Agency, Allstate Insurance

-Glen Ellyn Bank & Trust

-Quest Food Management Services

-Foundation Wealth Strategies

-The Home Companies

-Griffin Harvey Group, Compass Realty

-Exploring Flooring

-AAA Insurance, Nick DelGuidice

-First American Mortgage, Dan Palumbo

-Identity Graphics

-Jimmy John’s

-Two Hound Red Brewing Company

Future Events

Please join us as we welcome Mary Laura Philpott, author of 'Bomb Shelter' on April 6th at Glen Oak Country Club in Glen Ellyn. We are planning a cheery spring evening for up to 200 book-loving friends who will gather for fellowship, raffle prizes, dessert and drinks. Mary Laura will present her new memoir which powerfully addresses big questions of life, death and existential fear with both humor and hope. Ticket information to come!

Get Involved

Are you looking for a way to connect with GECRC?

1. Volunteer Tutor: Complete a volunteer application to get started. If you've tutored in the past, please send an email to

2. GECRC Events:

Consider helping with an upcoming fundraising event:

  • Annual Literary Event: scheduled for Thursday, April 6 at Glen Oak Country Club. If you are interested in donating a raffle item, becoming a sponsor, or getting involved with the event committee, contact Janis Pfister at
  • GECRC Golf Outing 2023; date TBD for late next summer or early fall. If interested in joining the golf committee, please reach out to Laura Ulepic at 


Community Partners and Awareness

News from our Partner: Kiwanis Club

The Kiwanis Club of Glen Ellyn is having their annual Holiday Nut and Candy Sale now through Dec 12. Not only will you be helping Kiwanis help children in our community, you will get to enjoy some delicious holiday treats. Their biggest project provides a weekend snack pack of nutritional food items to more than 500 food insecure children each week. Every dollar of profit from their fundraisers goes back into the community to help children be the best that they can be. Donations are always welcome and are used 100 percent for the community.

To order, please go to and look for the Holiday Nut Sale tab, or contact Penny at These items make great holiday gifts or “thank yous” and wonderful treats for you. Menu image below:

GECRC Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off Sept. 15 and was observed through Oct. 15. To celebrate this month rich with many cultures, our staff recommended some books for all ages to enjoy and appreciate. Here is a list of their recommended reads:

Elementary School Age:

“Be Bold! Be Brave” by Naibe Reynosa

“Think Big Little One” by Vashti Harrison

"Mis Quehaceres,” which means "My Chores,” by George Ancona

"Too Many Tamales" by Gary Soto, Ed Martinez

“Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller” by Anika Aldamuy Denise

“Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln” by Margarita Engle

“Dreamers” by Yuyi Morales

“Mango Abuela and Me” by Meg Medina

Middle School Age:

“They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems” by David Bowles

“Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish” by Pablo Cartaya

“Merci Suárez Changes Gears” by Meg Medina

“First Rule of Punk” by Celia C. Perez

High School Age:

“My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor

“Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario

To purchase the above titles, please support our local bookstore and community supporter The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn or visit the Glen Ellyn Public Library to check them out.

Special Donations

The Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center is deeply grateful to the DuPage County Board and the DuPage Foundation for the generous transformational grant GECRC received from the DuPage Community Transformation Partnership Fund. The grant will be received over two years for social emotional work within our after-school and summer programs.

"The DuPage Transformational grant affords GECRC the opportunity to strengthen and deepen the critical social emotional support and enrichment that our staff and tutors provide our students,” says GECRC Executive Director Leah Harding. “Positive relationships are at the heart of the work we do, and we are grateful to be able to have the resources to continue to care for our young people in deeply impactful ways."

Learn more.

Congratulations and a huge thank you to CCSD 89 Assistant Superintendent Maureen Jones, who was recently honored by the Illinois Association of School Business Officials for her three years on the IASBO Board of Directors.

Maureen asked that the $1,000 donation from the IASBO Foundation be given to the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center. We are so grateful for her generosity, which will support the programming at our Glen Crest site.

Photo courtesy of CCSD89 Communications Coordinator Matt Hanley.

We are grateful to the Bookstore of Glen Ellyn for sharing special-edition copies of bestselling author Christina Soontornvat’s latest book, The Last Mapmaker, with our Glen Crest students.

The American Booksellers Association (ABA), Candlewick Press, and General Motors worked with indie bookstores to distribute 20,000 copies of The Last Mapmaker as part of the “STEM Reads” (#STEMReads) book giveaway. The program, funded by General Motors, aims to encourage young readers to explore their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through consuming science fiction and fantasy writings.

Thank You to In-Kind Donors

Jessica McCollum

Pastor Jonathan Hancock

Kim Fuller of M and Ems

Westminster Preschool

Elaine Metzger

Noel at Village Links

Jeff Reiter

Two Hound Red


Main Street Pub

Maize + Mash

Nobel House

A Toda Madre

Tutto Bene

Ellyn's Tap & Grill

Magnolia League

Rock Your Socks

Mission BBQ

Foundation Wealth Strategies

Noon Whistle Brewing

Identity Graphics

Fresh Nails & Spa

Glenbard West Football, Dance, Cheer and Music Teams


Donate Today
Volunteer Now
Facebook      Twitter      Instagram

345 Taft Avenue, Suite 205

Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Office: 630 479-9920

Contact Us