Goodbye interview with Therese.
What was your professional experience prior to Literacy DuPage?
"Early in my career, I worked at Public Affairs for Jobs for Youth, Chicago. After some time, I was promoted to executive director. The agency assisted low-income youth with job training and entry-level placements with businesses in the Loop area. It also helped with GED and literacy instruction. From there, I was the deputy director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. For several years I ran a federal program to help disadvantaged adults and youth find adequate job training and literacy programs to help themselves become self-sufficient."
Did anything surprise you during your time at Literacy DuPage?
"I was surprised by the number of immigrants and adults who are in need of our services. Each year we do wonderful work, but the amount of work we are doing is really just a drop in the bucket. There is such a need."
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment/legacy?
"Leaving the organization in a financially sound place with over six months of operating funds and, in general, doubling our grant funding! Additionally, focusing our outcomes on expanding foundational grants and negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the College of DuPage. This helps to secure and strengthen our missions and visions and merges two like-minded tutoring organizations to support classroom and individual tutoring."
What are some of your favorite moments/stories from Literacy DuPage?
"The appreciation luncheon was always very moving and showed how we truly affect change in someone’s life. Additionally, getting to know learners and tutors along the way. Moving two times a couple of years apart was interesting, but fun, with getting staff together to get it done."
What will you miss the most about Literacy DuPage?
"So much! I have truly enjoyed my time with Literacy DuPage. Retiring is not an easy decision. I will, of course, miss the staff and our wonderful office volunteers. I will also miss our tutors and learners and the partnerships I made, as well as getting to know our corporate funders (Ecolab, Wintrust, Comcast, 100 Women Who Care), and our private funders, such as Ron McDaniel."
What do you hope for Literacy DuPage and the future?
"I hope for the continued expansion of the program through increased outreach and marketing. Additionally, to strengthen the different partnerships."