Volunteer Center Honors 4 Special Volunteers at Our Annual Recognition Event

On Friday, March 8th at the Michigan Shores Club in Wilmette, Volunteer Center supporters and friends came together to celebrate the work of these extraordinary volunteers…share in a special interactive service event… and have a lot of fun!

Wendy Serrino-1
Wendy Serrino
Heidi Sibert, Martin Associates
Heidi Sibert, Martin Associates
Mary McLaughlin 2013
Mary McLaughlin, Trees That Feed Founder
Joanie and Herb White
Joanie & Herb White














Wendy Serrino of Glencoe, received recognition for her humanitarian efforts both locally and throughout the globe. A world traveler, international volunteer and a passionate supporter of children’s issues, Wendy is the Vice Chair of the Midwest Regional UNICEF Board, Co-Chair UNICEF Profile Series at UNICEF, President, Board of Directors at North Shore Exchange, a brand new resale shop that supports charity, the co-founder and Co-Chair of the Glencoe Family Partnership that funded a Charter School in the Englewood area, and a board member of Glencoe Family Services.

James Martin Associates, Heidi Sibert, co-owner and partner received this year’s business award for their tremendous civic engagement and impact on the North Shore and charitable causes. Over the last seven years, their support has raised more than $250,000 for charities and community organizations and student scholarships.  They have supported the Arthritis Foundation, the American Cancer Society, Misericordia, Family Promise, the Cradle, Girls Hope Boys Hope, American Red Cross of greater Chicago, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Special Olympics and The Winnetka Historical Society.  They also award Scholarships to students in pursuit of a career in the landscape service industry.

Mary McLaughlin of Winnetka received the Global Initiative Award for her groundbreaking work in sustainable food sources for impoverished countries. Familiar with trees that grow well in Jamaica, like the breadfruit tree, Mary and her husband Michael founded Trees That Feed, an organization that helps reforest tropical areas with trees that produce edible fruit – the breadfruit, in order to feed people, benefit the environment and help the local economy. They are improving diets in tropical countries and reducing dependency on imported foods and agro chemicals.

Joanie and Herb White of Winnetka were granted the Lifetime of Service Award. They have been foster parents for 40 years for newborns from drug addicted mothers through the Children’s Home and Aid in Chicago. They have taken care of 121 babies and never left their sides while in their care., ranging from 3 months to a year. They also deal with their health issues resulting from the drug addiction of their mothers. The babies stay with them ranging from a few days to a year. The Whites were also honored as Foster Parents of the Year for Metropolitan Chicago. Herb has been Chairman of the Board for the Cedar Ridge Foundation Retirement Home for Low Income Seniors for 8 years. They also serve on the Interfaith Council in NTT and the Steering Committee of Christ Church Rummage for many years. Because of their work, they have inspired others to take on newborns as well.

Recognition Event Inside

In addition to the volunteer award presentations, guests delighted in an interactive “Service Quest”, a game oriented service project, conceived by VC Board members Sheila Newman and Vivian Nitzberg of Glencoe.  Guests played games to win household cleaning supplies and personal products that are not covered by food stamps. The items were then donated to low income and homeless families. The Grand Food Center generously donated all the products for this project – just one of the many ways this local business supports community based nonprofits. Games included “Jeopardy”, “The Price is Right” and “VC Nonprofit Bingo”.

If you’d like to make a donation in honor of our Recognition Event, please click here