Aurora hospice volunteer honored with Impact Award

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Aurora resident Christine Stepelton has been awarded the Inspirational Achievement Award by The Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago. Stepelton’s award was one of the 2010 Impact Volunteer Awards, an annual event sponsored by The Volunteer Center. The Impact awards recognize individuals, groups and companies that give back to their communities.

Aurora resident Christine Stepelton has been awarded the Inspirational Achievement Award by The Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago. Stepelton’s award was one of the 2010 Impact Volunteer Awards, an annual event sponsored by The Volunteer Center. The Impact awards recognize individuals, groups and companies that give back to their communities.

“Our recipients take their time and resources to really make a difference,” Volunteer Center Associate Director Chris Smith said.

Stepelton was recognized for her work with Passages Hospice, where she has given over 150 volunteer hours this year. Officially, Stepelton helps distribute and remove trays in the dining room during meals, but her work goes much deeper. Some residents at Countryside Care Center, the nursing home where Stepelton works, do not get many visitors, and she fills that gap.

“I like to talk to the residents,” Stepelton says, “I think it makes them happy.”

Stepelton has been commended by Countryside Care Center and Passages Hospice staff for her positive attitude and willingness to take on any task.

“She is always good-natured, and we depend on her to share that with the patients.” Countryside Activity Director Pat Marn said. Stepelton was also awarded the Passages Hospice Volunteer of the Month award in January for logging the most hours.

“She does a fabulous job, and we are so proud of her,” Corey Tague, Passages Hospice Director of Business and Volunteer Services said.

Stepelton’s award is especially poignant because of her personal challenges. The Inspirational Achievement Award is given to a volunteer with an “inspiring ability to overcome obstacles,” according to Volunteer Center Executive Director Mary Fitzgibbons.

Stepelton is a member of the Association for Individual Development (AID), whose mission is to “empower individuals with disabilities and special needs to achieve independence and community inclusion.” Stepelton has overcome many personal difficulties to complete her volunteer work, including social anxiety and the inability to drive.

“She’s come a long way,” said AID Job Developer Kathy Kusek, who has noticed a big increase in Stepelton’s confidence since she began volunteering.

Stepelton hopes to find permanent employment with the skills she has developed while volunteering. Until then, she is glad to be making a difference in the lives of a very deserving population, and knows that she benefits as much as the patients she serves.

“They help me too,” Stepelton said, “they share their happiness.”

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Charlene Sligting
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