Friday, May 7, 2010

My Common Threads Story

by: Mary Ann Weprin

In the winter of 2007 I started volunteering for Common Threads. A good friend of mine encouraged me to sign up as a volunteer. I had just moved to Chicago and it was winter, I love kids, I wanted to meet new people and I love food so I figured it would be a decent way to spend an afternoon. I signed up for the Monday afternoon class having no idea what to expect. I hate to be dramatic but I would say my first visit changed my life.

I had been teaching for years and had never seen kids in this type of atmosphere. I was used to kids learning behind a desk. I had been the person drilling them about what they knew and what they did not know. This was an eye opening experience for me. These kids were interested, engaged, excited and eager to learn. The food was delicious, the other volunteers were lovely (one in particular, is a good friend to this day), the curriculum was amazing…I was hooked.

Fast forward three years later; I manage volunteers all day long for Common Threads. I find people to work with our kids every afternoon. These people believe in our mission and are committed to our kids. They give their time, energy, skills, knowledge, patience and love.
When I talk to potential volunteers, I tell them my Common Threads story. They always ask me what I loved about volunteering. My answer is simple: to me, volunteering with Common Threads is the best way to be with children. You are there to cook a meal together. You work side by side with kids who need your knowledge, support, help and friendship. They need you to tell them how to hold a knife, to ask about their math test and for you to be a positive role model each week. By cooking and sharing a meal with them each week you are giving them gifts that will last a lifetime. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

Mary Ann Weprin is the Manager of Volunteer Programs at Common Threads. If you are interested in having your own life-changing experience, please contact

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