The Beauty of Giving

Saturday, 03 January 2009 11:29 Written by  Cicely V. Teal

In this present condition, where the recession has plagued many people with feelings of instability and pessimism, trying to find just a simple beacon of hope appears to be a despairing journey.  However, in the crevices of unpredictability still lies ‘the want’ to give.


The students at the Technology Center of DuPage, a host of community leaders and volunteers had the opportunity to use their time as well as talent to give back to an under-resourced community.  Enter into The Celebration Clinic at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church lead by Pastor Mark Borgetti in Naperville. They hosted their Third Annual Community Outreach event providing free services and resources like dental, mammogram and medical screenings, haircuts and styling, manicures, books, winter clothes, legal advice, hot meals, and much more for those whom it would be unavailable to otherwise.  

Parents attended with their children hoping to receive services for the whole family. Wendy Roberts, mother and recipient at the event, has been attending since its conception. “It has been a great source of help to me. My husband is the only one working in our household and we had a financial setback due to medical bills. It has been a true blessing to my family and me,” explains Roberts.   

A trickling down of people passing along information about this great program lead everyone into the world of service and giving on this day. A small church in Lisle, Illinois inspired Sarah Gmitro, coordinator of the event. “There was a sense of compassion and of being cared for. I saw a bonding between the giver and the receiver and I knew I had to do something,” Gmitro says.  

There was a true calling that lead to grand inspiration and concrete partnerships with different organizations that send out professionals to fulfill a promise of service to the community. This event was facilitated through donations, grants, garage sales from community residents, some corporate sponsors, and Northern Illinois Food Bank provided food for the food pantry.  

There was inclusion and diversity amongst the patrons and volunteers. One of the volunteer groups that made their presence felt were the cosmetology students at the Technology Center of DuPage. They were uniformly dressed and energetic about taking what they’ve learned and making the recipients feel confident about themselves on the outside. Richard C. Ford Jr., a student in the program at COD (pictured above), was more than enthusiastic about being involved. “Although I am still in the learning process, being able to use what I know and what I’m learning to give back to the community is very fulfilling,” Ford explains.                   

Bea Brown, coordinator of the cosmetology department at COD began bringing her students to this community event through the suggestion of her colleague. She saw it as a way of allowing them to gain practice and experience, but also open her students to giving back. The students earn credit for volunteering, but not one of them mentioned this fact. They were truly overwhelmed with being a part of this massive event and providing an external service that gave each recipient a sense of feeling pampered.

Marquitte Collins, a senior in the cosmetology program, and class president believes that the event and services were invaluable. “Making people feel beautiful when they are experiencing hardships is something I will be involved in for a lifetime, both professionally and personally,” Collins passionately explains.  

Not only are the patrons’ lives changed, but those involved are changed as well. How inspiring for an affluent community to walk arm and arm with different people, from different backgrounds, with different economic situations. The ministry was apparent –– giving back in hopes of spiritual upliftment.



*The image in the rotation at the top is of Shenitha Williams, a student in the cosmotology program at The Technology Center of Dupage.

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Communication and Depaul Univeristy with a M.A in Journalism. She contributed to and maintained a column at N’Digo Magapaper, and wrote for Urban Influence Magazine, Breaking Tweets, The DePaulia and The Independent. She also worked on documentary projects at WTTW channel 11, children’s television programming at WCIU-TV and African American programming at Central City Productions.

She is a blogger and studies web analytics, social networking strategies and integrated marketing at the University of Chicago.

She can be contacted at