For the last 10 years, Gloria Lin has been a familiar face at the not-for-profit Chicago Northwest Suburban Chinese School, as a parent of three children and as a volunteer principal, volunteer education director and volunteer IT director.
On Sunday mornings, students from preschool to 10th grade learn Chinese language and culture, and an average of 20 volunteer parents help make that happen every week.
“The principal position is a volunteer position. We are all parent volunteers stepping in to be board members for two-year commitments. We have nine board members every year,” says Lin, a broker for United Real Estate Chicago, with an office in Oakbrook Terrace. “In addition to board members, parents are scheduled for ‘Parent On Duty’ assignments every week.”
The school was founded in 1981 by parents who operated it as a non-profit organization using parent volunteers every year, says Lin.
“We meet every Sunday in a local high school. We have approximately 125 to 150 students every year. I got involved because I know I can best use my gifts and abilities here to serve this community of Chinese-American parents who want to give their children the opportunity to learn the Chinese language and its culture and history.”
So why does she continue to volunteer?
“I want to utilize my bilingual and leadership skills to contribute to this school community, and to make sure this organization can continue to serve,” she says. “If no one steps in to fulfill various positions, the school will not operate accordingly. Most importantly, I’m setting an example for my three children to give back to the community, especially the school where they’ve been going weekly since they were toddlers. It is part of their identity as Asian Americans, and I want them to see the value of bilingual capabilities and the rewarding experience of active participation in a community environment.”
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