CIW Celebrates Its Volunteers with a Bash

Penney Kersten signed on for 23 hours of volunteering with Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) 2013.  She ended up working more than 40.
“I think it’s essential for every single human to give something of themselves back to our world,” Kersten said of why she volunteered.  “When somebody is worse off than you, you give.”

Two of this year’s over 350 volunteers get ready for Education: State of the Student.

Kersten’s was just one of many volunteering stories at CIW’s Volunteer Bash October 28, 2013.  Held at the Public House, 400 North State Street, the party gave many of the approximately 370 CIW 2013 volunteers a chance to relax with drinks, appetizers and some boisterous conversation after a week of long—but exciting—hours.
It also was CIW Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Page’s chance to thank the volunteers for the nearly 5,000 combined hours they put in ushering, photographing and making sure the nearly 140 CIW evens ran as smoothly as possible. 
“[The volunteers] really are the face of Chicago Ideas Week.  We couldn’t do it without their support, and we’re very, very thankful for that,” Page said.
As a demonstration of that appreciation, “Swag Bags” of coupons to Fado Irish Pub, GrubHub and other area services and restaurants were handed out to all volunteers at the Bash.  And Page made sure to honor five volunteers who went above and beyond with light-up hoodies.    
“Oh, it’s kind of embarrassing,” Lane Fujitana joked after being recognized for her long hours.  “I get to hear the Talks.  [CIW] gets my services.  It’s an even exchange.”
Another volunteer award recipient, Art Photo Chicago’s Steve Richards said that serving as official photographer at more than 14 events over the week gave him an opportunity to tap into his artistic nature.
“I wanted to be a part of the creativity,” Richards said.  “I consider myself a creative person.  I like to innovate…. I love that raw innovation of finding ideas that help other people.”   

Written by: Doug Pitorak
Photography by: Sarah Jane Rhee

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