The Emerging Leaders Board Strengthens Our Commitment to Education

Through the Educational Incentives Program, SOS Illinois’ Emerging Leaders Board recognizes our youth’s academic achievements and encourages a commitment to education.

Chris Nadeau SOS Illinois Emerging Leaders Board
Emerging Leaders Board (ELB) Chair Chris Nadeau (left) with fellow ELB members.

SOS Children’s Villages Illinois’ Associate Board, the Emerging Leaders Board (ELB), helps spread the SOS Illinois mission through volunteering and networking on behalf of the organization. Members include philanthropic young professionals from various industries and sectors who all come together with the same goals: to share the story about the SOS Illinois model of care, encourage other young adults to join as ambassadors of the mission, and to advocate for our children and Foster Parents.

“Not many junior boards have the opportunity for hands-on volunteering,” Emerging Leaders Board Chair Chris Nadeau emphasizes. “Whereas the ELB has gone out of its way to make sure that there are ample opportunities to actually meet and interact with the children, which is one of the most rewarding parts [of volunteering].”

Rewarding Achievement Through the Educational Incentives Program

In serving as advocates of the agency’s mission, one of the hallmarks of the ELB’s work is the Educational Incentives Program. The aim is to support SOS Illinois’ educational programming—and the 100% high school graduation rate—by recognizing the children’s academic achievements with special educational events. From learning to paint a famous work like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, workshopping stories with a published author, practicing improv comedy, or learning about animal causes, with each new experience our children explore and build new skills.

“We appreciate everything that SOS is doing from an educational standpoint for the kids and we wanted to be a part of that. We came up with the Educational Incentives Program to reward and also encourage the students to keep those grades up, to continue to work hard and, and do well because education really is the basis for the transition into being a successful adult,” Nadeau says about the motivation behind the Educational Incentives Program. “I think it’s important to note with the Educational Incentives [program] that it focuses not only on good grades but also on attendance, overall improvement in school, whether or not that’s behavioral, as well as homework. We encourage the students [to know] that it’s not just about grades, but it’s about their commitment to education.”

Spread the SOS Illinois Mission: Volunteer With ELB

As ambassadors of the SOS Illinois mission, one of the other important points of emphasis is the model of foster care that the organization offers. ELB Chair Nadeau says that one of the first aspects he explains to new and prospective members is “how important it is to have a dedicated Foster Parent in the home and what a difference that makes.”

The work that ELB volunteers do and the impact they make never goes unnoticed by the staff, Board Members, or children in our care either. It is always appreciated and continues to expand avenues for getting the word out there about the organization and instilling in our youth the importance of investing in their education.

Volunteers are always needed and welcomed to help spread the message. If you have questions about getting involved, reach out to Anne Glaza at aglaza@sosillinois.org.

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