Sep. 24

One America Blows Into the Windy City to Honor Teachers

After honoring former Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and his wife, Sarah, this morning for their commitment to the city’s children, volunteers gathered in Chicago to help some other local heroes: teachers.

Volunteers pack resource kits for teachers.

As part of the One America tour, volunteers put together resource kits for teachers, tote bags filled with items teachers often have to buy themselves for school – pens, markers, tape, hand sanitizer and more. And to offer teachers some encouragement, volunteers placed in each bag a book from the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, featuring 101 inspirational stories from teachers and students.

Volunteers, gathered by Chicago Cares, said they were glad to have a chance to help a group of people who make a difference in children’s lives every day.

Ora Gee, who helped fill bags, said the One America event – part of a campaign led by Points of Light and Chase to unite Americans in volunteer service – helped her realize that she has the power to change lives through the simple act of volunteering.

“I need to break out and get involved,” Gee said. “I’m not by myself; I’m part of a community.”

That’s the philosophy behind the Wood Family Foundation, which aims to make lives better for children in Chicago, focusing on low-income neighborhoods. The foundation, which Kerry and Sarah Wood started in 2011, funds both immediate and long-term relief projects for underprivileged kids, and works to raise awareness throughout the community of children’s needs. At today’s gathering Kerry Wood accepted a Daily Point of Light Award for serving local children.

Tracy Hoover presents Kerry Wood with the Daily
Point of Light Award.

“There are so many more positive things going on in our neighborhoods than we see on T.V.,” Kerry Wood said. “The work that’s being done in these neighborhoods is working.”

Kerry Wood joined Points of Light President Tracy Hoover, Glenn Tilton, chairman of the Midwest for Chase, and education leaders for a discussion about expanding high quality education opportunities to all young people in Chicago.

Students at the event said they appreciated that adults were paying attention. One named Cassandra remarked, “A lot of students from my neighborhood come to school with negative things on their mind,” such as violence and hunger. “It really affects their education.”

The next One America tour stop will be in Miami on Oct. 17. To sign up for regular updates or suggest your own unlikely pairs to unite in service, go to or join the conversation on Twitter using #1America.


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