Theresa Wozniak began volunteering for the Chicago Cultural Center in 1996. She focused on mobilizing other seniors like herself that were interested in giving back to their community as well as providing visitor and tourist information for the City of Chicago. She and her volunteers share a love for their neighborhoods and a desire to educated tourists and people from other communities to appreciate the diversity of Chicago. For her efforts, Wozniak was honored as the 1999 Hospitality Guide of the Year by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
For the past three years, Wozniak has also served as President of the St. Camillus “Golden-Agers Society,” is a member of the Holy Name Society, and on the parish council for the St. Camillus Parish on Chicago’s Southside. She also organized her group to assist Chicago in May of1998 at Midway Airport with a meet and greet team for a five-day international tourism conference that was held in the city. This group, called “Team Midway,” is still going strong and has been used as a catalyst for a similar program at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. By talking with literally thousands of travelers, many new to Chicago, Wozniak and her team have been successful in changing the attitudes of people. Reaching out to strangers has built a positive bridge for the city.
Wozniak has also found time to organize various projects like “Volunteer Dollies,” “Theresa House,” and “The Mantel.” Volunteer Dollies was started in 1999 when Wozniak collected, cleaned and brushed up previously loved dolls, stuffed animals and toys for children in need. Theresa House is a shelter for homeless families that works as a partnership with Port Ministries. The Mantel is a daycare facility for parents who are working to earn their GED in addition to families being assisted through Mayor Daley’s Sharing It Anonymously Program. Theresa Wozniak does not work for recognition but to change lives. Though she is rewarded every time she sees the wide eyes of a little girl gazing into the eyes of her new doll.
Though her plate is full, Wozniak also finds time to serve as a legislative representative for VFW Rhine Post 2729. She especially enjoys the time spent there because she is able to serve as a voice for seniors and her community. She has touched many lives in the city of Chicago and throughout the world. Her efforts to welcome and help all persons visiting Chicago have had a tremendous impact on the community as a whole.