The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store”: American Progress
“The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store”: American Progress
Abby Edwards, Scoop Writer • May 3, 2024

In “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride, It is no secret that Chicken Hill is a place of struggle, and in 1930, Jews and African Americans had to depend...


The Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center: A Beloved Community Embracing Change

gecrc on Instagram
GECRC’s new Volunteer Coordinator Polly Cooper has a long history with the organization.

The mission of the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center (GECRC)-since it began as a 501c(3) nonprofit in 2003-has been to connect underprivileged families in the community with the best academic resources for their children to prosper. By offering after-school tutoring enrichment, the program has aided over 1000 underserved K-12 children in Glen Ellyn to attain Common Core standards related to literacy and social-emotional learning in Illinois. Citing the GECRC website, the three pillars of GECRC include being “mutually empowering,”, “resourceful”, and advocating for the wellbeing of the children and families within their program.

The role of volunteer coordinator is an integral part of fulfilling the mission of the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center: one of garnering grassroots, hands-on participation from community members to tutor K-12 students from underserved backgrounds. Polly Cooper was named the organization’s new volunteer coordinator after Lizzy Doty, GECRC’s previous occupant of the role, stepped down this May. When asked a few questions regarding her plans for the upcoming role, and her past experience leading up to this point, Cooper had some thoughtful answers to offer.

How do you think your experiences tutoring for GECRC prior to and during college has impacted your view of the organization and your current position?

“My experience tutoring for GECRC prior to college impacted my worldview in such a way that it directly affected my college career. I learned early on in college that each time I changed my major [about 5 times], I was simply trying to mimic my experience at GECRC. I continued volunteering and interning during college because it was [and remains to be] an organization whose mission I am passionate about.

 I believe that serving this organization as both a volunteer and a Classroom Coordinator grants me a unique perspective and understanding of the importance of GECRC’s Volunteer Coordinator which I can employ as I step into my new role. GECRC would not be able to run or serve our families nearly as successfully without the support of our volunteers. Having even a small part in contributing to this success is truly an honor.”


What are some goals that you possess during your time as GECRC’s Volunteer Coordinator?

“My main goal as GECRC’s Volunteer Coordinator is to do my part in helping grow the organization and its reach. The main way I can do this is by drawing in new volunteers of all ages and getting them involved in their community. I believe, speaking from personal experience, that volunteering at GECRC does as much good for the volunteers as it does for the families we serve. We serve a subsect of the Glen Ellyn community which is oft overlooked. When our volunteers come in, they begin interacting with this community and just as mine did, their worldview changes.”

What qualities make you a fearless leader? An effective educator? 

“…My goal for 2023 has been to “just do things scared,” and if I didn’t hold fast to that, I certainly would not be where I am today. I actually believe that doing things scared makes me a better leader than if I were fearless, because the average person does not go through life without fear, and I feel that makes it easier to develop a connection. 

I try to meet people where they’re at. I’ve had my own struggles and experiences, and I make the effort to show people the same courtesy I was shown or wish I would’ve been shown. The general public doesn’t want to follow a leader who they think doesn’t care or has impossible standards. I feel that an educator is a unique type of leader. Just as I make the effort to meet those I lead where they’re at, I make the effort to meet those I’m teaching where they’re at.”

 What are you most passionate about when it comes to educational reform?

“I believe in putting the child first in education. One way that we can do this is through Social-Emotional Learning and Development. Children will have increased difficulty learning if their emotions are dysregulated. This past school year, GECRC has implemented a Social-Emotional curriculum, and the effects are observable.”

What are you most excited for this upcoming school year at GECRC?

“For myself, I am most excited to grow in my role and in my professional capacity, as well as the opportunity to interact with volunteers in a new way. For the organization, I am excited for our expansion to Park View Elementary School in CCSD 89. Lizzy Doty will be heading our site there, and I look forward to seeing what she does with it.”

There is no doubt that Cooper expresses ambitious goals for her future as Volunteer Coordinator for GECRC, and her values and extensive experience will surely bolster the reputation of success of the organization for the length of her tenure. 

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About the Contributor
Matilda McLaren
Matilda McLaren, Feature Editor
Hi! My name is Matilda McLaren and I am a senior and the feature editor for this year. I am involved with Best Buddies, Future Medical Professionals Club, and Student Equity Council. In my free time, I enjoy reading new books, playing sand volleyball, watching my favorite TV shows, and going to Panera!

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