Celebrating Angels Among Us
December 20, 2022

During this holiday season, we want to shine the spotlight on the “Angels Among Us” doing extraordinary work to advance our mission day in and day out throughout the year.

We’ve been thinking about what inspires them to donate their time and money and passions to Cristo Rey St. Martin at a time when our students and their families — along with the world — need our help more than ever.

We feel it is very important to point out that we are featuring only SOME of the many, many standout volunteers in this issue. We are very grateful to so many people who give generously of their time and talents providing support for CRSM  in everything, from helping to write resumes, training and accompanying our freshman to their first day at work, and others who share their expertise at our career exploration days. We will be launching a monthly spotlight to feature all our volunteers in depth.  Stay tuned in future months for more angels among us.

Meet Our Campus Ministry Volunteers who Help Feed and Nourish the Spirits of Our Neighbors in Need

Once a month, for the last two years, the CRSM community has manned the parking lot to help distribute food to area residents in need through the Northern Illinois Food Bank’s Popup food bank. Taking a lead directing traffic are Mary and Kathleen Popit, and working alongside her son is CRSM mom Anaid Hernandez.

Hunger relief is just part of what our volunteers do — because “food is the foundation of kindness and compassion for our neighbors,”says Mary Popit.

“These volunteers embody and live a core part of our mission to be people for others,” said Jim Dippold, Director of Campus Ministry. “They are heloing to feed more than 600 families a month. This would not be possible without their help and dedication.”

Meet Erin Foley, Joanne Eenigenburg, Cindy Rourke and Ann Kendall  our event planning gurus

From creating the theme, the decor, inviting their friends and family and providing overall direction for our two major fundraisers — elevate and Founder’s Dinner — this team of volunteers works tirelessly to pull off these mega fundraising events which financially support tuition and programs for our students, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a college prep education.  “We couldn’t put these events on without this committee,” says Candice Tonon, Director of Development or Wendy Feldhaus, Assistant Development Director. “They are a very special community of supporters.”

Volunteers Gear Students Up for Corporate World

Meet the Corporate Work Study Program mentors, Ignatian Volunteer Corps team: Keith Schoeneberger,  a retired attorney, Susan Carsello, a wealth management advisor, Kate Kniest, a retired college nursing professor and Mari-Lou Menezes, a financial services executive and business development strategist with JP Morgan Chase. Phil Balog, a retired accountant from Waukegan, has been volunteering for more than a decade.

From scouring through student’s on-the-job work study reports, to coaching and mentoring students who are facing challenges at work these IVC Chicago volunteers “are hugely important in helping student develop workplace skills and giving them after work support,” says Brian Weinberg, Director of the Corporate Work-Study Program.


Teaching Writing and Academic Skills

With a culture that immerses students in becoming college and career ready, helping students achieve academic excellence is vital to our mission. That’s why CRSM is grateful to the volunteers who share their expertise with students in the academic arena.

In the college counseling department, Gretchen Cooper Athas, a Career Management and Admissions Coach and Jeanie Sullivan, work with seniors on their personal statements, resumes and college applications. .”We couldn’t do it without them,” says Sharon Holdvogt, college counselor. “They are incredible  with working with our students to encourage them to elaborate in their writing while also allowing the student to maintain their voice and style.

John Simons, a retired Abbott scientist, with a Phd from MIT and MBA from Northwestern and an Ignatian volunteer, offers academic counseling twice a week through the CRSM Academic Assistance Program (AAP). 

“I was lucky to retire early and wanted to do something that really makes a difference in these student’s lives,” says John. “Now I can finally put my ‘over educated’ self to use and make a true impact.”