South Holland news

South Holland thrives with the help of volunteers

2013-05-27T00:00:00Z South Holland thrives with the help of volunteersMary Ann Thornton Times Columnist
May 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Volunteer service is a vital element of a thriving community, and South Holland is not short of residents who possess a heart to serve. In fact, the village currently has on its docket 14 volunteer commissions or committees, providing many opportunities for residents to give of their time and talent.

Many groups have been around a long time, such as the Planning and Development Commission and the Neighborhood Groups Organizing Committee. However, recognizing the importance for change, to address community challenges, and to further develop and grow South Holland as a community of choice, the South Holland leadership has constituted two new volunteer commissions: Public Relations and Marketing Commission and Education Commission.

The Public Relations and Marketing Commission, officially formed during the May 6 board meeting by Village President Don De Graff with the consent of the Village Board, is charged with enhancing the communications and marketing efforts of the village. The commission, chaired by Michael Nylen, has its marching orders as an adviser to the village president and trustees, village administrators and department leaders on municipal public relations and marketing matters.

Their steps are ordered and newly appointed members, which include residents Patrice Kamstra, Troy O’Quin, Yolandus Philpot, Stephanie Walters, Ronda Williams, Desmon Yancy, Richard Zekveld and Trustee Cindy Doorn, are ready to serve their community.

In a consultative capacity, the commission will assist in the development of concepts, plans, strategies, trends, programs and activities that support, facilitate, and otherwise guide the public relations and marketing efforts for the village of South Holland. Ultimately, the goal of the commission is to tell South Holland’s story in creative and meaningful ways and to evaluate the success of its story-telling methods.

Educational excellence is a priority in South Holland, and the village seeks to work in partnership with local schools to enhance the educational experience for youth. The birth of the new Education Commission is tied to this priority, as a team of passionate volunteers advise the village president and trustees of the formative needs of public, private and parochial school children at all levels of development, and serve as advocates for educational excellence.

As a community partner, the commission functions as a think tank in joining school officials in identifying the educational needs of school children, and members are working to foster cooperation, coordination and communication among all groups and individuals involved in South Holland’s education system. Given the burden of school funding is currently placed primarily on taxpayers, the commission serves as an advocate for education funding reform in Illinois.

In addition to the interim chair, Pat Mahon, appointed members of the Education Commission are Karen Blaauw, Vanessa Bradley, Karen Carradine, George Harris, Carl King Sr., Mike Nylen, Sallie Penman, Dale Ter Haar, Virgil Tolbert, Craig Vinke and Maureen White-Rush. Most of these members have an extensive education background and bring a breadth of experience and forward-thinking ideas to the table.

The reality is it takes a village. It takes a village to raise a family. It takes a village to educate children. It takes a village to build community. South Holland is a thriving and progressive community because it is a village of dedicated volunteers with good ideas and a heart to serve.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. Mary Ann Thornton is communications manager for the village of South Holland. She can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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