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January Volunteer of the Month

Reported by on 1/17/13

Whether she’s volunteering at her children’s schools or dancing with her daughters as members of a local hula dance company, Karen Duncan of Naperville embraces the “Aloha Spirit,” which is characterized by unselfish giving, joy and kindness. For those reasons and many more, she has been recognized as this month's District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month.

Karen was nominated for her work as PTA co-president at Welch Elementary School, PTSA co-president at Scullen Middle School and treasurer of the Indian Prairie Parents’ Council. She also belongs to the Indian Prairie Project Arrow PTA.

At Welch Elementary, Karen implemented several programs to advance the school's academic goals including the first STEM Fair last school year. As PTA president, Karen maintains a high degree of fiscal responsibility. She is always willing to help school staff members and volunteers whenever she is needed. She is described by those who know her as a woman who packs 30 hours of activity into a 24-hour day.

Karen was instrumental in boosting diversity parent participation at both Welch and Scullen. She encouraged parents from different ethnicities, backgrounds, working parents, and fathers to participate in the PTA. Because of her decade of involvement with the PTA, she also has helped train new PTA officers.

Although their family is not Hawaiian, Karen and her daughters are hula dancers and perform free-of-charge at PTA events and throughout the community to share the Hawaiian culture with people of all ages.

Karen said being named Volunteer of the Month is an incredible honor.

“Besides the obvious benefits of working with children and seeing them grow, the biggest benefit to volunteering for me is meeting and working with parents, teachers and administrators across the district,” she said. “Volunteering helps me stay very connected to what is going on in my children’s schools and the district as a whole.”

She said it’s important that parents volunteer to set a good example for their children. “My father served many years on the school board in the district I grew up in and that had a very positive impact on me,” she said.

BMO Harris Bank is helping District 204 recognize one volunteer each month who has generously given his or her time to support District 204's students and schools. To celebrate these outstanding volunteers, BMO Harris Bank is donating $1,000 to the volunteer's school. To nominate an outstanding volunteer, visit District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month.

Karen Duncan reads to students while volunteering at Welch Elementary School.

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