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January Volunteer of the Month

Reported by on 1/15/15

BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month

For the past five years, Rose Baranyk has been the vendor coordinator for Hill Middle School’s largest and longest-running fundraiser – Gingerbread Junction. She oversees the application and selection process for over 65 artisans that fill the school and attract more than 650 people to the event that celebrated its 33rd year in 2014. Under her guidance, the successful craft fair raised over $22,000 that has helped fund STEM nights, staff appreciation and school beautification. She also coordinated the 30th anniversary of the event that included musicians from Hill and Metea Valley High School and even former Principal Darrell Echols’ band. For her dedication, she is being recognized as the District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month.

“I am honored to be named Volunteer of the Month,” she said. “I appreciate all the amazing parents who work so hard to make our events successful.”

Growing up in a small neighborhood in Chicago, Rose has fond memories of the annual Christmas Bazaar that was held at church.

“The church basement would be packed with creative mothers and grandmothers displaying baked goods and crafts,” she said. “Although they may seem old fashioned, I see bake sales, craft fairs or bazaars as being more important than ever.”

She said that Gingerbread Junction is an opportunity for current and former students and families to reconnect with each other and to enjoy shopping and sharing, while participating in a treasured tradition in the community.

After moving to Naperville 10 years ago, Baranyk began volunteering at Prairie Children Preschool and at Brookdale Elementary School. She assisted in the classrooms, worked in the Library Media Center, oversaw the after-school Brookdale Service Club and helped lead a group of parents in the development of a Peace Garden in conjunction with a fourth-grade class project. Today, her daughters are in eighth grade and a high school sophomore.

“Teachers play such an important role in a child’s life. It has been a rewarding and special experience to be able to give back to them by assisting in the classroom or helping a student in need,” 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

Rose Baranyk was named District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month for January for her role in coordinating Hill Middle School’s Gingerbread Junction for the past five years.

Photo (l to r) BMO Harris Bank – Vice President Oliver Sabugal, District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month recipient Rose Baranyk, and Hill Middle School Principal Mike Dutdut

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