Williams’ job doesn’t end when the bell rings
Burr Ridge Middle School health aide Wendy Williams jokes with students at the beginning of book club in the school library Dec. 11. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Name: Wendy Williams
Best known as: health aide at Burr Ridge Middle School and active community volunteer
Family: she and husband Travis are parents to five children and grandparents to four.
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:07AM
BURR RIDGE — Wendy Williams has seen some big changes in her community, and she is the force behind many of them. Williams, health aide at Burr Ridge Middle School, moved to the Willowbrook Corner neighborhood eight years ago and quickly started adding to her list of titles. Today, those include founder of the Burr Ridge Middle School book club, founder of the Burr Ridge Middle School College Club, registrar for the Willowbrook Corner mobile food pantry, volunteer with the neighborhood’s afterschool program, and even Mrs. Claus at the neighborhood’s annual Santa’s Workshop event.
Q. What brought you to this area eight years ago?
A. Before I came here I lived in the Richton Park area. I got very ill, and the bills mounted up so high that we had to sell our home. We wound up moving out here. God led us out here.
Q. What got you started volunteering?
A. My husband, Travis, and I have always believed in being involved in the community where we live. You can’t complain if you’re not willing to jump in and make a change. We truly believe that.
Q. What is your role with the Willowbrook Corner Coalition?
A. I’m a member of the coalition as a resident and as an employee of (Burr Ridge Elementary District 180). The coalition is a conglomerate of businesses and agencies in the area specifically geared to helping the Willowbrook Corner community — Waterfall Glen, Hinsdale Point and Hinsdale Lake Terrace.
Q. What are the problems faced by this community?
A. Because it is a rental community, it’s a very transient community. Because we’re unincorporated we don’t get services, and we’re kind of isolated. We don’t have transportation services. During the day, there is nothing. That’s one thing that the coalition is looking into, trying to pick up transportation for the people.
Q. Why did you start the College Club?
A. College Club is just eighth-graders. I felt there was a need, because a lot of children did not believe that college was obtainable. A lot of parents thought college was not obtainable. Everybody has a chance for higher education.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I have a contact at College of DuPage. We’re going to be bringing classes to Anne M. Jeans soon, for adults. We’ll have GED classes, we’re going to have ESL classes. Citizenship classes. It’s going to be real exciting.
Q. How do you do it all?
A. I have a great support system. My husband, he dives right in. He’s a mentor to a lot of the young men in the community.
Q. Do you know every child’s name at Burr Ridge Middle School?
A. Pretty much. All 300 and some kids. It’s my job to know. I find that when you get to know the children, even just their name, you can see the child change.