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With a little help from their friends

Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 4:43 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:45 a.m. CDT
(Sarah Minor – sminor@shawmedia.com)
Danny McComb, 13, helps on Comcast Cares Day at the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association on April 27.

CAROL STREAM – Staff members of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association in Carol Stream finally got around to cleaning and organizing projects last weekend.

With a little help from nearly 90 new friends, that is.

To cap off National Volunteer Week, Comcast sent employees to engage in various projects at the WDSRA facility Saturday. The employees, along with members of their families and friends, helped WDSRA staffers paint, wash and clean the area. This was part of an annual event called Comcast Cares Day.

“There were about 87 volunteers from Comcast,” said Lea Jackman, WDSRA’s superintendent of communications and development. “They helped us wash all of our windows, both inside and out. They helped us clean the buses we use to transport our clients. They helped with landscaping.”

Comcast volunteers also helped with painting six offices and cleaning up Community Park in Carol Stream, Jackman said.

Angie Amores, Comcast’s director of public relations in the Chicago area, said the Comcast Cares Day event in Carol Stream was led by Ronnie Gentile and Samantha Hansen, both from the company’s finance department. This was the 12th annual Comcast Cares Day, and the firm sent representatives to help out in more than 80 projects, she said. Other endeavors included assisting people develop resumes, landscaping and spring cleaning, Amores said.

“People tend to volunteer where they live,” Amores said. “It’s always been about giving back to the communities where our employees live and work. This has always been part of our DNA here at Comcast.”

Jackman said that WDSRA has volunteers from organizations assist the group throughout the year. Volunteers come from service groups such as the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, churches and youth organizations. But WDSRA never had so many volunteers show up at one time.

“This is actually the first time we have participated in Comcast Cares Day,” Jackman said. “But we have a long association with Comcast. They have had representatives who served as trustees on our board. Our partnership with Comcast goes back at least 10 years.”

Serving about 4,500 individuals, WDSRA provides recreational opportunities for people with special needs. It is a cooperative extension of park districts representing Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.

Anytime people are willing to lend a hand is wonderful, Jackman said. But one of the main benefits of Comcast Cares Day was that it allowed WDSRA staff members to finally tackle a few tasks that often get overlooked.

“It was simply amazing. The amount of things they accomplished in that time was remarkable,” Jackman said. “I think the most important thing is we worked on projects that usually fall by the wayside because of the day-to-day work we do – although, we do try and wash our windows.

“If we had to hire that out or subcontract it, that can be expensive,” Jackman said. “Comcast provided all the materials the volunteers used in doing their work. This was a huge savings for the agency.”

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