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SUBURBAN HERO | November 2015


​SUBURBAN HERO – Dave Larson, Downers Grove Bridge Communities, Sleep Out Saturday Dave and his wife, Julie, have lived in Downers Grove for over 20 years. They were attracted to the west suburbs by the variety of people, closeness of the community and the opportunities to raise a family. Finding a strong spiritual connection through Christ Church of Oak Brook was an unexpected bonus; and learning about the less fortunate members of their community was discovered through their son, Miles, after he participated in ‘Sleep Out Saturday’ through a youth group at church.

“It was a great opportunity for him to learn about the reality of homelessness in DuPage County and generate financial support for Bridge Communities’ programs helping those with needs,” Dave shares. “There are more than 1000 participants signed up so far this year’s event and we expect to have 2,000 in over 20 communities. There will also be a community Sleep Out location where anyone can come - this year it will be in downtown Naperville at Central Park.”

Beyond ‘Sleep Out Saturday’, Dave also serves as a Director on the Board and participates on the mentor team for Bridge Communities. He supports a homeless family towards a better future by providing encouragement, budget training and help with life skills. In addition, he helps link families to critical resources; such as, career counseling, health care, tutoring, transportation, etc.

“The most rewarding aspects of being a mentor are the relationships you build and witnessing the impact of personal growth,” Dave shares. “We help people find dignity by guiding them to independence and stability.”

While working a full-time job as the Executive Vice President at Wintrust Financial Corporation in Willowbrook, one might ask how Dave finds the time for volunteering to assist Bridge Communities. “You set your priorities and make a commitment,” he says. “I also work on a team of several mentors, so we are able to share duties to meet our schedules, and the support we receive from Bridge is outstanding.”

Larson invites groups or individuals of all ages to participate in “Sleep Out Saturday” this November 7th. To support a sleeper or make a donation visit www.sleepoutsaturday.org.

-Kristen Kucharski

About Sleep Out Saturday On Saturday, Nov. 7, close to 2,000 west suburban teens will sleep outside all night to raise awareness of and money for families in the Bridge Communities program. You can sponsor a sleeper, a group or simply make a donation at www.sleepoutsaturday.org or by calling 630-545-0610 x 19.

"Sleep Out Saturday" Participant

Rebecca Waden (right) is an 8th grader at Herrick Middle School in Downers Grove. She has participated in "Sleep Out Saturday" twice with the Christ Church of Oak Brook middle school youth group. Rebecca says, "I like Sleep Out Saturday because it's for a great cause. Our middle school director talks to us about how many people and even kids are homeless and the stats are surprising. This is my way of helping out."

#SuburbanHero

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