Updated: Jan 3
BE INSPIRED BY THESE AREA RESIDENTS
by Kristen Kucharski
The power of positivity is a beautiful thing, helping to keep us balanced and inspired. As we start a new year, it’s important to always remember to stay positive and to surround ourselves with positive influencers. Here are five of them who we recently had the pleasure to meet. Each is truly so inspirational!
Hal Honeyman of St. Charles
Hal lives each day to make a positive difference. He believes that you should never give up; no matter what the situation. As the founder of The Bike Rack, Creative Mobility, and Project Mobility in St. Charles, he applied that belief to finding a way, not only for his own disabled son, Jacob to participate in family bike rides, but all persons with disabilities.
As an active guy himself who loves physical activity to reduce stress and maintain health, he believes a bike can be life changing. He has also worked with injured veterans, frequenting the White House 10 times, meeting 3 different Presidents.
One of Hal’s favorite events is ‘Everybody Rides’ - an adaptive and inclusive fundraising event held each year in St. Charles.
Michelle Leibfried of Naperville
Michelle is School Counselor at Gregory Middle School; a proud wife and mother of two daughters; she has always enjoyed helping others. In 2013, she was inspired by Hillary Shumate’s POW (Powerful Outstanding Women) program and brought it to Gregory Middle School to inspire and empower girls to believe in themselves, discover their unique gifts and talents, dream big and flourish self-esteem. She has also recently started BAM (Becoming Amazing Men) for boys to be responsible and active members of society and to increase their self-confidence and intellectual bravery.
She unwinds and rejuvenates by running, walking the dog, unplugging from all technology, going to the beach, volunteering, spending time with family and friends, doing random acts of kindness, and keeping a gratitude journal.
Meg Burns Lietz of Geneva/St. Charles
As a single mom of four children, Meg’s whole life is centered in building deep connections with people. She attended Geneva public schools, graduated from Rosary High School in Aurora, has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Northern Illinois University, and currently works as a local realtor for Baird & Warner.
Because of her business, Meg is “friends” with a lot of people on Facebook that she has never met. With the desire to develop meaningful relationships with her circle, she began a social experiment called ‘In Real Life’ to learn more about each individual to gain appreciation for other’s opinions and ideas; therefore, fostering more acceptance and love for your neighbor. Of the 700 “Friends”, she has met 73 so far through coffee meetups; attending events; and even hosting a ‘In Real Life’ party thanks to the generosity Blue Goose owner, Paul Lencioni in St. Charles who offered his new wine bar as a meeting spot.
Meg loves these opportunities to spread positivity and shares that joy each Christmas at her home as a reflection of how much she honors friendships. Her dining table is set for 14, although she wishes she could seat more. It is surrounded by women she has met at different periods of time - some dating back to high school, while others are newer friends, one even from a recent ‘In Real Life’ meetup. Each year she reflects on friendships that have had an impact on her that year and ensures to share her appreciation through this dinner.
Suzanne Gagner of Winfield
As a 73-year-old widow with two children who is also on the DuPage Care Center Foundation Board (DPCC) and on the Fundraising Committee, as well as a member of the Wheaton-Glen Ellyn AAUW, Suzanne feels fortunate to have the life that she does. This gratitude gives her a positive attitude which exudes optimism, energy and a commitment to serving others. She is especially passionate about gender equity and chairs the LUNAFEST Traveling Film Festival which will be held in Naperville this year and will champion women writers and filmmakers who are "telling stories that have to be told".
Suzanne’s lifelong hobbies are reading, gardening, and sewing which provide the outlet to de-stress and recharge her positivity so she can continually radiant goodness and compassion.
Charles Zayed and Emmit Flynn of Clarendon Hills/Hinsdale
Charles and Emmitt, both Hinsdale Central graduates, have partnered to bring the message of being yourself and promoting positivity through a clothing line called Awful Cloth. On the surface, this may seem counterproductive to their overall goal; yet, instead of “bad”, they think of “full of awe” – reminding people that it’s all about perspective - you can see it one way or you can see it another.
Charles loves the corporate end of their business, while Emmit manages the artsy side. Both offer a light and humorous side to life which exudes positivity overall to those around them and further validates the brand they believe in. They have confidence that the most important thing in life is to be thankful and then everything else will fall in line.
Special Thanks to these Residents for Sharing their Story with Our Readers. The Power of Positivity Truly Is So Inspiring. Find Each Story Online at www.GlancerMagazine.com for Posting and Sharing In Social Media
Photos by Mike Mantucca & Mike Catuara Unless Otherwise Submitted