Monday, February 1, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: Brittney Swan

Brittney Swan was born in Monticello, a small town in central Illinois. She went to high school with about 500 people – just over 100 in her graduating class – and everyone knew each other… and each other’s business. For college, she went to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but while she was among more than 30,000 undergraduates, it still felt like a small community. Brittney did a lot of community service and was heavily involved with her sorority, Delta Delta Delta. She was their philanthropy chair and she started her own Greek community service organization. She majored in Agricultural and Consumer Economics with a concentration in Financial Planning. Brittney says she learned useful information for life about mortgages, insurance, estate taxes, how to do her own taxes, and more.

After graduating in May 2009, Brittney moved to Chicago to work for an insurance technology company named Norvax. She works to sell their technology, such as a quote engine for health insurance, to insurance carriers. About 100 people work at Norvax and she found this position through the U of I alumni network, Always Illinois.

Brittney likes Chicago and plans to stay here for a while. “At home you have to drive to do things,” she says, “but in Chicago, there’s always something to do.” She’s far enough away from her hometown to grow up on her own, but still close enough to go home when she wants or needs to.

At Cabrini Connections, Brittney works with 7th grader Amari Roby. It is the first year in the program for each of them and they meet on Thursday nights. In the beginning, to get to know her mentee, Brittney says she “tried to be more like a friend… on her level… joking around with her.” By just being there, being someone to talk to, and keeping her confidence, Brittney believes she gained her trust and they now have a great working relationship. They communicate frequently via phone and e-mail and have met off-site several times. Most recently they went to Harold Washington Library Center to do research for the history fair. They also had time for shopping on State Street and coffee at Starbucks. “She was really excited to get a Frappuccino,” says Brittany, “… something that I spend $4 on every day. … It really puts things into perspective.”

Thanks for sharing with us, Brittney. We are happy to have you in the program and we look forward to continued success from you and Amari.

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