Each year during the holiday season, Illinois REALTORS® features the work members do in their communities, and the first story of 2019 spotlights 13 volunteers from the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Young Professionals Network who gathered at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago to prepare meals for families staying there. They also donated $600 to the nonprofit organization.

“We did it to show our community spirit, encourage our YPN volunteers to bond with each other and to inspire them to make an impact in 2020,” said CAR YPN Chair Jordan Pyle of Keller Williams Chicago-Lincoln Park.

“Ronald McDonald House was a wonderful experience,” said CAR YPN Vice Chair Julia Lindquist of @properties in Chicago. “Not only was it for a great cause but it also provided some amazing agent-to-agent interactions and bonding. I felt like the work and time dedicated to preparing meals brought our YPN team closer together.

“I was both heartbroken and inspired by the parents and children who were there,” said Lindquist. “There was one father in particular who told us his son’s story and said that treatment and care would not have been possible without Ronald McDonald House. He also said it put things into perspective in his life, and that he felt closer to his faith because of what he’d been through. That story of strength . . . helped change my perspective as well.”

Meeting that family and others reminded REALTOR® Kasey Taylor of @properties about family members with a very positive McDonald House experience.

“I had a one-year-old cousin who had to be airlifted to a hospital more than 100 miles away from her home,” said Taylor, a member of the CAR YPN Advisory Board. “The Ronald McDonald House provided my family with a place to stay, meals and even laundry services for an entire month while she was in the hospital. My family did not have to stress over driving back and forth or have to spend money on hotels. Ronald McDonald House was heaven-sent during such a difficult time. I’m happy to report that my cousin had a full recovery, and she’s now in first grade.”

CAR, with about 15,500 members, is led by: President Maurice Hampton of Centered International Realty, President-elect Nykea Pippion McGriff of Dream Town Realty, Treasurer Antje Gehrken of ARE Partners, Inc. and Immediate Past President Tommy Choi of Keller Williams Chicago-Lincoln Park.

(This is the first in a series of 2019 “REALTORS® Give Back” blog posts about the community involvement of Illinois REALTORS® late in the year. If your local association or brokerage has story idea to submit, please complete an online REALTORS® Give Back Form.)