We all know people we think others would be interested in hearing about. It’s not gossip, it’s just that there are people you should know about, and if you happened to be watching the WGN-TV news on Oct. 11 you may have seen a segment touching on such a person from Riverside.
The segment, titled “Chicago’s Very Own,” last week chose to profile Helen Jablonski. Sound familiar? Helen is the 96-years-young director emeritus/founder of PeopleCare, which is headquartered in Riverside.
Jablonski founded the organization in 1990. While she is not at her post every day, she still keeps her hands in it through her staff. A few health problems have put some limitations on her activities, but she still has the desire to help and that is what keeps her going.
Located at St. Paul’s Parish at 60 Akenside Road in Riverside, PeopleCare was founded to serve the needs of people in the area who otherwise might be homebound or have problems getting to appointments.
Jablonski recognized people’s needs and felt she could help by letting others know people care. She enlisted help from family and friends, whose tasks included maintaining an office, securing volunteers, getting drivers, serving on the PeopleCare board and raising funds.
As with any organization such as People Care, there is always a need for more hands and more drivers and volunteers who are willing to give maybe an hour or two a month to serve in some capacity. There is no pay, but the rewards are great.
I have been fortunate to be in Helen Jablonski’s company a few times and have always enjoyed the twinkle in her eye and the enjoyment she receives in being with others, whether it is with PeopleCare or family and friends.
She will be glad to tell you stories about her family, especially when I asked her about her son, Bruce, who leads PeopleCare. She tells stories as only a mother can. It is understandable why WGN put the spotlight on Helen. She is not just Chicago’s very own, she belongs to many through the work she started and has helped continue.
To learn more about PeopleCare or how you can volunteer call 708-442-1223. Helen Jablonski makes you realize that you are never too young or too old to help others in some way.