CHICAGO, Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is proud to announce its 2013 Volunteer of the Year, Rebecca Weinshenker. Rebecca is an associate actuary who has been with BCBSIL for more than six years and since then has logged 462 volunteer hours helping others change their lives for the better.
Until four years ago, Rebecca had not done much volunteering. But she began helping others as a distraction from studying for actuarial exams. Little did she know that so-called distraction would lead to a true passion for community involvement…and a family-like mentor relationship with one special teenager.
Rebecca can be found regularly at the Inspiration Café, a restaurant on the north side of Chicago that serves free, restaurant-quality meals to the homeless. Whether cooking in the kitchen or helping wait tables, Rebecca appreciates the opportunity to get close to the people she is helping, "I think there is a certain power in feeling connected to your community. You feel more accountable, appreciative, and responsible of it and who is included in it. And you want others to feel appreciative and responsible for you, too."
Rebecca is also involved with the BCBSIL Celebration of Caring Committee, an employee-led group that partners with the United Way on volunteer opportunities for employees.
"Being an active, involved member of your community is important – no matter what capacity, whether you vote or attend community meetings or volunteer your time interacting with people or help build a playground or give money so that others can run their organizations more effectively – it all matters, " says Rebecca. "We make up the community in which we live, so we are the ones that can effect positive change. "
One way Rebecca has brought about positive change is by mentoring a 15 year old girl. First paired up through a mentorship program four years ago – Rebecca and her mentee have done everything from crafting, cooking, going to sporting events and even volunteering together at Inspiration Café and an animal shelter, "She has really become like a little sister to me and after all this time it's hard to imagine how my life would be without her in it."
"Rebecca is a perfect example of how addictive volunteering can become," says Karen Atwood, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. "Here at Blue Cross and Blue Shield we are proud to offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities that can fit into almost anyone's schedule – and as a company we strive to create a culture where we truly do care for our communities."
About Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL)
With 7.6 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Begun in 1936 in Chicago, BCBSIL remains member owned rather than publicly traded, and is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities, fostering greater access to care, and working to lower the overall cost of care while improving the health care quality and patient outcomes.
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois