Helping Children Build a Brighter Future

For most of her life, Sue Elias Stutrud has been seeking ways to help others. As a child growing up outside of Chicago, she and her friends would regularly bypass the carefree adventures of summertime in favor of cleaning neighbor’s houses for nothing but popsicles.

Sue continues to explore her passion for service by volunteering with Neighborhood House’s Skills for School preschool program, helping children from non-English speaking homes learn the language and classroom skills they need for success in Kindergarten. Early on, Sue discovered that she gravitated towards helping children who were shy or had special needs:

“When I’m in the classroom, I love finding that one kid. The child who may be struggling with low self-esteem, or having a difficult day, and helping them to discover something new and extraordinary. I really enjoy building tall Lego towers with a child, lifting them up to add blocks, and watching the look of accomplishment on their faces.”

As a new school year begins, the first days of class are always filled with excitement: new faces, tearful goodbyes to parents, and many moments of discovery. But Sue looks forward to helping her students develop the skills to succeed in the classroom, and build self-esteem to overcome whatever challenges they face outside of it.

By Anders Ringdahl-Mayand