Above / In addition to 21, 41 and 62-mile routes, Naperville Rotary Ride, slated this year for Aug. 13, 2017, is a time for kids to ride the “family loop” while they learn about service to the community and the world. (PN File Photo) The Education Center will honor Tom Carroll, Thomas and Kathleen O’Donnell and local Rotary clubs at its annual Kids’ Best Friend Benefit on Oct. 20.

 UPDATE, Oct. 25, 2017 / The Education Center awarded its annual Kids Best Friend Awards with family and friends.
Above / In the name of “Service above Self, Naperville’s Rotary clubs have unique goals, projects, and fundraisers to make a difference in the lives of others. During festivities on Oct. 20, members representing three Rotary Clubs of Naperville with a combined membership of approximately 225 individuals, accepted The Education Center’s Making a Difference Award. (Photo courtesy Jini Clare)
Above / With cheers and applause, children and grandchildren of Kathleen and Tom O’Donnell attended the Kids Best Friend Benefit. Kathleen and Tom were honored with the George & Pat Pradel Humanitarian Award. (Scroll down for more previously posted information about the award.)

Original Post, July 10, 2017 / The Education Center is proud to announce that it will honor Naperville’s Rotary clubs and three outstanding community leaders at its annual Kids’ Best Friend Benefit and Awards Dinner in October. According to Dr. Michael Litow, founder and executive director of The Education Center, “The organizations and individuals have had a major impact on children and families throughout the years. We are excited to be able to highlight them and some of the work they have done to make this world a better place for kids.”

Kids’ Best Friend Award

Tom Carroll

Tom Carroll is this year’s recipient of the Kids’ Best Friend Award. Formerly executive vice president and chief administrative officer of RR Donnelley.  Recently retired, Carroll has dedicated his adult life to helping kids, families, and communities through his work and volunteerism.

In his early career as a psychologist, he worked at a nonprofit, The Baby Fold, in Normal, IL. The organization’s mission, to “embody Christian principles to help families and children develop the hope, courage, and love they need to become whole and healthy” and “to never give up on a child” became part of his lifelong philosophy.
The principles that shaped Carroll in those early years have guided him throughout his corporate career.  As an executive at RR Donnelley, he embraced the company’s mission of making a positive difference in the communities in which employees work and live, drawing on its tradition of supporting youth, education, inclusion, and diversity.
He has served on many not-for-profit boards. With each organization, he has embraced the important role they have impacting children, young adults, and families.

Making a Difference Award

Naperville Rotary clubs find their way to host and support many community projects and events such as the Little Friends Parade of Lights in downtown Naperville. (PN File Photo)

Long admired for their support of community and international causes, the three Rotary clubs of Naperville are, together, being recognized with the Education Center’s Making a Difference Award. The three clubs are: the Rotary Club of Naperville, the Rotary Club of Naperville/Sunrise, and the Rotary Club of Naperville/Downtown. The clubs are all members of Rotary International, one of the world’s first humanitarian organizations.

While unified by the mission “Service above Self” and numerous international goals, such as the eradication of polio worldwide, each of Naperville’s Rotary clubs has unique goals, projects, and fundraisers to make a difference in the lives of others.

George and Pat Pradel Humanitarian Award 

Kathleen and Tom O’Donnell

This year’s George and Pat Pradel Humanitarian Award is being given to Thomas and Kathleen O’Donnell. The impact of their lifelong efforts reaches deep within Naperville and beyond the ocean to foreign shores.

The children of Irish immigrants who came to America with little formal education, Tom and Kathleen were the first man and woman in their families to attend college. Armed with college educations, a strong work ethic, a country that valued achievement, and a strong devotion to God and family, this couple raised six children, volunteered in the community, found unimagined success in business, and used their personal blessings to help others. 

The O’Donnell’s financial donations provided seed money for the founding of the Naperville Education Association and the Naperville Soccer Association. With a focus on education and Catholic Charities, they have quietly supported numerous schools, St. Patrick’s Residence, Catholic Charities, and many other organizations. They are also major supporters of Notre Dame. 

Litow, who has dedicated his professional life to helping young people find success in school as well as in life, honors community members and organizations each year at the annual Kids’ Best Friend Benefit. 

The 2017 Kids’ Best Friend Benefit will be held on Friday, October 20, in the Hilton Lisle/Naperville Grand Ballroom, 3003 Corporate West Drive, in Lisle.

For more information, call (630) 420-7807. 

Submitted by Clare Communications for The Education Center.

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