Sending your child off to school for the first time can be a bit scary for parents and children alike. You hope and pray that in the course of their grade school education they learn the fundamentals, pick up skills that will help them in life and that they become thoughtful individuals who care about what’s going on in the world – not just in their backyards.
For over 25 years, Dr. Sandy Renehan, a Credit Union Member since 1995, provided parents in the Joliet Diocese the comfort of knowing their children were in good hands; while at the same time inspiring thousands of students to become well-rounded and gracious students that give back, in DuPage County and abroad.
It’s for these very reasons and so many others that Marketing Associate Tamara McQueen nominated Dr. Renehan to be an Inspiring Member. “Upon hearing about this yearlong initiative,” McQueen said, “she (Renehan) immediately came to mind for her dedication to providing local families with the highest caliber of education, a calm guiding spirit and by offering her students unique opportunities to learn about and help kids outside of DuPage County.”
As part of our yearlong 60th Anniversary celebration, each quarter DuPage Credit Union Team Members submit the names of Members who have inspired and energized them. President Diane Shelton then selects the name of one Member whose dedication, advocacy or warm personality embodies the Credit Union’s common spirit.
McQueen added, whether it was teaching the children about free trade through groups like Bosh Bosh, providing opportunities to learn about different cultures through renowned authors and visiting missionaries, or by teaching a culture of volunteerism, under Renehan’s guidance the staff at St. Isidore’s in Bloomingdale and All Saints Catholic Academy in Naperville, “have instilled lessons in more than just reading, writing and arithmetic.”
“On Martin Luther King Jr. Day we ask our families to go out and do service,” Renehan said, “It’s a day of service for our students, opposed to just a day off…We have a relationship with an orphanage in Mexico. I swear there is a whole school of children in Mexico that look just like the All Saints’ kids. When the old uniforms don’t sell at the (annual) Used Uniform Sale, we send them down there.” Families also contribute new clothing and monetary donations to Hogar del Pobre in Mexico
According to Renehan, the eighth-grade legacy gifts have been to organizations in foreign countries such as Ghana and Libya. “They’re trying to impact the world, and I am proud of them for that.”
All one needs to do is turn on an electronic device or pick up a newspaper to view the strife, chaos and hate that our children are bombarded with daily. And it is why Renehan, who recently retired after 40-plus years in education, believes that peace advocacy plays an important role in the development of good citizens.
“I feel that (teaching peace) is the hope for the world,” she said. “We have to be a cooperative world and be at peace with each other. This is a moment in time where we are in great conflict with one another and we just need to pray for softer hearts and peaceful people.”
Despite her recent retirement from All Saints, she continues to instruct new teachers in the Joliet Diocese, is an Adjunct Professor at Benedictine University and teaches religious education to second-graders at her parish, St. Margaret Mary.
“I am probably the most contented retired person you’ve ever met,” she said with a broad smile. “I stay busy….I’ve gone back to playing bridge, which I haven’t played since college.”