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Mom finds fulfillment in volunteering

Suzanne Spry would volunteer at her children’s school when they were in elementary school, but now that Jenna, 11, and Derek, 14, are in middle school, she said, there are fewer opportunities for her to do so.

Instead, the 46-year-old has focused her philanthropic efforts elsewhere, including Geneva-based Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice; Lazarus House, a homeless shelter in St. Charles; and the Mothers Club of Geneva, for which she has served as treasurer and will be president-elect next year, she said.

“I just enjoy it,” Spry said of her volunteerism.

On Sunday, Spry expects to do something special with her children – such as going out to dinner – for Mother’s Day. Although Mother’s Day observances began in 1908 in Grafton, W.Va., and Philadelphia, Congress didn’t designate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day until 1914, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Spry, along with three friends, walks in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in Washington, D.C., in the memory of her good friend Laura Powers, a mother who died from breast cancer when her daughters were 3 and 5, she said.

“As a mom, I can’t imagine not being there for your kids,” Spry said.

Before her kids were born, Spry worked as a graphic designer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national headquarters in Atlanta, she said. She loved her job, she said, but was blessed to be able to stay at home with her children.

“Raising them has gone by really fast,” Spry said, adding she misses taking them to the grocery store when they were little.

But as Derek and Jenna have gotten older, it has become easier for her to get involved in volunteering opportunities, which include taking leftover food from Red Lobster in Geneva to Lazarus House in St. Charles, she said.

It was through her son’s travel soccer club that Spry joined the Mothers Club of Geneva when the family moved from Milwaukee to a subdivision near Geneva about three and a half years ago, she said, explaining one of the mothers invited her to join.

Spry and other mothers club members helped refurbish a room at Mutual Ground, an Aurora-based organization that provides services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Tapping at pictures on her smartphone, Spry pointed out how the mother’s club gave the outdated space a more modern look.

“It came together in two days,” Spry said.

More recently, Spry helped plan the Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice’s garden party fundraiser held Friday at the Q Center in St. Charles.

Spry said she’s lucky her husband, Richard, is patient and doesn’t expect home-cooked meals, explaining one day the signs she had been working on for the garden party cluttered the counter instead of dinner.

“I find that more fulfilling than cooking,” Spry said.

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