Editor’s note: Monday began the first of five mini-portraits of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents who are being recognized for their extraordinary volunteer efforts in Lake County. They will be honored at the Lake County Cares I CARE Award Ceremony on April 21 at the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest. This is the sixth year for the ICare Awards, formerly the Women of Service & Style awards. The honor coincides with National Volunteer Week, April 15-21.
- Monday’s profile: Kraig Moreland, Lake Bluff
- Tuesday's profile: Linda Benge
- Today's profile: Betty Frank-Bailey
When Betty Frank-Bailey moved to Lake Forest 12 years ago, she experienced a dramatic change in lifestyle, from full-time corporate executive, often traveling internationally, to full-time, stay-at-home mom with five children in tow.
“Residents have a very important responsibility to make a difference in communities we live in, not just to wish it but take responsibility in what they are concerned about,” Frank-Bailey said.
Frank-Bailey began the initiative with her own family.
“I had a child in preschool, grade school, middle school, high school and a college student when I moved here,” Frank-Bailey said. “I continually sought out parent education programs to improve effective parenting,”
At the same time, “I wanted to know the community better and felt like I had lots of skills that could be helpful,” she said.
Frank-Bailey quickly became involved as a parent volunteer in the Association of Parents and Teachers at her children’s schools, according to Stephanie Cook, who was program coordinator for the Speak Up! Prevention Coalition and LEAD's development director.
Frank-Bailey's involvement led her to become an active volunteer for LEAD, and then ultimately a LEAD board member, where she organized new parent education programs.
Before long, she became LEAD’s manager of special events and after a year became the executive director of LEAD and Speak Up! Prevention Coalition. “Betty has a passion and commitment to the youth in our community,” said Cook, a LEAD volunteer.
LEAD's mission is to promote strong families so youth will make healthy choices in regard to drinking, drugs and other risky behavior. The mission of Speak Up is to reduce significantly the level of underage drinking among local youth.
“I knew becoming involved is how community change takes place. If no one does it, you can sit around, but it is up to the individual to step up and respond,” said Frank-Bailey.
The result is a community effort that ties a broad spectrum of organizations together, including churches, schools, police departments, parent groups, local government, libraries and CROYA.
"We have the ability to work together to get things done,” said Frank-Bailey. "We trust each other and have a vision how to work together; it is a thing I feel greatest about.”
Frank-Bailey will retire from her executive director position this year.
Now, “my five girls, all different, are good at understanding different ways they can volunteer and make a difference,” she said.