Oak Forest teen just wants to help others
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent July 20, 2012 2:00PM
Allison Tregoning, a senior-to-be at Oak Forest High School, has a passion for volunteering. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 24, 2012 6:00AM
“Making someone’s life better keeps me going.”
So says Allison Tregoning, a senior-to-be at Oak Forest High School.
She likes to volunteer, not with a goal of racking up community service hours or because it looks good on a college application, but simply because she likes helping people — always has.
Tregoning, who ranks in the top 10 of her class, also is involved at school with the tutor program, Scholastic Bowl, National Honor Society, ecology club, mathletes, soccer and swimming.
Despite the long list of activities, it’s the numerous hours she spends volunteering at church that provides excitement for her. She works with such nonprofits as Relay for Life and South Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), an interfaith program providing shelter and supportive services to homeless persons in the Southland. Churches take turns being used as homeless shelters.
Tregoning, 17, stays particularly busy at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Oak Forest.
“We are a pretty small church, so we don’t have a formalized youth group, but we do a lot of volunteer-based helping at the church,” she said. “I really like helping people, which is why I help so much at church, doing everything from cutting grass to cleaning up after a craft fair.
“I have this motive to please people, and I don’t like to disappoint anyone.”
She particularly enjoys working with PADS. Once a week, Tregoning helps out at nearby Redeemer Lutheran Church, also in Oak Forest. There, a food team makes a meal and serves the guests who get to stay the night there and enjoy a warm breakfast the next morning.
“I just really like helping people and meeting new people,” Tregoning said. “I also enjoy the people that I work with. It means something, knowing that you are making a difference in your community.”
Volunteering is something Tregoning has known her entire life. Her parents, Daniel and Patti Tregoning, of Oak Forest, make a habit of volunteering and instilled in their daughter the need to give back.
“My family has grown up in that church for 17 years,” Tregoning said. “My dad and mom would always be there helping with this and that and I would tag along and help whenever I could. It sounds cheesy, but I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I volunteer. It is something that I just enjoy doing.”
In addition to her parents, many other volunteers at the church are her mentors.
“I’ve spent multiple hours working at the church, and these people have taught me how to drive a tractor, install drywall, paint walls and put in carpet for some of the PADS apartments we’ve prepared for families to move into,” she said. “They’ve taught me a lot of life lessons.
“My parents have helped me, too. They just raised me really well and they’ve always taught me to do the right thing, be honest and put others before yourself.”
Next year, Tregoning would like to attend college and pursue a degree in zoology or biology.
“My mom is a veterinary technician, so she’s brought me to her work a lot,” she said. “We have a lot of pets, so I grew up around animals and I want to help them.”