Kathy Deveny, Laura Lederer Teach Next Generation to Give Back

When Kathy Deveny saw a lightly clothed family in a Starbucks in the dead of winter, she immediately remarked to her kids: “I bet that family would really like some of your sweatshirts and sweaters that you don’t wear anymore.”

She talked to the mother, got their address and took her kids home to start packing boxes and writing notes.

It’s a perfect example of how the little things count for the Glencoe resident and former special education teacher.

She’s always on the lookout for direct, simple ways to give back and be a role model for her three children. Laura Lederer, another Glencoe mom who works full-time for a top corporate technology company, shares Deveny’s passion for giving back, and the two have channeled their values into leading their daughters’ Brownie troop.

“I’m not curing cancer,” Deveny, 49, says. “I don’t have 12 orphan babies living with me. I just hope that my kids will remember that their mom was a giving person and take that to their children.”

Lederer and Deveny have organized numerous service activities for the troop in the past 2 years. The girls have sent care packages to soldiers in Iraq, grocery shopped for needy families around Thanksgiving, written thank you cards to the fire and other local public service departments and visited seniors at Halloween.

“It’s important to instill this sense that there are others that have needs,” says Lederer, 43, who volunteers her time as much as possible with numerous charitable organizations while raising two kids and keeping her full-time job, which requires her to travel 6 days out of every month.

And while Deveny might not have 12 orphan babies living with her, she and her family have undertaken more than their fair share of service projects. For one, they sponsor a little boy named Edward of the Watoto Children’s Choir from Campala, Uganda. Through a partnership with Glencoe Union Church, where Deveny is in charge of congregational ministries, Edward traveled to the North Shore and stayed with the Devenys for 4 days this year.

Deveny’s big upcoming project for 2010 is going to Africa on a mission trip with Glencoe Union. She’s also been a room parent for 2 years and is chairing the 2010 PTO Housewalk at her children’s school.

“It’s easy for kids these days to just think about themselves,” Lederer says. “[It’s important to] instill some of those important lessons into your girls so that you have a next generation of young women that continue the good leadership.”