Volunteer helps launch local 211 call system
Chrissie Mena's most recent volunteer project with the Barrington Area United Way will bring a 211 call system to the area. The nonemergency line encourages Barrington residents to report an issue or seek assistance. | Photo courtesy of Chrissie Mena
Upbringing: On the North Shore
Current home: 17 years in the Barrington area, currently in Tower Lakes.
Family: Three children; youngest are at Barrington High School.
Updated: February 19, 2013 9:30AM
BARRINGTON — Chrissie Mena has volunteered with the Barrington Area United Way for the last eight years, helping allocate grants to local nonprofits ranging from the Barrington Women’s Club to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.
Most recently, Mena helped the local United Way launch a new 211 call system, a nonemergency line that Barrington residents can call to report an issue or seek assistance.
Examples, Mena said, include mental health concerns or problems, career search advice and rent assistance.
The call system is set to launch next month.
Q: Why did you pick the Barrington area?
A: There was more open space, which I was used to in Northfield before it was so developed. We have an older home with old trees here and we like that.
Q: What about Barrington makes you proud?
A: All the nonprofits. If you want to help or are willing to help, there’s always an organization that’s pleased to have you there.
Q: What is your favorite community event?
A: I think the 4th of July. It’s a lot of hard work and organization going into it. I’ve always been impressed with that.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant or entertainment venue in town?
A: I think McGonigal’s was a real bonus because they took an old building and made it a place people love to go. I really like Grassroots, too. He has men’s and women’s clothing and a lot of really cool, one-of-a-kind stuff.
Q: If you were mayor for the day, what would you do?
A: I’m not political. That’s a job I wouldn’t want to have.
Q: What has changed in Barrington since you moved here?
A: The schools have really evolved quite a bit. The schools have done a good job of being aware of what’s going on in education and keeping up.
Q: What inspired you to volunteer with the Barrington Area United Way?
A: The breadth of nonprofits they were involved with. I wanted to see how I could help. The organization is 100 percent local. I raised my children here and we’re invested in the community.
Q: What are your future volunteering goals?
A: Based on the ages of my children, my youngest are twins and they are freshmen in high school, I like the fact that I can jump on committees and do various projects. I like how flexible they are.
Q: What is your proudest moment or greatest achievement?
A: Probably when 211 is launched successfully. People who need certain services won’t get the runaround they’re used to previously. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll be very happy when that happens.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I read a ton of historical fiction.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: This year, it was definitely “Les Miserables.”
Q: What’s on your iPod?
A: I listen to a lot of newer stuff with my kids, but I love Jack Johnson.
Q: What’s your favorite vacation destination?
A: We go where my husband’s parents or my parents are, so we go to either Miami or Tucson.