Nearly 20 students from Oakton Community College’s Habitat for Humanity chapter spent a good part of the recent Labor Day weekend in Evanston with paint brushes and rollers in hand to touch up the public spaces at Curt’s Café, 2922 Central St.

Oakton alumna Susan Trieschmann runs the café, which is well-known in North Evanston for hiring at-risk youth to teach them work skills designed to pay off in helping them land steady jobs in the workforce.

She was approached by Oakton Habitat Advisor Marvin Bornschlegl, who heard she was looking for painters to help spruce up the place, particularly the dining room, customer service area, and restrooms.

 “I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to strengthen ties in Oakton’s district, which includes Evanston,” says Bornschlegl. “ Also, it helps build relationships between college students by working together.”

“Marvin was a life saver for all of us at Curt’s Café,” Trieschmann said. “He took the ball and ran with it by getting the paint, the tape, and ladders. Marvin was able to motivate young people to paint over a holiday weekend for people they may never have met. It was truly amazing to watch Marvin inspire the members of his young crew.”

The students were able to complete the project in two days. The first day involved prep work, including priming, spreading drop cloths, and masking the rooms with painting tape. Volunteers worked more than 12 hours to finish the painting the following day.

In addition to the college’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, Oakton offers more than 40 clubs and organizations that provide an array of opportunities for students to stay active and engaged in the community.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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