Student Spotlight: Christina Finn
Major: Human Services
Christina Finn has worked as a full-time volunteer with the veteran population for a decade.
“I am married to a Vietnam Veteran Purple Heart recipient and Service Connected Amputee. We are the proud parents of a son who served bravely in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom,” she said. “I did fly to D.C. to visit our ‘Healing Heroes’ 23 times in less than 6 1/2 years to discern what their challenges and frustrations may have been.
“I do strive to carry their voices to our legislators and other support organizations, as well as the general population.”
Now she is turning her work into a profession. Finn enrolled at College of DuPage in the Human Services program, earning the Human Services Generalist associate’s degree as well as the Veterans Counseling Certificate and the Domestic/Family Violence Certificate.
“College of DuPage offered the exact type of instruction that I was seeking in a personal environment of small class sizes. The instructors are truly dedicated toward the success of each individual and to support them in achieving their individual goals and outcomes,” she said.
In 2013 and 2014, Finn received the Folds of Honor Scholarship from 5/3 Bank for her work with veterans, specifically her design and development of the “Patriotic Pillow Project.” It shares support, respect, gratitude and honor for the individual G.I.’s “service of sacrifice.” They also remember those who have been killed in action by reaching out to the Gold Star families.
“So far, we have delivered more than 20,000 all-American, hand-made ‘Patriotic Pillows’ in less than 10 years. Our funding is provided by the State of Illinois Military Order of the Purple Heart. We have a second program which is called Kenny’s Kaps. These are purple head covers that have the original Military Badge of Merit patch stitched on it. The historical badge is the predecessor to the current Purple Heart Medal and was designed by General George Washington before we were even a nation. Kenny's Kaps brings about awareness of Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI and is named in honor of Master Sgt. Kenneth Sargent, a 20-year Marine who sustained an open cranial injury during the war.”
Finn, who first attended College of DuPage during the 1970s, finished an online Veterans Counseling course at COD and is working on her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a minor in Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) at Northeastern Illinois University, where she is earning high honors. She plans to work with the military, veterans and Gold Star families as well as and female veterans in both a counseling and social work support capacity. She also will continue her studies through to a master's degree in Social Work.
“I would advise students currently enrolled in higher education to challenge themselves, to take the opportunities of education upon their lives as an investment toward their career goals,” she said. “Do not squander this valuable time and find your passion. I was a surgical technician for 32 years. It was an amazing career, and now I find myself traveling down a different path. By the time I graduate, I will be old enough to retire, but if I did I would be totally bored. Since I plan to live to be 100, I will have wonderful opportunities to continue to serve my communities.
“I would like to thank the educators at College of DuPage for their commitment to share their expertise and knowledge with the students in the Human Services program. Without positive role models to guide us, our education would be limited to what a textbook has to offer. They are truly an asset to this institution. Every student, no matter which field of study they embark upon, has the opportunity to support and mentor another fellow student, to be the best that they can be. Consider being inspirational and making a difference!”
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL
60137 (630) 942-2800
2016 College of DuPage