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Elk Grove Village Community Character

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In areas with fairly small populations, say under 50,000 residents, people can too often write off the town as a dead one, where the most exciting thing in town must be a trip to the grocery store. For a number of places, that may be the case. For Elk Grove, though, whose population triples during the workweek thanks to its industrial park, settling for just another night of movies at home will never suffice.

Housing over 30,000 in residents, Elk Grove may immediately not astonish people with its populace. Interaction with those residents, though, provides an experience of well-cultured and considerate people, sensibilities cultivated as early as childhood. In fact, the Community Character Coalition (CCC) of Elk Grove works to ensure that it stays that way.

The CCC developed with the national Character Counts initiative in mind. Holding programs for young and old alike, the CCC have been involved with Ethics in the Workplace and Society, Make a Difference Day and celebrations for Earth Day, among other community-wide events. A major boon to the programs' efficacy comes from its varied supporters throughout the community, from elementary and high schools to churches to senior citizen programs. Elk Grove benefits immensely from citizens willing to become highly involved in making the area a more attractive place to live.

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One exemplary citizen in particular illustrates the wide range of enriching activities that Elk Grove has to offer its residents. Darlene Greaves, with husband, Hal, has lived in Elk Grove for a solid 50 years, amazing for a town that only two years ago celebrated its 50th anniversary. For 25 of those 50-plus years, Elk Grove and Darlene have benefited from the Artist Association of Elk Grove (AAEG). Each month, the AAEG meets as a group and has a presentation, usually from an artist or artisan of some kind and generally changing up the style presented from month to month. Speaking as the Exhibits Director, Darlene said, “We owe a great debt to the library.” The library hosts a great deal of the art displays for AAEG, offering library patrons the gift of beautiful images to go alongside eloquent words. It likely comes as no surprise to find such a connection between organizations, especially considering Darlene's history with the Friends of the Library as well as AAEG.

Those two organizations, though, make up only a small portion of the means Elk Grove has established to improve upon itself. Elk Grove also boasts a senior center to provide daytime services for the elderly, the first in the area of its kind. Churches in the community like Christus Victor Lutheran Church, of which Darlene is a proud member, also work toward aiding those facing homelessness by offering a hot meal, a place to sleep and a meal to go once a week, rotating between places to ensure those without a home have a place to rest each night. During such a time of rapid change and expansion, residents of Elk Grove have endeavored to ensure that the less fortunate manage not to fall in the cracks, as well as their stories. Members of the Elk Grove Historical Society seek to especially aid with remembering those important stories, detailing the seeds of change and the prosperous fruits they have developed. Currently, the Society has taken on a focus of documenting oral histories of the area and continues to welcome contributors from all walks of life.

Elk Grove seems to be a perfect example of the old adage that good things comein small packages. Regardless of the static population's size, Elk Grove clearly has plenty of culture to offer its new residents and stories and charity from itslonger-standing residents. Some people may see a bigger city as an equally bigger opportunity, but as the people of Elk Grove like Darlene Greaves know, just asthe village's population triples during the week to make it a growing industrial center, so do the hearts and minds of its residents grow for any opportunity to grow and improve, as well.

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