For the Carlsson family, focusing on leaving a legacy of caring through giving back to Clarke and a wide range of social organizations that serve the greater community and support Catholic tradition has become a way of life. It’s a life that Rose Marie Carlsson ’52; her daughters Elizabeth Carlsson ’82, Tina Carlsson LeCocq ’90, Cindy Carlsson Lucas ’90; and son-in-law Allen Lucas ’87, have embraced forever.
In the mid-1980s, the Carlssons were one of eight families that started a weekly soup kitchen near Crete, Ill., that now routinely feeds over 100 people per meal and includes a food pantry that regularly supplies about 70 families. In fact, the two programs have grown to the point that a grant writer has been recruited to expand funding efforts to meet the ever-growing need.
Carlsson family stories of volunteerism and providing support are as numerous and varied as each individual family member – and it’s not just the Clarke grads who roll up their sleeves and dig in. The entire extended family is equally involved. An eight-year stint of weekly volunteerism at a local homeless shelter, 19 years of teaching CCD classes, more hours than can be counted helping out at the children’s and grandchildren’s parochial schools, and gifts of tools and lessons in how to use them are just a few of the countless ways that the Carlssons apply their spiritual values andamplify their personal impact on the world around them.
“I get back more than I give,” said Elizabeth about her involvement in the family legacy of caring. “It’s just a part of you,” said Tina. “It’s how we were raised and it was what we were all taught through our Christian educations.” Mother Rose Marie agrees, “much of our family tradition is a result of our own parents believing in the importance of helping those in need. Over the years we chose educational institutions to attend and support that also reflect those philosophies.”