Neighbors in the News: Wadsworth resident sworn in as new CASA volunteer

  • Rachel Belk joins CASA Lake County to advocate for child victims of abuse and neglect.

    Rachel Belk joins CASA Lake County to advocate for child victims of abuse and neglect. Courtesy of Rachel Belk

Posted10/14/2021 4:09 PM

Wadsworth resident Rachel Belk was sworn in as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate by the Lake County Juvenile Court on Sept. 30.

In conjunction with CASA Lake County, Belk will be working to support, protect and advocate for local children who have been victims of child abuse, domestic violence and neglect.


She joins a force of nearly 300 dedicated volunteers trained by CASA Lake County to serve children whose cases are active in Lake County Juvenile Court.

"I am really looking forward to my journey as a CASA," said Belk. "I want to be a constant support for a child who is going through a stressful life change, and I want them to know that they can always rely on me to be there for them.

"I want to advocate for the children who can't advocate for themselves. I am also looking forward to being a part of this extremely knowledgeable and supportive CASA community."

• Mary Louise Blaney was promoted to head coach of the varsity boys tennis team at Saint Viator High School.

Blaney, who has been involved with the Saint Viator tennis program since 2001 as both the parent of student-athletes and a coach, has served as head coach of the junior varsity girls tennis team and as assistant varsity coach of the boys tennis team for the last three years

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In addition to coaching, she has been a competitive tennis player in Chicago, Northern Illinois and California for more than 20 years and is a member of the United States Tennis Association.

"I have loved working with the student-athletes at Saint Viator over the years, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have an even greater impact on this already impressive program," said Blaney.

Blaney is currently in the midst of the girls varsity tennis season and will take over as the head coach of the boys varsity team in the spring.

Carolyn Kambich
Carolyn Kambich - Courtesy of North Shore Montessori Schools

• Carolyn Kambich, founder of the North Shore Montessori schools in Deerfield, Glenview/Northfield and Riverwoods, was honored with the 2021 F.R. Geigle Service Award during a recent ceremony at Northern Illinois University.

The F.R. Geigle Service Award is presented annually by the Northern Illinois University Alumni Association to recognize the achievements of outstanding alumni. Recipients are selected based on outstanding professional and personal successes, as well as involvement in civic, cultural or charitable activities.


Through decades of service, both locally and internationally, Kambich has served countless parents, students and communities through her work as an educator, Montessori advocate and volunteer.

After founding the Deerfield Montessori School in 1966, she went on to establish additional schools on the North Shore and visited Uganda, Africa, 14 times to establish Montessori schools there.

Currently, she sits on the board of the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center.

Josh Puccini, financial planning specialist, Canale Financial Group
Josh Puccini, financial planning specialist, Canale Financial Group - Courtesy of Canale Financial Group

• Josh Puccini, a financial planning specialist with Canale Financial Group, Rosemont, has earned the Wealth Management Certified Professional designation from The American College of Financial Services.

Professionals holding this designation specialize in how to integrate complex wealth and investment management strategies that provide clients with a holistic approach to achieve financial security and peace of mind.

In addition to the WMCP®, Puccini holds the Retirement Income Certified Professional designation and is FINRA securities registered.

As a financial planning specialist, he partners with Canale Financial Group team members to create comprehensive financial plans, implement financial strategies, and help clients align their actions with their goals.

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