CHICAGO — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) selected Chicagoan Yaqoota Aziz as 2021 Volunteer of the Year in recognition of her many hours of educational support for young people.
Aziz logged more than 170 hours in 2021 as part of the company’s Blue Corps of volunteers. Much of her volunteerism is through Tutoring Chicago and the Girls Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. She also is an associate board member for both organizations.
“Yaqoota is a standout for her incredible dedication to providing opportunities to help young people grow and develop,” said Steve Hamman, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “She not only gives of herself, she inspires and creates opportunities for other employees to volunteer.”
Aziz helped found a volunteerism and engagement committee for her team and led a “Read Aloud” event where employees created videos of themselves reading books for children in pediatric hospitals and children’s centers. She also serves as membership director for Women Improving the Strength of the Enterprise, an employee business resource group.
As part of her Volunteer of the Year honor, Aziz is gifting $1,000 to Tutoring Chicago, which provides free 1:1 tutoring to more than 700 students.
“Education is really important to me and a fundamental cause of the discrepancies within the social determinants of health,” said Yaqoota Aziz, BCBSIL’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year. “An accessible avenue to help people directly is by providing educational opportunities so they can empower themselves. I can see a direct tangible impact to those I serve that I wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.”
“Tutoring Chicago is proud to have Yaqoota as one of our volunteers,” said Alex Wu, Technology Director. “She has dedicated herself to Tutoring Chicago's mission by being there for her students each and every week for more than three years. Yaqoota is the definition of what our tutors are by being a role model for each student that she has worked with. She connects with her students' parents, reaches out to their teachers to follow up on any homework or subject struggles, and has been a strong part of the associate board at Tutoring Chicago.”
Originally from Downers Grove, Aziz now lives in Chicago’s New East Side neighborhood. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health and received a Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan in 2015, where she also serves as a mentor through the Michigan Alumni Association.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is dedicated to innovation and exploring, nurturing and activating future possibilities to make the health care system work better for our members and our communities. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.