Photo of Heather Binder

Little did I know that it [Waubonsee] would open my eyes to an exciting career and spark such personal growth within me.

Most, if not all, people face obstacles at various points in life. These barriers can be related to finances or health or any number of other things. Regardless of the specifics of the challenges, it is always good to have someone to help overcome them. That is what Heather Binder does every day.

Binder is the Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Aurora, an organization that helps people with critical home repairs, home safety modifications and energy efficiency upgrades.

“I feel so lucky to be able to use my training and experiences to help people overcome barriers within their homes,” said Binder.

Binder graduated from West Aurora High School and went on to earn an Associate in Science Degree in Sign Language Interpreting from Waubonsee Community College in 1994. She fully understands the importance of a helping hand at times.

“I felt as if I was coming of age during a time that was filled with such uncertainty and cause for apathy. When I enrolled at Waubonsee, not only did I lack a clear career path, but I also had great skepticism about the future. At Waubonsee, my instructors helped transform my outlook and, in turn, my life.”

Now Binder contributes to helping others improve their circumstances and outlook on life by working with volunteers across the community. By bringing together people with needs and people willing to help, she helps them live better lives and contributes to happier, healthier and thriving communities.

Her commitment to helping others started at Waubonsee.

“I truly enjoyed volunteer opportunities at Waubonsee and as a student in the community. Through those opportunities, I met new people and learned so much about community and how I can positively impact the lives of others.”

At first, Waubonsee was a local and affordable option that allowed flexibility to explore a variety of areas of study. But it ended up being much more than that.

“Little did I know that it [Waubonsee] would open my eyes to an exciting career and spark such personal growth within me. I not only received a world-class education but the encouragement I needed to take on big challenges, to make mistakes and learn from them and to never stop learning and working toward goals.” 

One of Waubonsee’s core values is accessibility, which is to “remove barriers to learning formed by time, geography, education, culture, experience or beliefs to provide a full range of quality educational opportunities for all who can benefit.” Waubonsee’s vision statement states, “Our success is defined by the dreams we help shape, the opportunities we help design and the futures we help create.” Binder adheres to this value and lives by this vision even today.

“Without the care and support I received at Waubonsee and throughout my life, I wouldn’t be living my dream. I am convinced that together we can help make others’ dreams come true, too.”

Binder was recognized by the college’s board of trustees at its March meeting as a Student Success: Featured Alumnus.