ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Eyewitness News’ series of profiling “Remarkable Women” in the stateline continued Wednesday with a look at one woman who was dedicated her life to helping others.

Sue Kanthak has spent her adult life meeting the needs of those who are less fortunate. Her focus for the past 15 years with Jeremiah Development has been on the residents of Rockford’s Coronado-Haskell neighborhood.

Her desire to give back took shape when she was just a teenager. Kanthak’s days are now filled with meeting the needs of pretty much everyone she sees.

Her compassion formed at an early age when she learned that she was expecting a child at the age of 16.

“I had a lot of support in school in the 70’s, when pregnant girls didn’t stay in school,” Kanthak said. “I had a school that was very supportive and I had a family that was there, and their whole goal was to help me get through college.”

Kanthak went on to work with MELD, a non-profit designed to help young families in need. She also helped the school district start their “Homeless Program,” helping students meet the needs that many take for granted.

“If they need tickets to prom, or if the parents, sometimes they would need help buying school pictures because you can’t afford school pictures if you don’t have housing, and just the little things that families get,” she said.

Kanthak reached out to the Community Action Agency when residents need their neighborhood brightened up, literally, purchasing over 125 solar motion detected lights.

“At one point, the city was removing streetlights and the neighborhood was affected by that, so the neighbors approached us because it was dark at night,” Kanthak said.

She also worked to make a set of computers available, in part to help those looking for a job.

“People have come in and looked for jobs, and they have been able to apply for jobs online and they have been able to apply for SNAP benefits,” Kanthak said.

Kanthak cites a piece of advice her mother gave her years ago.

“‘Always leave the world a little bit better, whatever corner you’re in,’ and she would tell me, ‘if you go visit people, tidy up a bit and make it a little nicer when you left,'” she said.

Kanthak recently stepped back from day-today operations at Jeremiah Development, but she will assist them in securing grants and donations.

She credits her husband, kids and grandkids for being her rock, and said that she will never stop looking out for the neighborhood she loves.