9th Annual Beacon of Hope Luncheon Tremendous Success
On behalf of the hundreds of children, adults, and families we are working with each day at Marillac St. Vincent, we wish to thank everyone who helped make the 9th Annual Beacon of Hope Luncheon a success. The numbers have finally been tallied and we exceeded our fundraising goal by $18,340! Thanks to our incredible sponsors and attendees, we raised $151,840.
About the Keynote Speakers
Keynote speakers, Latoya Winters and Steve Bogira gave stirring speeches that set the tone for this year's Luncheon. Latoya is a Youth Counselor for Hope Junior and spent most of her childhood in the programs at Marillac House. She was the subject of a groundbreaking feature article by Steve for the Chicago Reader in 2014 on the aftermath of recurring violence in the City and how victims cope with tragedy. Latoya is the current recipient of the DePaul University Vincentian Community Service Fellowship and is pursuing her Master of Social Work degree, and will be graduating in June 2018.
Steve Bogira became familiar with Marillac House in 1983, when he was researching a story on the State’s “general assistance” program. He talked at length with single men and women who came to Marillac’s food pantry about how they’d managed to survive on $144 a month, and their outlooks as that aid was about to be eliminated. Steve was impressed with how Marillac helped the poor in East Garfield Park and beyond. He became a regular contributor and has written about Marillac programs several times since.
Steve was born in the Back of the Yards. His dad was a CTA L mechanic who worked in Englewood. Throughout Steve’s long career with the Chicago Reader, he focused on the impact of poverty and segregation on residents of Chicago’s neglected neighborhoods. He is the author of the award-winning book, Courtroom 302, about the courthouse at 26th and California, and a winner of the Studs Terkel Community Media Award.
About the Honorees
The Beacon of Hope Luncheon honored Jackie Langas and Kimberly Walters who are both long-time volunteers at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services. Both have spent many hours over the last 30 years volunteering primarily with Hope Jr. Additionally, Jackie has worked with Project Hope and Senior Services, and Kimberly has served on Board and Campaign Committees.
Jackie and Kimberly’s close friendship dates back to the late 1980’s when they began volunteering with Hope Junior at the old Marillac House building on Jackson Boulevard. As they stepped back from their professional careers to start families in the early 1990’s, their commitment to Marillac St. Vincent and other volunteering endeavors never wavered.
They began volunteering in the Hope Jr. Tutoring Program on Saturday mornings, and soon thereafter were running the program, which provided the youth with homework help as well as off-site outings, exposing them to new experiences throughout the Chicagoland area. Jackie and Kimberly also created a Book Club for middle school girls, which included dinners and meaningful discussions on historic literature and poetry.
Jackie and Kimberly also helped organize the first Annual Hope Jr. Christmas Party which has become a Marillac tradition for nearly 30 years. The Hope Jr. Program has grown dramatically since its inception, as has the Christmas Party. Over 90 school age children enjoy a celebration with entertainment, luncheon, gifts from Santa and holiday cheer. Numerous volunteers come together to host and serve at the party, with the latest attendance at over 125 people.
Jackie and Kimberly continued their tight bond with the girls from the Book Club, as they moved onto high school and college. When a few of them set off for college, Jackie and Kimberly ensured they had everything they needed to successfully pursue their college careers. They continued to mentor the young women and provide moral support, helping them navigate the challenges they encountered during their collegiate years.
During an annual graduation celebration for Hope Jr. participants, Jackie and Kimberly realized they weren’t yet done. They wanted to create something to continue supporting the successes of these young ladies they had met so many years ago. Sisters Progressing Powerfully was born as a forum for these friends, now all college graduates, to continue to meet and share more positive experiences together.
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Watch the video presented at the Luncheon: