It was a fluke that my grandmother didn't become a nun.
A few weeks before she was scheduled to enter the convent, two fraternity brothers tossed a coin to see who would win a date with Kay's friend. Although Terry Hallagan lost the coin toss, he met his future wife that day.
Together, Terry and Kay Hallagan raised 12 children in Park Ridge. There, Kay got involved with St. Paul of the Cross and began volunteering through the church at Marillac House, a social service agency on Chicago's West Side. When her youngest child started school, she earned a master's degree in social work and began working full time at the Marillac House.
Kay started Hope Junior at Marillac House in the 1989 with a simple belief: if you believe in a child, he or she can overcome impossible odds. Since then, Kay's children (and now grandchildren) have organized the Hope Junior Benefit to fund the year-long program and ensure kids in Chicago's West Side have access to positive activities in order to stay off the street, graduate from high school and break the cycle of poverty. From basketball teams to music lessons and after-school tutoring, Hope Junior is a safe haven for kids in Garfield Park.
Last year, on November 19, my grandmother had a stroke and passed away 15 minutes before the Hope Junior Benefit was scheduled to start. We believe she timed her passing to make sure the event would go on and her beloved program would have the necessary funding to continue.
This year, we are marking her legacy by re-naming the event in her honor. The Kay Hallagan Hope Junior Benefit will take place on November 16 at St. John Brebeuf in Niles. The evening includes music by The Empty Pockets, dinner catered by Grazianos, and a silent auction. Our goal is to pack the place; celebrate the inspiring accomplishments of my grandmother and raise money for a wonderful cause. I invite you to join us for what is sure to be a wonderful evening.
Tickets are available at http://hopejr.eventbrite.com.