The Park Ridge Newcomers Club (PRNC) is a social organization that annually supports a local family in need of help and support. We are pleased to announce that the 2020 recipients are two sisters, Olivia (age 20, graduate of Maine South High School) and Sara (age 15, MSHS student and Hawkette) and following is the beautiful story of their courage and strength.
Olivia and Sara’s mother, Ewa, was diagnosed with cancer at the end of November 2016 after previously being misdiagnosed with a stomach ulcer and a case of pneumonia. Ewa died two months later. As an immigrant who left her family and friends behind in Poland to create a better life, she had no one in the United States to care for the girls in her absence.
Sara and Olivia’s father, whom had been absent for most of their lives, reappeared briefly after Ewa’s death and created an unsafe situation for them. Their father is now permanently out of their lives. From the time their mother was diagnosed, various members of the community stepped up to help Olivia and Sara. In a time of uncertainty, a place to stay, dinner on the table and an extra set of hands was exactly the support Olivia and Sara needed.
Olivia, the older of the two girls, saw the support that Sara received from her dance team, coaches, classmates, teachers and community. Sara continued to dance at Studio 22 and is currently a Varsity Hawkette at Maine South High School. Keeping Sara in the community that supported her became extremely important to Olivia.
Incredibly, at age 18, Olivia had saved $10,000, purchased private health insurance for herself and Sara (at the cost of one-third of her monthly income), was working full-time as an office manager in a family-owned business, going to school full-time, maintaining an “A” average and was ready to make the transition from sister to parent. Olivia made it clear she was serious about raising her sister by saving every penny. A fellow Studio 22 family stepped up to help make the girls' dream become a reality.
Enter the Godparents. Since the passing of Ewa, the network of dance families and friends in the community helped cover the girls’ basic needs. In response to Olivia’s request to shift from sister to parent, dance families helped recruit other community members to secure housing and cover additional expenses. What is now affectionately referred to as “Sara and Olivia’s Fairy Godparent Club” began to take shape. Providing everything from dental care to legal help to food, “Sara and Olivia’s Fairy Godparent Club” has made a tremendous impact to the lives of Sara and Olivia.
While the Fairy Godparent Club is a small and determined group, their magic wands only hold so much power and will not last forever. They need more Godparents in the community to help keep the sisters together. It is the intention and prayer of the Fairy Godparent Club that the PRNC community continue to create the magic these girls need.
All GoFundMe proceeds will be held by the Park Ridge Newcomers Club and distributed to a trust to be created for Olivia and Sara. The trust will be administered by a corporate trustee and the trust monies will be used to address expenses for housing, education and the girls’ basic needs. With your help, Sara and Olivia will one day be in a position to continue the tradition of “paying it forward” and impact even more people in need.
- P&M Lech
- Laura Nishi
- Fran Daugherty
Organizer and beneficiary
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