Volunteers rush in to take up teen suicide prevention cause
I wrote about Moloney and Jonathan, and about the importance of suicide prevention at a time when it's the second leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 34.
I floated the idea that someone in Naperville should hold an event to fill the void left by Moloney's fundraiser. And I'm happy to report that people rushed in.
On Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen at 1817 Wehrli Road, people from Naperville and beyond will gather to raise money for Hope for the Day, a Chicago-based suicide prevention program Moloney has donated to in the past. They will gather to listen to a speaker from the program deliver a message about the scope of the problem and the things that can be done to help. And they'll gather to honor Moloney, who has long been a fixture in this Naperville community, with her Dairy Queen acting as a hub around several neighborhoods.
WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling will be there. The mayor of Naperville is coming, along with a singing group and local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and children from the four nearby elementary schools.
"I knew there was a connection with me and the community, I could feel that for all the years," Moloney said. "But now this -- I really feel it. I don't know how else to describe it. It just warms my heart."
Three Naperville residents -- Judy Koziol, Debbie DelGrosso and Dee Dee Porter -- took it upon themselves to launch the event, but they said it quickly became a community effort.
"Whenever we talk to people, they're like, 'What can we do?'" Koziol told me. "If you tell someone about it, they say, 'Oh yes, I love Karen too.'"
So there are people volunteering to distribute flyers for the Dilly Bar Party, and people helping with logistics and Little League coaches spreading the word. There are people lining up the ice cream, hot chocolate and cookies that will be served.
"There are so many people who feel kind of vested or part of it," Koziol said. "The idea is that Karen feels the support from all these people and organizations that she has supported over the years."