What started as a Civics class project for two OPRF students has now raised over $1,700 for Highland Park organizations providing mental health and other services to victims of the Independence Day parade shooting. Soccer captains Charlie Maguire and Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey, passionate about raising awareness of mass shootings and lax gun laws, took the initiative to support victims of gun violence at their recent soccer game.
The Highland Park parade shooting happened July 4th in north suburban Highland Park. Seven people were killed, and 48 others were wounded.
At the Huskies game against Highland Park High School on Oct. 11, Hsieh-Bailey and Maguire invited attendees to donate to the July 4th Recovery Fund. The fund contributes to grants for non-profits addressing the needs of victims and community members affected by the parade shooting. It remains open for anyone who could not make the game but wishes to donate.
Throughout the game, the OPRF team wore armbands in honor of the victims, and then gave the armbands to the Highland Park players at the end of the game.
“The coaches, each player – you could tell they were appreciative of it. That was important for us,” said Hsieh-Bailey a senior at OPRF.
For their Service Learning Project in Civics, history teacher Dan Wolman told his students to find a cause that resonates with them or that they feel passionate about.
Maguire’s parents had planned to go to the parade that day, he said, so raising funds for victims of the shooting – knowing his parents could’ve been there too – seemed vital. He said, too, that growing up in a suburb near Chicago, he wants to raise awareness for the increasing gun violence in the city.
“I knew I wanted to do something that could help Chicago or help the suburbs around Chicago,” said Maguire, a junior at OPRF.
Hsieh-Bailey said the goal of the project is to either raise awareness or make a difference towards a social issue you truly care about. The project requires three hours of service engaging with the community, followed by a written report explaining their contribution and why they felt it was important enough to them to contribute.
In the research phase of their project, Hsieh-Bailey and Maguire came across a “crazy” statistic that said in 2020, guns were the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S. For 60 years prior, it was car accidents.
“We want to raise awareness to that, and we thought [this] was a great way to contribute,” Hsieh-Bailey said.
To initiate the fundraiser at their game, Hsieh-Bailey and Maguire reached out to Terri Olian, executive director of the Highland Park Community Foundation, and she gave them the OK to promote the July 4th Recovery fund and raise donations at their game.
“Not a lot of kids start funds or create awareness for something like this,” Maguire said. “What me and Jadyn did wasn’t really that hard, and I feel like this is an example to other kids – if you’re passionate about something or you want to raise money for something, just do it.”
With help from their family, Hsieh-Bailey said his mom designed the logo for the armbands and helped create and hang up the flyers. Maguire said his grandpa donated to the fund and funded the armbands and supplies for their fundraiser, and he also provided a space for everyone including Hsieh-Bailey’s mom and Maguire’s mom to work on the fundraiser.
Their effort to raise as much money for the July 4th Recovery Fund does not stop at their game and invitation to donate. Hsieh-Bailey said the field hockey team is hosting an invitational for the fund and also posting flyers.
Next week Hsieh-Bailey and Maguire will speak in front of OPRF’s Athletic Council and Student Council so the effort can continue to grow, they said.
“We’re representing ourselves, we’re representing our community, we’re representing our school as well, and we feel like we are making a difference,” Hsieh-Bailey said.