The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is honoring a local woman, Raydell Lacey of Chicago, as the Community Impact Hero at the organization’s 17th Annual Heroes Breakfast. The event will be held on Wednesday, May 1 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. For more information please call 312.729.6178 or go to website: redcross.org/heroes.
After losing her daughter to violence in 1994 in front of her two young children, Raydell gathered the strength to tell her story in order to help other parents who had lost children to violence. Her organization Not Before my Parents, began as a t-shirts and hats campaign against violence in the Englewood community. The funds from the sale of the t-shirts and hats were used to help parents pay for funeral arrangements for their kids. Three years ago, Raydell’s strength was again tested when she lost her grandson to violence. This made her even more determined to reduce violence in her community. After seeing how focused her son was while playing chess, she had the idea of starting a chess club to use the game as a tool to fight violence. She thought the strategic thinking needed to play chess could help kids think before reacting. Two years later, the chess club is meeting regularly, and has monthly matches with the 7th District Chicago Police Department, creating a stronger relationship with police and youth in Chicago.
“The American Red Cross is proud to have Raydell among the group of 2019 heroes. Raydell is creating a safer environment for children through the organization she established,” said Celena Roldán, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois.
Additional honorees were selected in 11 community service categories. Heroes were chosen by an independent committee of leaders in the business and civic community. For the complete list of 2019 Heroes, visit redcross.org/heroes.
The 2019 Heroes Breakfast is made possible thanks to the generosity of our sponsors including: Walgreens, ITW, Kirkland & Ellis, Northern Trust and United Airlines.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties, including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.