Labor of Love 2020
Sara and Olivia
Saturday, May 9, 2020
We would like to invite you to become part of something very special in our community. The Park Ridge Newcomer Club (PRNC) is a social organization that hosts an annual philanthropic event called the Labor of Love in which the proceeds benefit a selected recipient. Over the years PRNC has helped hundreds of families in need, raising nearly a million dollars to support them. The Labor of Love event, Make Magic Happen, will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. 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.
“I am going to die. Can you take care of my girls?” Nothing could have prepared Cindy Yesko and her husband, John, for those chilling words. Spoken by a woman whom, until that moment, they only knew as a fellow dance mom named Ewa. Cindy and John found themselves agreeing to care for Ewa’s two girls: Sara, then 12 and a 7th grader at Emerson Middle School, and Olivia, then 17 and a senior at Maine South High School.
Olivia and Sara’s mother, Ewa, was diagnosed with brain cancer at the end of December 2016 after previously being told she only had a case of pneumonia. Ewa died three weeks 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, the younger of the two girls, danced at Studio 22 with Cindy and John’s daughter.
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. The threat of an unsafe environment struck a deep chord within Cindy, who had been abused while growing up. Cindy used her knowledge of trauma care and the resources she cultivated in the community to provide the safety she knew the girls needed. The father is now thankfully and permanently out of their lives. 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 approached Cindy and John to share she 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. Cindy and John asked themselves how they could make this work.
Enter the Godparents. Since the passing of Ewa, Cindy had regularly reached out to a network of dance moms and friends in the community to help cover the girls’ basic needs. In response to Olivia’s request to shift from sister to parent, Cindy enlisted fellow dance moms to help 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 Labor of Love community continue to create the magic these girls need.
All Labor of Love proceeds will be held by the organizers, as nominee, 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. Cindy has worked tirelessly to “pay it forward” in honor of all of the people that helped her. 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.
Together, we can Make Magic Happen to keep the two sisters in our community. We need community supporters to sponsor the event, donate to the silent and live auctions and raffle, display a Make Magic Happen poster in their business, purchase a yard sign and spread the word about PRNC Labor of Love. Finally, you can donate via GoFundMe and purchase a table at the Labor of Love event (tickets on sale 3/9/20).