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TO GIVE, TO INSPIRE | Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy Naperville

by Mindy Kyle

G.L.O.W. 5K

NAPERVILLE–May marks some pretty significant events for our schools – finals, last days and graduations. Here in Naperville, May is also typically the time of year our schools reach out and promote the night G.L.O.W 5K benefiting the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy. This fund supports grants to individual educators, or entire schools in Naperville to promote a deeper understanding and teaching of literacy, enrich instructional programs, provide opportunities to link literacy between the home and the school and to lay foundations that will develop life-long readers. This year, due to the pandemic, the race has been moved to September 25th to allow for a fun and safe experience.

The fund memorializes Jeanine Nicarico whose bright future was tragically cut short at the age of 10 in 1983 when she was abducted from her Naperville family home and murdered. The loss was felt not only by her family and friends, but also the Naperville community. “The Naperville community supported our family, not just after her death but for many decades following that involved endless trials and media attention,” says Kathy Nicarico-Brown, Jeanine’s sister and Co-Director of Grants and the G.L.O.W. 5K, along with Jeanine’s other sister, Chris Nicarico-Roy. “The fund is our way of saying thank you to the Naperville community and to celebrate Jeanine’s life instead of dwelling on the tragedy.” It was established under the Naperville Education Foundation in 1996 by friends and colleagues of Chris’s from River Woods Elementary School and other staff members of Naperville Community School District 203.

The G.L.O.W 5K is their biggest fundraiser of the year. The 5K was originated by a teacher and parent from Hill Middle School of District 204 that had been awarded a grant and wanted to say thank you. It started out as a small neighborhood run of 200 people and over time evolved into a night run with over 1000 participants, a live band, refreshments and sponsors. The 5K has been going on for 20 years, but only in the last 10 has become an actual G.L.O.W night run. “Everything is run by volunteers,” says Kathy. “100% of our proceeds goes back into the grants we award in our community.”

For more information on applying for a literacy grant, joining this year’s G.L.O.W. run, volunteering or donating to the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy, visit their website at Photos submitted

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