Two Barrington High School students were announced as winners of the 2nd annual HOPE’S IN Humanitarian Award during the organization’s 6th annual fashion show fundraiser. Thanks to the award, Sophomore Kelly Speichinger and Senior Maureen Kozlowski are headed to Guatemala City this summer to help HOPE’S IN volunteers build homes for families living in Zone-3, a garbage dump community. Nearly 300 people attended this year’s fashion show which raised over $61,000, enough to build eight homes.
Sponsored by Mike and Colleen Hannigan of Barrington Hills, the HOPE’S IN award is a full, merit-based scholarship to two students who demonstrate humanitarian leadership and dedication to making the HOPE’S IN Style fashion show a success. Speichinger calls the award “life changing” because it puts her on an accelerated path toward helping families in crisis. Here’s more, in Kelly’s own words…
Being a HOPE’S IN Humanitarian, by Kelly Speichinger
Sunday, February 25th was one of my most life changing days that I will never forget. This is my story about that special day.
I was part of the HOPE’S IN Internship program. This was my first year with HOPE’S IN. When I was a fifth grader, I first heard of the organization and always said to myself, how and when can I be a part of that? Here I am five years later not only helping run the Stylists and Models Team with long time, HOPE’S IN student leaders Maggie and Alex, but also participating as a Stylist with my girl Mckenna Culhane. This has been the most amazing year with HOPE’S IN.
This year, I tried to contribute as much as I could to make the fashion show be better than any show that we had in the past. On Sunday at the fashion show, I gave my first public speech to a room full of people. It was intimidating but it was so much fun because I saw my friends and family in the audience.
Towards the end of the show, Maggie and Alex texted me to come up and sit by them. Mr. and Mrs. Hannigan came up on stage and the slideshow behind them said Humanitarian of the Year Award. I am listening to them speak and, all of the sudden, they presented the awards and I hear my name. I immediately started balling my eyes out. I couldn’t even believe it. I was in such shock, I had no clue that this award existed let alone that I was going to be a recipient. I think I cried 10+ times that day because of the shock and excitement I felt. I am so beyond excited to go on the trip and finally experience Guatemala; the people, the memories that will be made, and the smiles that I will hope to put on people’s faces.
This award is more than just a trip to me. This past year, my grandma passed away due to cancer. For Christmas she gave my brother and I money to go do something that we each wanted to do, to do something that was important to us. I decided and got the chance to tell her before she passed that I wanted to use the money she gave me to go to Guatemala and change lives. But with the circumstances of not having a chaperone for this year, I was going to plan to wait and go next year. With this scholarship not only does it give me the opportunity to go this year, but now I can also go next year! I am so beyond thrilled and I cannot wait to go build homes for the families in Zone 3.
On February 25th my life changed, and I will forever be grateful to the amazing Hannigan Family for their Humanitarian of the Year Award. I can’t even thank them enough and the rest of the HOPE’S IN team for being the most life changing, amazing group of people I have ever met. I can not wait for many more years with HOPE’S IN!
Are you interested in joining Kelly and TEAM HOPE this summer as they travel to Guatemala City? This year the team will be working alongside 8 beautiful families in Zone 3. If you’d like to learn more please visit our website at hopesin.org. If you are confident that you are saying “yes” to this summer adventure you can click here to sign up.
Do you have ideas or questions for HOPE’S IN’s team? Please feel free to reach out to the new Executive Director, Courtney McGovern. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-founded in 2012 by twin sisters, Courtney & Ashley Quigley during their junior year at Barrington High School, HOPE’S IN is dedicated to impacting and empowering the Guatemala City garbage dump communities and developing the next generation of humanitarian leaders.
To-date, Hope’s In volunteers have built dozens of safe homes and inspired hundreds of student volunteers to travel to Guatemala to help bring hope to families living in poverty. Learn more about the mission at HopesIn.org.