LT sends love to Highland Park

SAVE Promise Club rallies cards for Cooper Roberts

Vivienne Grad, Freelance Writer

For the past four months LT SAVE Promise Club sponsor Patricia Callahan has followed the lengthy recovery of 8-year-old Cooper Roberts, who was one of the victims of the July 4 Highland Park parade shooting. Upon learning of Roberts returning to his classroom for the first time since the Highland Park gun down, Callahan believed it was the perfect time for the SAVE Promise Club to show him their support in the first steps of his new life, she said. 

On Oct. 17 SAVE Promise Club held an open meeting at NC to make cards for Roberts and learn about Highland Park’s recovery from resident and social studies teacher Lucy Hoffman. 

“The Highland Park shooting hit close to home for so many of us and to help in any small way to the unfortunate victims like just sending a card can go a long way,” Callahan said. “I’m just so glad to see Roberts having as normal a life as possible, he’s truly an inspiration for everybody that we can persevere through anything.”

In August, Illinois state Sen. Julie Morrison began a card drive for Roberts inviting people to send out encouraging words after he was discharged from the hospital with paralyzation from the waist down. When learning of the drive, Callahan immediately proposed the idea to the seven executive members of SAVE Promise Club who all agreed that the next meeting in October would involve sending handmade cards to Roberts. By the end of that meeting, over 30 cards were sent to Robert’s household from LT.

“The kind sentiments in the cards show that he has support from thousands in IL,” SAVE club member Nevaeh Garcia ’24 said.  

Along with making cards, attendants learned how Highland Park is coping since the violent acts from the parade and the still shocking loss of the seven deceased who won’t be joining their families for the holidays, Hoffman said. The tight-knit community has been slowly building back their sense of joy through frequent festivals and events along with neighborly support, always having a shoulder to lean on reminding each other that they are all in this together. 

Some aspects of support can be seen through social media posts, HP Strong bracelets and lawn signs that can be seen in almost every neighborhood and store front.  

“It’s scary how a community and an area so similar to our’s had a shooting,” SAVE Promise sponsor Luke Janson said. “Many people think that only happens in city alleyways, not a community parade and it’s alarming. Some ways to help the families of the victims is to just reach out to make sure they are okay, donate money to their charities, or to try to get gun legislation passed.” 

Some charities working for Highland Park to help raise money for victims are GoFundMe, Charity Navigator, Give Well, and Victims First. Spreading awareness through social media and even donating a small portion to a charity to help pay for medical bills, funeral costs, therapy expenses, and gun control advocacy efforts will help Highlands recover, Janson said. 

“The best way anyone can help Highland Park recover is by not forgetting,” Hoffman said. “Most people don’t think about these events on a daily basis, our generation has become numb to it. It cannot just be those affected that bear the burden.”