Lights of Love's mission is to increase awareness and resources to those families who have experienced grief or trauma. We conduct an annual holiday tree sale in Downers Grove. This sale allows neighbors to purchase a tree in honor of a family member or friend. The trees illuminate our neighborhoods during the holiday season. Proceeds raised beyond expenditures will support grief and trauma efforts through scholarships, education, and community groups within Downers Grove.
WHO WE ARE
We are four Downers Grove mothers coming together with the intent of opening our hearts, spreading the spirit and brightening our community. Lights lost too early, Anna Trent and Sophya Barry, have driven our desire to continue this holiday tradition beyond the Lester neighborhood. Therefore, we created a non-profit organization(501c3) to light up Downers Grove in memory of lights gone too soon.
Jennifer Barry grew up in Naperville, IL with her parents and two siblings. Later, moving to Downers Grove and attending Downers Grove North High School, she met her husband, Adam in 2001. After graduating high school, Jennifer and Adam moved to Aurora but quickly came back to Downers Grove after the birth of their first son, Donovan in 2005. They later had Anthony in 2006, Sophya in 2008, William in 2012, and Eva in 2013. Donovan, Anthony & Sophya attended Lester elementary, then moved to Hillcrest elementary. Sophya was diagnosed with ITP (Immune Thrombocytopenia Pupura) in the beginning of 2017. After a grueling fight with the autoimmune disease, she passed away on August 11, 2017.
As parents, you want the best for your kids. As bereaved parents, you don’t want your babies forgotten.
Lights of Love allows people to remember their loved ones during a time of year that’s one of the hardest, they are not just trees they're memories.
Joy Myers grew up experiencing many different communities throughout her childhood with her parents and sister. Born in central Florida, Joy quickly moved to spend some of her single digit years in South Korea. From there, she traveled back to the states spending time in New York, Missouri, Florida for a second time, and finally landing in Western Springs, IL in 1988, where she would spend the rest of her junior high and high school years. In 1988, Joy met her best friend and now husband, Lucas. After the couple completed graduate school, they purchased their first home in Downers Grove in 2001. This same year, Joy began her career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at what is now Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, focusing on the care of the pediatric patient population and their families. She continues to work there today and specializes in crisis intervention, child maltreatment, and grief loss. The Downers Grove Community has been an extraordinary extended family to the couple ever since. They happily welcomed their three children into three different homes within the village of Downers Grove. Peyton in 2005, Kemper in 2007 and Harper in 2011. As residents of Downers Grove for over 20 years, she and her family have seen the Village grow, evolve, and transform into the village we all know today. Her family has witnessed, participated, and benefited from countless acts of selflessness and generosity from strangers and neighbors alike over the many years. The Myers Family believes strongly that the DG community is truly inspired by each and every community member choosing to create a very special and incredibly inspiring place to call home.
Sophya Ann Barry
Katie Trent grew up in Clarendon Hills with her parents and four siblings. In 2006, when she was only 20 years old, her mother died after a short battle with cancer. She moved to Indiana after college where she met her husband, James. They had two children, Olivia in 2009 and Anna in 2012, before moving back to Downers Grove to be closer to her family. In 2015, their son Ben was born. That same year Olivia started school at Lester Elementary and Anna attended preschool at the Lincoln Center.
On Father’s Day in 2016, Anna tragically drowned at a pool just a week after her 4th birthday. In an instant, their precious Anna was gone with no goodbye. Katie and James have worked hard to make sure that Anna continues to be at the center of their family and that their other children remember and cherish their sister. In 2018, they were blessed with another daughter, Maggie, who has brought them immense joy. They understand too well that the holidays can be a painful reminder of who isn’t there. Lights of Love is a special way to honor those who cannot join us physically during the holiday season by lighting up the town to show support for all those missing loved ones.
Anna Faye Trent
Vicky O'Boyle was born in Rugby, England, immigrating to Ohio in 1979 with her parents and sister. Her 3 brothers remained in England. She later moved to Texas in 1983 where she went to college and graduate school. During these times she lost her mother, father and brother. She moved to Chicago in 1999. The next five years were filled with love and loss. In 2002, she met her husband, Mark. She lost her two brothers in 2005 and 2006 to suicide. Her daughter Grace was born in 2008 which led the move to Downers Grove and Lester Elementary. Quinn was born in 2012 completing the Olson family with a myriad of dogs, turtles, and tortoises.
Loss can make us feel an emptiness unlike anything else. It forces us to think in terms of finality. Lights of Love is a symbol of light and love of those we have lost. Vicky's passion for Lights of Love began with thinking of Sophya and Anna's families and how the mourning a loss is never a destination. It is a process of memories and love.