Richard Daley on After School Matters

November 27, 2011 8:42:01 PM PST
Young artists and performers from Maggie Daley's After School Matters program paid tribute to her Sunday with performances throughout the wake.

The Daley family meant that as a reminder of the teens whose lives she touched. Last summer, ABC7's Ben Bradley talked with former mayor Richard Daley about his wife's program, and how it almost didn't happen.

Maggie Daley loved flowers but it was something that bloomed 20 years ago in a then-abandoned Loop lot that became her passion and one of her proudest accomplishments.

A simple after school arts program that served 260 students that first year now serves 20,000 kids who immerse themselves in everything from theater to technology, art to architecture. But it almost didn't happen.

Last June, former Mayor Daley and ABC7's Ben Bradley talked about the day an aide first pitched him on the program.

"He explains someone is going to put some tents up and I said 'Who's crazy idea is this? What are we doing?' David said, 'It's Maggie's.' I said, 'I'll be right back. That is a great idea! We're going to go ahead with this idea and do it!'" Daley said in an interview on June 29.

While Mrs. Daley's public appearances became fewer and farther between in recent months, her work with After School Matters continued. At the time of the June 29 interview, her husband said it was just one more example of the dedication and determination that helped her beat back cancer years longer than doctors predicted.

"She really believes like anything else she can do it and she's been doing it for many, many years. She will, but it's been a couple of challenging weeks. She'll overcome this," Daley said in the interview.

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