Evanston community helps beloved crossing guard

November 25, 2010 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

Deborah Clark, a crossing guard, is thanking them for helping her when she had nowhere to turn.

For 20 years, Clark has kept children safe on their way to and from Washington Elementary School.

"How you doing today? We're going to have a good Thanksgiving. Have a good one sweetie," Clark said to passing school children one day.

Last month, however, Clark found herself facing homelessness when she was forced to move out of her apartment. She confided in one parent that she couldn't read or write and wasn't sure how she could find a second job.

"She expressed that she would be homeless by the end of November. It brought me to tears," said parent Gabrielle Walker-Aguilar.

That's when two parents at the school sprang into action. They sent an e-mail to community residents, set up a Facebook page and planned a potluck dinner to raise money.

"Within 48 hours, I had over 70 email responses. The parents were just so moved to know that someone we care about so dearly, someone who is an extended part of our families was going to be out on the streets," Walker-Aguilar said.

"She brightens up our day. She brightens up our morning. She is there every day. She is never sick. She never takes a day off. She has committed herself to our children," said parent Debbie Klein.

Community members rallied together, found Clark an apartment and raised money to help pay her rent.

"It's going to be a lovely Thanksgiving, it's going to be a lovely Thanksgiving," said Clark.

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