Most neighborhoods decorate with festive white, red or green lights this time of year, but that’s not the case for the Walgren home.
The blue and green lights shining around their house represent the family’s nonprofit, Corey’s Goal, created in memory of their son.
“It’s been a fun little project for us, because the holidays are really difficult and we know Corey would love this. So he loves bringing people together. And I think ‘light’ was actually his first word as a baby oddly enough. So I think he’d be thrilled with this and we just thought it’d be a fun thing for us to do to decorate our house kind of as a big advertisement for the charity and to advertise the Manchester Light Show,” explained Maureen Walgren, Corey’s mom and co-founder of Corey’s Goal.
Corey Walgren died by suicide on January 11, 2017 at the age of 16. His namesake foundation works to raise awareness of the civil rights of students and to support Corey’s love of hockey through financial gifting.
The Manchester Lights Holiday Show has been running annually for seven years at 1117 Manchester Court. And as creator Matt Baker is a longtime family friend of the Walgrens’, it became clear what this year’s charity of choice for the show would be.
“I thought the show could spread out the word a lot better,” said Baker. “So I was trying to think of charities and I was just- Corey’s Goal, you know. Because my brother and I know that they’re trying to get it off the ground so I thought it’d be cool. And then when I reached out, Mrs. Walgren had the idea to do something at their house [as well] and I said ‘okay.’ So I drew together a design and it came to this.”
Corey’s Goal has a featured donation box on Manchester Court. And folks who tune in to 88.5 FM during the synchronized show will also hear voiceovers from Corey’s parents talking about their charity.
While the 80,000 lights in the Manchester Court show took up to 40 weeks to fully set up and program, it took just a day for 30 friends to help the Walgrens set up the 20,000 lights on their home on 111 Westmoreland Lane.
“I think it looks great. Every night when it lights up- we’ve got it on a timer so it kicks on [and we watch them], so it’s fun to see each night,” said Doug Walgren, Corey’s dad and co-founder of Corey’s Goal.
The Manchester Lights Holiday Show is running from 5 to 10 p.m Sundays through Thursdays and an hour later Fridays and Saturdays. That’s also when you can swing by the Walgren home. Both will be lighting up town through January 10.
“It’s pretty cool. I know holidays are probably pretty tough for them so this gives them a little cheer hopefully,” added Baker. “And [that’s] just what I’ve been hoping at my shows as well. People come forget about everything and just watch the show. [Create] a little bit of magic.”
On January 11 Corey’s Goal is asking the public to put candles on their porches or in windows and to post a photo using the #candlesforcorey, as a day the community can honor him on the second anniversary of his death.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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