GLEN ELLYN – For the last several years, St. Petronille Catholic School in Glen Ellyn has been sending teens on mission trips to help meet the needs of students attending De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, Mont.
Browning is located in one of the poorest counties in the United States, with per capita income on the reservation less than $12,000. St. Petronille will hold a benefit concert on Nov. 25 to benefit Blackfeet School.
The acoustic concert will feature Chicago music couple Michael McDermott and Heather Horton, who previously performed a benefit concert in August at St. Petronille's Parish Life Center in Glen Ellyn for Chicago-based Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.
The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. All of the proceeds will go toward paying for a new playground at Blackfeet School.
"What we want to do is replace the gravel playground that the kids play on and put in a soft surface, which would be safer," said Teresa Curi, who is organizing the benefit concert with St. Petronille Director of Youth Ministry Mary Miller. "And also, we would like to add a lot of new playground equipment. Right now, they just have very limited equipment."
Curi said she hopes the concert raises about $30,000. She is a longtime family friend of McDermott.
"I went to college with his sister, and she was my best friend," Curi said. "I've actually known him since he was about 14 years old. We've been going to his concerts for years and following him. After going to the concert in August, I just thought it would be a good fit. He writes about struggles and De La Salle Blackfeet School has a lot of struggles. I also want to raise awareness about this community."
Both Curi and her daughter have visited Blackfeet School. Browning is the capital of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, home to 12,000 Blackfeet.
"I got to see it for myself, and it's an amazing place," she said.
However, she said the community is suffering from a number of problems.
"They have very high unemployment," Curi said. "There aren't a lot of jobs. There are a lot of addiction issues there. This school is a small school. There are about only 70 kids there. But they are trying to teach the kids that getting an education is the way to get a better life."
If you go
WHAT: Benefit concert for De La Salle Blackfeet School
WHEN: 8 to 11 p.m. Nov. 25
WHERE: St. Petronille Parish Life Center, 420 Glenwood Ave., Glen Ellyn
COST: $25 in advance, $30 at the door