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Alumni of Lake Villa orphanage visit their old home for the day

Imagine the place you called home as a child. The ambiance, the scent, the décor, the energy or the place you went to that made you feel safest. Imagine if you could go back to the place you used to call home for a few hours, just to reminisce and share the stories with your children.

Alumni from Central Baptist Children’s Home, now One Hope United, and their family did just that. They were welcomed back to their former home on the Lake Villa Campus in late September. One Hope United staff, Board members and boys that currently live on the campus in the CARE program welcomed the 11 alumni, all from different graduating years. The group toured the Richardson mansion where they once lived, which now houses One Hope United’s administrative teams.

There was a historical display of archive photos dating back to the original One Hope United home in Downers Grove in 1895. As one alumnus toured the mansion, he stopped and began to tell his found memories of the holidays spent there. He remembered that all the boys gathered around the fire place and the Christmas tree, waiting impatiently to unwrap their presents.

Many were reminded of their days spent at the beautiful property that the campus sits on. One alumnus said that sitting under a tree and looking at the lake was his way of clearing his mind, nothing could compare. Others were reminded of the times they went horse back riding and shared stories of their favorite horse. Some alumni talked about all the chores they had to do before they could do anything else.

In addition to the alumni sharing their stories, One Hope United shared a new beginning with them as they conducted a tour and a rededication of the newly remodeled Dawson residential building. John Dawson represented the Dawson family at the rededication of the building his family sponsors.  He mentioned how wonderful it was to represent the 3rd generation of the Dawson family, who has faithfully supported One Hope United at this rededication of the Dawson building as a residential site.

Alumni enjoyed a cake and coffee reception while sharing favorite memories of living in Lake Villa at Central Baptist Children’s Home. One woman saved all e-mails from those who kept in touch over the years and created a portfolio with each person’s picture next to their e-mail memories and passed copies out to each alumnus.

One Hope United encourages alumni to stay involved with the nonprofit, human service agency because they helped make it what is it today.

In November, One Hope United is celebrating 115 years of protecting children and strengthening families through nonprofit, community-based programs. The community is invited to join the human service agency for a Celebration of Hope on Wednesday, Nov. 17, in Chicago to celebrate the history and successes of children, families and communities served by the agency throughout Chicagoland. Tickets start at $115 and can be purchased online at www.onehopeunited.wpengine.com/celebration.