Meet Raeven, Lead Case Manager for Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services

Meet Raeven Jones-Kelley, a Lead Case Manager at OHU. Raeven has worked at OHU since May 2022, specializing in Case Management for the Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services (CCBYS) program. Before starting her journey at OHU, Raeven was a preschool teacher and a nanny, where she originally found her passion for working with children. When exploring a new career path, Raeven knew she wanted to continue working with children, but wanted to find a way to make more of an impact on their lives, ultimately leading her to OHU.


What does a typical day look like as a CCBYS Lead Case Manager?

I provide case management services to the clients. Whether we are getting clients through our crisis calls or through a discretionary referral, I spend my day doing things like reaching out to new clients, preparing for sessions, meeting with clients, and giving presentations to schools to explain our services. I guess that’s a big way of saying, it really depends on the day. If I’m specifically working with clients, I like to spend the day before preparing for their session. I plan out what I want to go over with them in the session and print out whatever materials we might need. A session usually lasts about 45 minutes, and after the session is over I like to put in notes right away so it is fresh in my mind. 

Case Managers, Raeven Jones-Kelley and Joy Bahena, giving a presentation at a local elementary school.

Who can enroll in the CCBYS program?

The kids have to be at least 10 years old (11 years old if they have to sign paperwork in certain crisis cases) and they have to be under 18. Typically, it can be any kind of client that is experiencing some kind of risky behavior. That can be something from them refusing to go to school, or when they go to school they’re skipping all their classes. We have even gotten referrals from kids who are struggling that first week or two in school making friends. It can be the kids that are more so feeling withdrawn or they are having some sort of mental health crises. But really it can be anyone that is looking for some extra support.

Our crisis cases are typically related to housing issues, which can occur when a child runs away and loses their shelter, or when a parent refuses to provide shelter for their child. In those cases our first immediate concern is finding the child shelter for the night or for the next couple of days. As long as we have either parents or guardians permission or limited custody through the police, we are allowed to take them to any Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) funded shelter or a family generated placement if the family agrees to it. After we place them either at a shelter or a family generated placement, we are going to be in contact with that family, especially the next 48 hours just to make sure all the transitions are going smoothly. We try to start services with them too after that 48 hours if they’re interested.


What does a typical session look like?

It depends, but overall we are teaching the kids skills. I have a younger client right now, and I found some social emotional worksheets that we’ve been going through. During their session, we’ll go through the worksheets, discuss what was learned from them, and talk about how we can apply what was learned going forward. I always start the session by checking in to see how their week went.

For my younger kids, the session includes a lot of worksheet involvement because it’s easier for the kids to remember things that they’re writing down. For my older kids, the session can be talking through struggles they are going through. I’ve had some of my high school clients who want to talk about arguments with their friends and how to handle that argument. From that, we’ll go through different strategies on how they can handle it.

Another example could be if they had recently gotten suspended for fighting, we’ll talk about what happened with that fight, how it led up to that fight, and then going forward what we can do differently to stop ourselves from getting into that situation. Overall, it really depends on the client and what they are going through. 

Raeven printing out materials for a session.

What do you love about working here?

I like that they trust us to do our jobs without having to be over our shoulder all the time because I don’t work well like that. And I like that they listen to us. Whenever we have an issue or we think that something would work better for our program, they actually like to listen to us and we see the changes they make. So far every time we’ve discussed something or have asked for something, they’ve done their best to provide that for us. I appreciate that a lot.


Do you have a favorite “success story” from working here?

I had a client that was referred to us with very low self esteem and was struggling to communicate her feelings. By the time we were done working together, I could see an outward change in her. She started to dress nicely, put makeup on, and was greeting people with a smile.

When I first started working with her, she was shy, would always look down when speaking to you, and had a hard time putting her foot down when setting boundaries with herself. She even applied for a new position in the program she was working in, where before she didn’t have the confidence to do that. She was able to raise her grades and gain that confidence in herself. That was one of the first clients I saw a real change, because sometimes even though we are working with them for three months, that isn’t always enough time to see a drastic change, but with this girl in particular I was able to witness that change in her which was really cool.

Raeven and Joy posing in front of an elementary school after giving a presentation about our program and services.

Do you have a favorite memory from working here?

I definitely think my favorite moments all involve different team building things that we do. Our team gets together with the McHenry office as well to do group activities. We’ve done two escape rooms so far. Those have always been the best time. It’s fun to see your coworkers figure out problems because it kind of lets me see how they handle the problems in their cases too. It’s funny to see people cut loose, so I definitely love all the team building things that we get to do here.


Do you have a favorite part of your day-to-day position?

I think the planning part would probably be the best part of my day. I like to plan what I want to do with my youth in sessions. I enjoy that creative aspect of being able to come up with new activities or thinking about what’s going to benefit them, and what some of those activities look like. We have a lot of social emotional games that we use. We use a wide track curriculum a lot, so it’s setting up those visual metaphors and then all those activities that come with the programming. For one of my sessions I had this activity where I emptied a can of tomato sauce and put a bunch of candy in it and then closed to back up. That session was all about labels and learning that sometimes what you get on the outside isn’t what you are going to get on the inside. That was fun to plan and be able to do things to get my creativity going.

Raeven inputting notes and planning out a client’s session.

What advice would you give someone starting in this role?

Don’t be intimidated by the 24/7 aspect of this job. I know a lot of people can be worried about having to be available for that amount of time. I will say we don’t get that many crises, and with the proper training, and as long as we’re being open to the families, most of the time they’re just wanting someone to listen to them and hear their side of the story. Half of our job is being able to listen to someone. It can seem intimidating because we have the 24/7 aspect and we have to be available all the time, but at the end of the day, our crises may take an hour at most. Then, it’s just being that person to lend a listening ear to someone that is having that crisis.

Celebrating OHU Day: 128 Years of Impact

This year, we officially made October 8th OHU Day, celebrating our 128th anniversary as an organization. As we continue to celebrate, let’s take a deep dive into OHU’s rich history and the individuals who have shaped our legacy.


Key Milestones in OHU’s Journey

  • 1895: Reverend Ezra L. Scofield founded the Chicago Baptist Orphanage in Downers Grove, IL, which would eventually become One Hope United.
  • 1903: Dr. J.A. Leavitt founded the Hudelson Baptist Children’s Home in Centralia, IL.
  • 1948: Chicago Baptist Orphanage acquired the “Great House” in Lake Villa, marking a new chapter as the organization transitioned to Central Baptist Children’s Home.
  • 1955: Executive Director, T.T. Mintun, started the Foster Care Home Service.
  • 1987: Central Baptist Children’s Home entered into a management agreement with Hudelson Baptist Children’s Home.
  • 1979: Bridgeport Child Development Center was acquired from the Salvation Army.
  • 2001: Services were expanded into Florida.
  • 2004: Central Baptist Children’s Home became Kids Hope United.
  • 2010: Kids Hope United became One Hope United.
  • 2020: One Hope United launched Hope Houses in Florida.


The Early Years

On October 8, 1895, Reverend Ezra L. Scofield founded the Chicago Baptist Orphanage in Downers Grove, IL to solve the serious social problems affecting children, including abandonment, workhouses, and inadequate care.

Scofield and his wife rented a small home in the area to establish the orphanage with Scofield becoming the first superintendent and Miss Nourse, the first matron–a support role that looked after the overall care and health of children. In addition to caring for the children, Scofield’s passion extended beyond providing a roof for children experiencing hardships, he also helped find foster and adoptive families for children at the orphanage.

Within years, Chicago Baptist Orphanage outgrew the space as Scofield and other founding members embarked on a journey to expand care for more children. The One Hope United that we know today grew from the single decision of a group of compassionate individuals to meet the needs of children in one community.


The Hudelson Home: Expanding Our Reach

In 1903, driven by the need to care for orphaned children, Dr. J.A. Leavitt and a group of compassionate citizens turned their vision into reality by founding the Hudelson Home in Centralia, IL. Backed by the generous support of Mr. William Hudelson and Miss Alice Gibbs, they embarked on a mission to provide a nurturing haven for orphaned children.

The Gibbs House, the first rental property named after the first matron, Miss Alice Gibbs, saw her wearing multiple hats. From cook and nurse to teacher and housekeeper, she was the backbone supporting up to 19 children at a time.

However, challenges arose. In 1922, a severe storm damaged the campus. Thanks to community support and a committed Executive Committee, by 1924 the property was rebuilt, housing up to 150 children.

Years later, Hudelson Home partnered with Central Baptist Family Services in the 1980s. This collaboration expanded services, focusing on children’s mental health, education and independent living. Today, the Hudelson Residential Campus supports youth, preparing them for the transition into various living situations with immediate or distant family members, foster families, and as independent young adults.


A New Home, A New Name

In 1948, 53 years after One Hope United was founded as Chicago Baptist Orphanage, a mansion known as the “Great House” was purchased in Lake Villa, IL  from Fair Department Store owner, E.J. Lehmann. Along with the new location, Chicago Baptist Orphanage had also recently adopted a new name, Central Baptist Children’s Home.

In the years to follow, additional buildings were constructed on the property to provide more rooms for children to live at the campus. Continuing the legacy of the organization’s founding members, Grace Hastings Richardson and Mary Hess left a lasting impact on the campus and today buildings on campus are named in each of their honor.

The “Great House” (now known as the “Richardson House”), is where young Ermit L. Finch was welcomed as a new resident after leaving an orphanage in Arkansas. Ermit described living on the campus as “paradise” and found himself thriving as he took on new responsibilities and learned new skills. Many years later, as an adult, Ermit returned to the campus to reconnect with his childhood. Following that visit, Ermit became the first former resident to become a One Hope United board member and later a Life Director.

“[Ermit] talked about the agency to anyone who would listen and he convinced many people to come along the path with One Hope United, with him. He shared his resources, his stories, and his heart.” – Joyce Heneberry, Planned Giving Officer


Impact for Generations

Over the years, our organization expanded and evolved into the One Hope United we know today, now serving children and families in Illinois and Florida through Community-Based Family Services, Early Learning & Child Development, Residential Programs, and Behavioral Health Services. As our story continues, let’s remember all of the compassionate individuals who came together over the years to meet the needs of children and families in our community.

You too, can be a part of our story! It’s never too late to get involved in the OHU Day celebration by creating your own fundraiser or donating here (link). Whether it’s a community event, a virtual gathering, or any creative idea you have in mind, you will help continue to make a lasting impact and further OHU’s mission of serving and advocating for the thriving of children, youth, and families. Your generosity can ensure that our mission thrives for another 128 years and beyond.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Dennis Delgado’s Impact at One Hope United

In the spirit of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, we are shining a spotlight on Dennis Delgado, the Executive Director of CBFS at One Hope United. Dennis has been a trailblazer his entire life, from becoming the first in his family to graduate college to becoming the first Executive Director at One Hope United of Hispanic descent. This year, Dennis is celebrating his thirteenth year as a Hope Member, and his leadership has led to increased visibility and inclusivity, not only for his fellow Hope Members but also for everyone in our care.


What is your cultural background?

I was born and raised in the U.S. but I am from Puerto Rican descent, and my parents were born and raised there. My siblings and I are first generation in the U.S. I am one of 4 siblings, I am number 3 in line. My father was one of 13 children and wasn’t able to go to school. Because of this, he can’t read and write to this day because he had to help support his family. Coming to the United States, he didn’t have any type of education. My mom, on the other hand, did have a high school education, but the way that I was raised was still very old school. Although, it is a lot different than how a lot of Hispanics are raised now, because I feel like as a lot of generations continue on from first, second, third, and fourth generation, you tend to lose some of that culture. Spanish was my immediate first language, but I did learn both around the same time. My dad, to this day, still speaks broken English, so we always spoke Spanish around the house and English mostly in school.


How do you prioritize serving the Hispanic population in your work?

The unfortunate piece is that Hispanic culture is underserved and underrepresented. We don’t have specific programs designed for the Spanish-speaking population specific to Hispanics or Latinos. Especially in Northern Illinois, the Hispanic culture is the largest minority group, and we don’t have programs designed to address their cultural needs in a way that is in their native tongue. There are other agencies that offer such services, but I am specifically trying to get us back into that area. Some years ago we did offer some programs that were tailored to Spanish speaking clients, but due to the scarcity of Hispanics who are bilingual or bicultural entering this field, that is what helps fuel how we provide services to our clients. Right now, we have brought back the Burgos Foster Care Program, which is specifically for clients who speak Spanish and identify as Spanish and Latino. I’m working on getting this up off the ground again, but the difficulty is being able to identify qualified candidates with vast experience who speak Spanish and are bilingual.


How would you say that your culture helps bring a different perspective to people in our care?

It’s the unique lens in which I was born and how I have always seen the world. Yes, you grow and you develop and learn to utilize other lenses, however, I can’t view this world as a white person. No matter how hard I try, because I will not be treated as a white person. Same thing goes if I was talking about the black culture; minorities sometimes tend to be able to relate to each other, but not perfectly. My path has been a bit more difficult because of my cultural background. However, I will say this proudly, I have been able to tackle any type of adversity this far in my life in order to get to where I’m at. Whether that be through education, I have utilized my culture when it comes to getting various scholarships that were specific to minorities. Not everything has always been equal opportunities. I will say I haven’t had it the roughest, but my starting line was further back than the majority of those in the US. My goal in what I do is fueled by my culture, and I’m trying to make it easier so all cultures have a more equal starting line. When we do that, we set everyone up for the same success.


In your 13 years of working at OHU, can you think of an instance you were grateful for being bilingual?

When I started at OHU I was a case manager for the first 5 years in CCBYS that helps youth aged 11-17. There was a 12-year-old light-skinned Mexican male, and his legal guardian was his grandma. I remember his grandma being so appreciative that I spoke Spanish because the 12-year-old grandson was always having to translate things for her because she didn’t speak English. There were times she didn’t think he was translating things as effectively. For that family, it ended up being a godsend for them that I spoke Spanish. I’ve always been the only Spanish-speaking person on my team. The vast majority of my cases during that time were families from the Hispanic community because I could speak to them better and also relate to them better because I understood some of the adversities they had to overcome.


What is the importance in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month?

The importance of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is equally as important as celebrating the 4th of July, marking our nation’s independence. It reminds us that before living in the United States, we all came from somewhere else. Our origins influence our unique identities, including our physical features, skin tone, music preferences, culinary traditions, and clothing styles. Each of these 21 different Spanish-speaking countries contribute its distinct flavor and spice to our shared heritage, and we take pride in where we came from, who we are, and where we are going.

OHU Announces Damon Cates as Interim CEO

We are pleased to announce Damon Cates as the new Interim President & CEO of One Hope United. While many are acquainted with Damon as our Chief Advancement Officer, Damon’s career in development and fundraising has spanned over 18 years at the University of Chicago where he led alumni relations and development programs for several of the University’s academic units. In addition to UChicago, Damon has held leadership fundraising positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. 

Beyond Damon’s typical work week, his dedication to our mission extends to his freetime, where you can frequently find him visiting various OHU sites and volunteering for events. Whether he’s shadowing case workers to gain insight into our various programs and services or cheering on OHU kids as they open their new basketball court, Damon consistently demonstrates his support to our organization.

As the OHU Board of Directors embark on a search for the next CEO to increase access to quality early childhood education, improve child welfare outcomes, and expand mental health services, we are confident in Damon’s leadership to provide collaboration and teamwork. 

“My priorities have been and will continue to remain focused on our Hope Members,” Damon said. “The children and families we serve critically depend on Hope Members having the necessary tools and resources they need to do their best work. It is my top priority to ensure our teams are best equipped to solve the challenges of those who most need us and our services.”

With Damon’s seasoned leadership and dedication to our mission, we are excited for the chapters he will help write in our organization’s inspiring journey. Congratulations, Damon!

Planting Seeds of Success in Kindergarten

Kindergarten teachers play a crucial role in building the foundation for our children’s educational journey. Dedicated educators– like Hannah McVey from the Aurora Early Learning Center– are not just teaching the ABCs and 123s, they are helping kids grow, enjoy learning, and prepare for a successful future.

A Glimpse Into the Kindergarten Classroom

Every day in Hannah’s classroom is new and enjoyable. The first hour of her day is filled with the joyful buzz of chatter from the 5-6 year olds. They engage in building intricate structures with blocks, unleash their creativity through coloring, and share laughter while racing toy cars. During these moments of unstructured play, the children’s cognitive development is growing while they learn interpersonal skills through social interaction with their classmates and teachers.

As the clock inches towards 9 a.m., the transition from play to structured learning begins. The kindergartners make their way to their desks and go over what classroom responsibilities and learning are planned for the day. From there, the academic day unfolds–reading and writing, math, social studies, and science.

By thoughtfully crafting group activities tailored to each learning level, Hannah ensures that every child receives the attention and support they need to succeed, enabling her to accommodate the diverse needs of her students. The student’s classwork is designed to be split into two-week long units exploring how the world works with their learning group–a carefully curated team of students, selected to match progress while still allowing each child to be challenged.

The Impact of Early Education

Currently Kindergarten is not mandatory in the state of Illinois, but the impact of early education is profound due to its role in shaping crucial cognitive, social, and emotional development in young children. These foundational skills lay the groundwork for academic success, school readiness, and a lifelong enthusiasm for learning. In a nation where over 2 million students drop out of high school every year in the United States, it costs communities approximately $272,000 per dropout in public assistance, healthcare, and incarceration expenses. 

However, among these concerning statistics, research shines a hopeful light on the significance of early education. Research has shown, children in today’s early education programs not only experience personal growth, but also have greater chances of success. Children enrolled in early education programs today are 25% more likely to graduate high school and 4 times more likely to obtain a Bachelor’s degree.

“I love seeing how much the kids grow,” Hannah said. “Being able to see how much they change throughout the school year, how much they can come out of their shell since the first day of school and seeing how much they grow as individuals–socially and emotionally, but also academically–is probably my favorite thing about teaching.” 

Embrace Your Journey At One Hope United

As part of OHU’s kindergarten team, teachers find a supportive and collaborative environment with accessible lesson plans at their fingertips. Just like Hannah, they are equipped to inspire learning and curiosity in their students, setting them on a path to success from day one. To offer full support, we include assistant teachers in the classroom to ensure both our students and teachers are supported. 

But it’s not just about the classroom–it’s about being part of a community. Our regular events include art fairs, science fairs, and open houses, creating a genuine relationship between families and teachers. Through our parent portal, communication becomes seamless so parents and teachers are on the same page about their child’s education and developmental growth.

As a kindergarten teacher at OHU, your role extends far beyond education. You’re influencing and molding the next generation. If you’re ready to embark on your teaching journey with One Hope United, click here.

Thriving Together Luncheon: Nurturing Bright Futures and Inspiring Change

We are happy to announce that our Spring Luncheon, Thriving Together, was a great success! The event brought our community together at the beautiful USG Headquarters in Chicago to help break the cycles of poverty, trauma, and neglect. Together, we raised an astounding $155,000 that will go towards our early education and child development centers. Opening doors to a brighter future, this will help us provide vital health screenings for hearing and vision, STEM supplies, computer stations, books, and more! 

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Lieutenant Governor, Juliana Stratton, for her powerful speech on advocating education and children’s welfare. She truly inspired us all, highlighting the importance of building stronger, more equitable communities. Her words reinforced the belief that investing in early childhood education is a powerful catalyst for a world where every child can flourish.


Another highlight of the day was the presentation of the Chairman’s Award to John W. Rogers Jr., a true visionary and the driving force behind Ariel Investments. Rogers’s dedication to the Chicagoland community has paved the way for economic opportunities and transformed the lives of countless underserved youth. We were also fortunate to hear from Cree Thurmond, a valued Hope Member, who shared her heartfelt experience as a parent with children in OHU’s program while also being a part of our dedicated team. Her story was truly captivating, filled with inspiration that touched the hearts of everyone in the room. 

To further support our mission, you can donate here to play a part in our incredible journey. Together, we can empower children and families, opening doors to a world where everyone has access to quality education. Let’s continue thriving together!


How OHU Creates a Safe and Inclusive Environment for LGBTQIA+ Individuals

At OHU, we are dedicated to creating a nurturing and accepting environment for all individuals who access our services. As we proudly celebrate Pride Month, we had the privilege of speaking with Emily Owen, the Director of Programs for the Residential and Group Homes in Centralia, IL. With 17 years of experience at OHU, Emily provided valuable insights into how our organization actively supports and cares for LGBTQIA+ staff and the children in our care.

OHU is dedicated to actively promoting and supporting inclusivity and diversity, encompassing a wide range of individuals, including LGBTQIA+ youth. As one of the first programs in Illinois to accept transgender youth, we take pride in our progressive approach.

“Our organization serves clients from diverse backgrounds, providing them with every opportunity to express themselves freely,” Emily said. “For transgender youth, we prioritize their well-being and identity by placing them in homes where they feel at ease, respecting their self-identified gender. We firmly believe in client choice and actively support preferred names and pronouns, ensuring that everyone feels validated and respected within our environment.”

To create this safe environment, OHU has implemented various policies, procedures, and initiatives. We prioritize ongoing education and training for our staff, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and understanding to support LGBTQIA+ youth effectively. As part of our commitment to celebration and recognition, we engage our clients in activities that honor Pride Month and validate their identities. Additionally, we offer specialty groups and a youth advisory board where LGBTQIA+ youth can find support and a sense of belonging.

Residential Living Room

“We strive to educate our staff members and empower them to support our youth, regardless of their personal beliefs, always meeting them where they are,” Emily said. Addressing potential biases or discriminatory behaviors is of utmost importance to us. During staff orientation, we emphasize our Red Flag Reporting System and Open Door Policy. We encourage staff members to openly express any concerns they may have, providing a culture of trust and open communication. We also have availability in all of our homes to do anonymous reports for those who may feel uncomfortable reporting in person.

OHU takes pride in the positive impact we have made on the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals who have accessed our services. We have helped youth connect with essential services during their transition processes, addressing their mental and physical health needs. In cases where families may struggle to accept their child’s pronouns or identities, we provide a safe space for processing emotions and navigating these challenging situations. Through collaboration with therapists and family members, we assist clients in finding understanding and support systems.

Looking to the future, OHU remains committed to enhancing the care, provision, and protection of LGBTQIA+ individuals within our organization. Our dedicated activity team plans events every month that celebrate and support various aspects of our community’s identities. We understand the importance of continued education, maintaining an open mindset, and being willing to learn and adapt. Our organization has presented on a national level in Washington, D.C., and we will continue to support and welcome individuals regardless of their beliefs or preferences. Above all, our ultimate goal is to create a safe and accepting space where all our OHU community feels valued and respected.

The Power of Early Education: Setting Up Children for Lifelong Success

Education serves as a fundamental pillar of personal growth and development. From the time we are born, we are constantly learning. These early years are some of the most important stepping stones to help a child succeed early in life. It is during these years that their minds are most receptive, and the capacity for learning is at its peak. Studies such as one by Harvard, have shown how early education programs benefit children in developing necessary skills they need to succeed. Recognizing the importance of this crucial stage, One Hope United has established a network of Early Learning Centers that provide comprehensive programs to nurture children and empower families. 

Early education has a multitude of positive effects that contribute to a child’s overall progress and long-term success. Some key benefits include:

  • Cognitive Development: Early education programs provide a stimulating environment that promotes cognitive growth through language and literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.
  • Social and Emotional Skills: Children learn to share, take turns, cooperate, resolve conflicts, and gain empathy and emotional resilience.
  • School Readiness: By exposing children to early learning, they are better equipped to adapt to the classroom environment and succeed academically when furthering their schooling.
  • Language and Communication: Early education programs focus on language development, helping children build a strong vocabulary, express themselves effectively, and by gaining listening and comprehension skills.

These positive effects of early education demonstrate its profound influence on a child’s learning. It is important to realize that the emphasis is not solely on the child, but also on building strong partnerships with parents. At OHU, we recognize the vital role parents play in a child’s education. This is why we actively involve families in their children’s learning process by creating open lines of communication, providing resources, and engaging parents in their child’s education.

At our Early Education Centers, we provide a supportive environment where children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old embark on a transformative educational journey. These centers offer a wide range of programs designed to encourage children’s independence and curiosity. By providing a solid foundation for their academic and social-emotional growth, our goal is to empower children to become confident, lifelong learners.

We are committed to making a lasting impact on communities and empowering individuals to break free from the cycles of poverty, trauma, and neglect. Early education is a transformative force that shapes the trajectory of a child’s life. By nurturing children’s growth and partnering with parents, we are creating a solid foundation to set children up for success. To further our mission, we are hosting an event called Thriving Together on June 6th, 2023. Join us to become part of the movement to build a brighter future for all. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children and communities, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive. Buy tickets or donate today!

Running Towards Hope: One Hope United’s Spring Shuffle 5K

On a beautiful Sunday morning, One Hope United hosted its annual Spring Shuffle 5K event at the Sun Lake Forest Preserve in Lake Villa, IL. The event brought together the One Hope United community to serve the mission of providing education, resources, and support to children and families.

The highlight of the event was the participation of the boys from the Ermit L. Finch Campus at Lake Villa. Despite the early start, the boys were excited and ready to tackle the 5K. As they lined up at the start, the air was filled with anticipation and nervous energy.

As the race began, the boys took off, some sprinting ahead, while others settled into a steady pace. The trail was challenging, with twists and turns, and a few steep inclines. But the boys persevered, pushing themselves to their limits.

Along the way, volunteers and supporters cheered the boys on, shouting words of encouragement and high-fiving them as they passed. The sense of community was palpable, and it gave the boys the boost they needed to keep going.

In the end, all the boys finished the race, each receiving a participation medal with a look of pride and accomplishment on their faces. One of the boys stated, “Every ounce of my body was telling me to stop, but I used my head and my heart to keep going.”

Events like this play a crucial role in providing the boys with opportunities to grow, develop social skills, build trust, and form relationships. By creating a nurturing environment, One Hope United’s Residential Programs help these young individuals work towards achieving self-sufficiency, educational or personal goals, and ultimately preparing them for a successful transition to a family setting or adulthood.

After the race, everyone enjoyed tacos and ice cream sandwiches while celebrating the achievements of the boys. During lunch, there was an award ceremony where each boy was awarded a superlative, a hat from their favorite sports team, and a McDonald’s gift card. The smiles on their faces were a testament to the hard work and dedication they put into completing the race.

The event would not have been possible without the outstanding work from the OHU team and the many volunteers who gave their time to make it a success. As one volunteer, Christie, said, “This is my second event volunteering at One Hope United. I love doing it and bringing my kids along to set a good example of helping the community.” Click here if you are interested in becoming a volunteer for OHU. 

Overall, the Spring Shuffle 5K was a great success, bringing people together to support a worthy cause and providing a fun and challenging experience for the boys from the Ermit L. Finch Campus. One Hope United looks forward to hosting more events like this in the future and continuing to make a positive impact in the lives of our community!

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