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Cardinal Health Foundation supports child abuse prevention through $10,000 grant

One Hope United was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation to support Wings and Healthy Families, two of the organization’s child abuse prevention programs in Lake County.

“Our child abuse prevention programs are wholly funded by private dollars, and we rely on organizations such as the Cardinal Health Foundation to invest in our community’s youth in order to keep children safe in their own homes, which is the foundation of our mission to protect children and strengthen families,” said Mark McHugh, executive director of One Hope United.

Targeted for new and expecting parents, these programs help par­ents adjust to the responsibilities of parenthood and promote positive parent-child interaction. They work to enhance family functioning, build trusting relationships and teach problem-solving skills. Specific services include in-home visitation, assessment, parenting support and education, and assistance in accessing community resources.

One Hope United served nearly 150 clients in Lake County through these programs in FY09, and 99 percent had no reports of child abuse or neglect.

Congratulations to the graduates of Pickus Infant and Toddler Center

The Pickus Infant/Toddler Center in Waukegan, Ill., recently held its 3rd annual graduation celebration for teen moms, who have met their goals in graduating and receiving a high school diploma. Six graduating teen moms along with one student volunteer were honored with cake, food and gifts at the Pickus Center. The mothers worked hard all year to accomplish this big achievement, and in spite of their everyday challenges as teen mothers, they were able to reach their dreams.

“As the assistant director of Pickus, I am grateful to be in a rewarding position as a positive influence to these teen moms,” says Pam Hoover. “They had great support with having child care services located in the same building as their high school to help them continue their education.”

Pictured: Berenise and Diego

One Hope United receives $10,000 grant from HSBC

Grant funds benefit programs to help at-risk families

Chicago (June 9, 2010) HSBC – North America, with offices throughout Greater Chicago, has fulfilled a wish grant of $10,000 to One Hope United. The funds will go towards the agency’s Wings, Healthy Families Illinois and The Parent Group programs. One Hope United serves more than 7,100 children and families throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin with child abuse prevention, child development, counseling, family preservation, youth services and placement services (foster care, adoption and kinship care).

“HSBC has always been a wonderful corporate partner and is now matching its support with much needed funds as well,” said Joyce Heneberry, Senior Vice President for One Hope United.

HSBC embraces the principle that corporate responsibility is vital to the success of a company. The company’s philanthropic strategy is focused primarily on two critical issues—education and the environment. In 2009, HSBC’s community investment in North America totaled over $21 million.

Loretta Abrams, Senior Vice President, Community Investment, HSBC – North America, said, “HSBC is pleased to support One Hope United in its valuable work. As ‘The world’s local bank,’ we play an active role in all the communities where we have a presence and that includes Greater Chicago. In particular, the opportunity to help promote youth services and child development is something we are especially proud to be associated with.”

The Parent Group brings parents together with a profes­sional facilitator to sharpen their child-rearing skills. The voluntary service is designed to support parents and teach parenting skills—ultimately preventing child abuse and neglect. English- and Spanish-speaking groups meet weekly. The Parent Group is a voluntary service and there is no cost to the families that take part in the program. This program is funded by private donations and does not receive federal grants. The Parent Group is funded by Chicago Tribune Charities, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Kiwanis Club of Antioch, County Exchange Club, Target Corporation, United Way of Lake County and now, HSBC.

Healthy Families Illinois (HFI) works with first-time parents to promote strength-based parenting skills and family bonds. Services begin during pregnancy or within two weeks after the birth of a child, and provide valuable information on parenting issues, education­al opportunities, child development, parent-child bonding, teen parenting and family goals/support plans. In-home visits are scheduled based on family need and can range from multiple visits/week to one visit/month. First-time parents age 14 or older who reside Lake County are eligible, and there is no cost to families in the program.

Wings serves at-risk expecting parents and families with children ages birth to 5 years. Family and environmental risk factors correlated with increased family stress that typically lead to abuse/neglect include: unstable housing, inadequate income, parent education level, history of psychiatric care, baby with physical or developmental concerns, and age of parent, especially adolescent. Targeted for new and expecting parents, Wings promotes positive parent-child interaction. It works to enhance family functioning, build trusting relationships and teach problem-solving skills. The purpose of this service is to prevent child abuse and neglect. This program is available to families from the prenatal period until the child reaches the age of 5, and there is no cost to families for Wings services. This program is funded by Chicago Tribune Charities, Kovler Family Foundation, Target Corporation, Cardinal Health and now, HSBC.

For more information about these programs in Cook County, contact the One Hope United located at 47th Street in Chicago, 312.949.5590, or for Lake County program offerings contact the Waukegan office, 847.245.6800.

Donations are accepted online to benefit these programs and many more. Supporters may specify programs to receive their funds by noting Healthy Families Illinois, The Parent Group or Wings in the note section when donating online.

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About One Hope United

One Hope United is a private human service organization dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families. One Hope United offers a diverse array of prevention, intervention and community-based programs. With principal offices in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Florida, One Hope United serves more than 15,000 children and their families nationwide each year. For more information, visit www.onehopeunited.wpengine.com.

About HSBC – North America

HSBC North America Holdings Inc. is one of the ten largest bank holding companies in the United States with assets of $345 billion at 31 March 2010 (US GAAP). The company’s businesses serve customers in the following key areas: personal financial services, credit cards, specialty insurance products, commercial banking, private banking, and global banking and markets.  

Alderman Smith visits Edgewater Early Learning Center

Center unveils new classroom for two-year-olds

Alderman Mary Ann Smith of Chicago’s 48th Ward visited the Edgewater Early Learning Center, 5244 N. Lakewood, on Wednesday, May 19, to celebrate the opening of a new classroom for 2-year-olds.

With help from a group of children, Alderman Smith cut the ribbon to the new classroom in the Chicago child care center, which will eventually serve up to 12 children. She also read the book “On the Day You Were Born,” and presented a copy of the book to the students.

“The new classroom is a bright and cheerful space for children with a variety of learning centers for children to explore, discover and create,” said Connie Acevedo, center director. “We have received numerous calls from families in this community for services for younger children, and we are excited to open a new classroom to meet this need.”

The ribbon-cutting was followed by an open house and community resource fair for current and prospective families.

Edgewater Early Learning Center, previously known as the Kids Hope Child Development Center, has been in the community since 2006 and currently serves children ages 2 – 12. Learn more at www.onehopechilddevelopment.org.

Story of Hope: An Early Father's Day

On April 23, 2010, Lane Bennett achieved his life-long dream of becoming a father. Like an increasing number of single men, Lane explored the option of adoption and found that it was the perfect decision for him. Lane always knew he wanted to be a father and he felt that through adoption, he could share his home and his love with a child who needed it most. Lane knew that the adoption process would be challenging, especially as a single father, but he was fully committed from the very beginning.

After his adoption home study was approved, Lane enthusiastically began his search for his adopted child. Lane attended an Adoption Recruitment Event in October, where amidst numerous waiting children and adoptive parents, Lane was introduced to an 11-year-old boy, Bradley.

Lane and Bradley’s connection was immediate. The pair shared may things in common such as their outgoing and happy personalities, love of video games and their desire for a family. Lane and Bradley soon began visiting with each other and it became obvious that the match was meant to be.

Bradley, who easily attached to Lane, moved in with Lane in time for the Christmas holiday. Bradley was so excited about his new family, that he even began changing his last name at school, which caused some confusion for his teachers!

As a single father, Lane met each challenge of raising a special needs child with a positive attitude and his decision to adopt Bradley never wavered. Lane successfully navigated the educational system to ensure that Bradley’s educational needs were met. In fact, Bradley has made huge strides in his educational progress since being placed in Lane’s home. Lane also continued to meet regularly with an adoption mental health therapist to help make Bradley’s transition into his adoptive home as smooth as possible. Lane and Bradley quickly bonded, and on April 23, 2010, Lane legally became Bradley’s father.

When most people think of a single parent adopting a child, they usually picture a single mother. This story of hope clearly demonstrates that a successful and loving adoptive parent comes in all shapes and sizes. Lane will really have a reason to celebrate this Father’s Day, as he and his son look forward to a lifetime of memories to come!

After the traumatic death of one daughter, a family is safely reunited

Ms. Archer came to the United States from Peru through a college, foreign exchange program. At the time she moved to Florida, she only knew her boyfriend and a couple other exchange students.

Ms. Archer soon gave birth to a baby girl named Eliana. The baby was born with a facial deformation and had surgery when she was only one month old in an effort to fix the deformation. Pre-surgery, the surgeon told Ms. Archer that Eliana was to stay in the hospital for four days and then be discharged with Tylenol.

After the surgery the doctor told her that the surgery went okay. However, at about 3 a.m., Eliana began to show signs of distress. The baby was experiencing internal hemorrhage. A second surgery was then performed on Eliana the morning after the first.

After the second surgery, the surgeon reported back to Ms. Archer that Eliana was in coma, and she was brain dead. The family was given the option to disconnect Eliana from the machines, which kept her alive.

Ms. Archer and Eliana’s father refused to give up hope.

The family’s hope seemed to win out when Eliana awoke from the coma. But, the baby required constant care and was still in a vegetative state from that moment forward. Ms. Archer was unable to work, as she had to provide constant care and supervision for Eliana.

Ms. Archer never received counseling after this incident, and she later had a second child, Francy.

On Feb. 3, 2010, the Department of Children and Families received a report alleging that the family’s current environment was dirty and that Ms. Archer was depressed and exhausted.

Then on Feb. 24, 2010, a report alleged that Eliana died the night prior. Eliana’s sister, Francy, was sheltered on Feb. 25, 2010, due to concerns that Eliana had not been to the neurologist and reports cited medical neglect.

Upon receiving the case, One Hope United Family Case Manager, Yonaery Hernandez, immediately recognized the mother’s need for counseling and services after hearing of the family’s traumatic ordeal with Eliana’s surgeries and ultimate death.

Yonaery spoke to Ms. Archer about depression and she understood that the removal of Francy was yet another loss for the already troubled family. The distressed mother needed to know there was hope for the future.

Yonaery arranged twice a week visitation with Francy for Ms. Archer. Staffings were set up to occur between all parties to discuss what the mother needed to complete in order to heal and learn from the experience, so that the family could be permanently and safely reunited.

One Hope United also provided family team conferencing services to the family. One Hope United Family Team Coordinator, Ida Rivera, was an advocate for Ms. Archer through the services and assisted the mother in identifying and establishing a support system.

Francy was successfully reunified with her mother on April 2, 2010. Ms. Archer still attends weekly counseling sessions. Francy attends fulltime child care while Ms. Archer is searching for a job in the art field.

Family Case Manager, Yonaery, never stopped advocating ensuring that this family was safely reunited and that the mother was given the hope she needed to provide for her family. Together, Yonaery and Family Team Coordinator, Ida, collaborated to ensure Ms. Archer didn’t lose yet another child and worked diligently to make sure the family was reunited with Francy in a nurturing home environment.

Meet Foster Grandparent Program Volunteer Grandpa Jack

Jack Sunderlik is a retired school teacher and brings a wealth of experience with him to the One Hope United Springfield Foster Grandparent Program.

The OHU Foster Grandparent Program offers seniors age 55 and older the opportunity to serve as mentors, tutors and loving caregivers for youth with special needs. Volunteers serve in a variety of locations throughout the community, including schools, after-school programs, Head Start, child care centers and youth centers. The personal attention offered by foster grandparents like Jack helps youth grow, gain confidence and succeed as productive members of society. In return, Foster Grandparents receive the joy of being needed within their communities.

Jack is currently volunteering more than 40 hours a week at Dubois Elementary School. He is working with special needs students and is always trying to come up with a new way to engage the students and keep them interested. Jack is so dedicated that in addition to his 40 hour work week, he takes projects home, making flash cards or creating new activities to do with the kids.

Grandpa Jack is extremely humble and says it’’s the teachers who deserve the recognition. Jack also says that the program is giving him a renewed sense of purpose and he will do all he can to help.

Dubois Elementary assistant principal and teachers cannot say enough positive words about their volunteer. Ms. Medley and teachers have seen noted improvement in students after only a short time of working one on one with Jack. Ms. Medley says that all she hears up and down the halls is students calling out “Grandpa Jack, Grandpa Jack!” The school also reports that students are showing improved reading and math scores due to a rubric for each child that Jack uses to keep track of their progress.

Ms. Medley thanks the OHU Foster Grandparent Program for sending them their “Grandpa Jack.” We thank Jack for joining our program and appreciate his patience and easy going demeanor as well as his commitment to go above and beyond the call of duty and dedication to always trying to find a way to help.

Thank you Grandpa Jack!

For more information about the Springfield Foster Grandparent Program, contact Program Director Gloria Plummer.