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Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah GOES BLUE for OHU!

As many of you know, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and One Hope United has created the GO BLUE campaign to raise awareness about the importance of stopping child abuse before it starts.  And we’re thrilled to have Joakim Noah lend his time and talents to help us spread the word!

Through their Noah’s Arc Foundation Joakim and his mother Cecilia Rodhe engage kids with art and sports so that every child can “be able to express their true self in order to fulfill their dreams.”  They have also developed a great relationship with the boys from One Hope United’s CARE Day Treatment Program, hosting the boys at Joakim’s home to shoot some hoops, gather around the campfire, and just relax and chat.  We’re so grateful for their support.

But you don’t have to be an NBA superstar to be a hero to child.  From local business owners to community leaders to our youngest volunteers, everyone is invited to show their support in the fight to end child abuse and GO BLUE this April!

GO BLUE Community Partner Spotlight: Julie’s Coffee

Julie Adriansen wears blue in support of One Hope United![/caption]

Julie’s Coffee in Lake Villa, Illinois went BLUE for OHU on Saturday, April 5!

Volunteers from One Hope United served as guest baristas with all tips going towards child abuse prevention programs. The community really stepped up as a steady stream of OHU staff, volunteers and supporters stopped by for coffee and treats.

Thank you, Julia’s Coffee, for all you’ve done to support us as we work together to prevent child abuse and maltreatment in our communities this April and beyond.  GO BLUE!

To host your own fundraiser, fill out our online form and an OHU staff member will be in contact.  You can also download our GO BLUE Toolkit for more great ideas.

Chris & Howard Schnitzer (1)

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A Simple Thing That Means So Much

The Aktion Club’s Diaper Dump Day was a HUGE success.  On Saturday April 5th, the community of Sebring (Florida) collected 3,212 diapers for babies and $994 in cash. We also received 1,257 adult diapers, which will help charities like Nu-Hope and Ridge Area Arc. Overall, this should equal more than 12,000 diapers collected in our community!

One Hope United was one of the proud recipients of this incredible donation.  We will utilize these diapers for our foster families as well as the other families we currently serve.  Many thanks to the Aktion Club and the Sebring Community for this much needed gift to our kids.

The Healing Path Changes Lives

My client is a 12-year-old male who was referred to the Healing Path program by Warren Township due to his history of complex trauma. The client’s history of trauma includes: his biological father and primary caregiver passed away due to a heart condition when the client was four years old, witnessing domestic violence instances between his biological mother and her paramour, being in a house which was intentionally set on fire by his mother’s companion after a domestic violence incident when the client was 8 years old, witnessing significant community violence, and witnessing his biological mother participate in illegal activities and be incarcerated multiple times. Currently the client is residing with his paternal grandfather who also suffers from the same heart condition as the client’s biological father. In September of 2013, the client had numerous physical symptoms and he was told that he could also suffer from the same heart condition as his father and grandfather.  Since then the client’s test results have concluded that his heart is healthy.

At the onset of therapeutic services the client’s grandfather identified one of his primary concerns as their lack of support in the community. The client’s grandfather expressed a desire to relocate closer to his family in Kentucky due to not having the necessary supports in the area.

Aside from engaging in therapeutic services it became apparent that this family needed case management assistance. I provided the client’s grandfather with numerous resources in the community which could assist with more concrete resources.  The client’s grandfather contacted all of the referrals.  I also worked with Mother’s Trust to receive funding for the client to participate in a local football team. I served as a liaison between the client’s grandfather and the client’s school. As a result the client participated in the basketball team and the client’s grandfather was able to attend the games at no charge.

On Thursday, January 16th I met with the client’s grandfather, during this session he told me that because of my work “I have changed their life”, moving to Kentucky no longer seems like an option due to the amount of support that they have. The client’s grandfather communicated that due to my efforts and collaboration they now have a case worker from the Lake McHenry Veterans and Family Services. The client’s case worker has helped the family with food, stable housing, obtaining a washer, housekeeping help for the home, and a new vehicle. The client’s grandfather had never sought services to process his own history of trauma because he believed he would not be eligible for counseling services at the VA due to his discharge status from the military after WWII.

The client’s grandfather shared that in his life he has never received support as he has from The Healing Path. He said that it’s clear that those of us helping him do not do it as just a “job” but rather because we are passionate about helping others. The client’s grandfather said The Healing Path has not only changed his life and the life of his grandson but has also changed who he is as a person. He is amazed at the kindness and willingness to help that he has found in our community.

Needless to say I was touched by the comments of the client’s grandfather. It is a good reminder of why we do the work we do.”

Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services

In November 2012, Emma*, age 14, was referred to One Hope United due to conflict between herself, her father and her stepmother. At the time of the crisis at the police station, the parents wanted to lock the child out of the home due to the extreme nature of the conflict. Emma was being physically abusive towards her stepmother and she was verbally abusive towards her father. The case manager was able to resolve the crisis at the police station and the parents allowed the child to return home in hopes that Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services (CCBYS) follow-up services would help resolve the conflict in the home.

In the beginning of CCBYS services, Emma was sneaking out of the home, engaging in dangerous sexual behavior, lying to her parents, not complying with parental rules, being defiant towards her parents, and being both physically and verbally abusive toward her father and stepmother.

The case manager worked with the youth and her family diligently for several months on her behaviors. The case manager worked with Emma on understanding the consequences of engaging in the dangerous sexual behavior by giving her handouts on STDs and teen pregnancy. She provided the family with a rules chart. There were rewards and consequences for Emma’s behaviors. This assisted Emma with knowing that when she displayed good behaviors she would be rewarded and when she displayed negative behaviors, there would be consequences. She provided Emma with anger management so that she could learn how to display her anger in a healthy manner rather than becoming physically and verbally abusive toward her parents.

By the spring of 2013, trust was restored back into the family. The client was referred to a psychiatrist to address her past trauma that contributed to some of her behavioral problems. She was complying with her parents’ rules and she had learned new anger management techniques. She was no longer verbally or physically abusive toward her parents. Her reward for showing such great improvements was a trip to Florida for spring break.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the family.

Intact Family Services Build a Happy Home

Nicole* and her four children were referred for services last summer. Nicole was previously involved with child welfare services and was reluctant to participate again despite a court order. At the time of referral, Nicole was not working, was residing in a home in poor condition, and was allowing a 26-year-old homeless male to live with the family. Her oldest son, Ryan, had been in juvenile detention for the last 8 months. Chase, attending middle school, had learning disabilities and did not socialize with his peers. Anthony, her 10 year old, displayed extreme aggression at school and was briefly hospitalized because of an incident at school.

Despite her initial reluctance, Nicole eventually became engaged in services and started to make progress in her own life and the lives of her children. Nicole has been employed for the last six months as an in-home care provider and loves her job. In fact, when Nicole’s car was not working during the recent winter storms, she walked to each of her client’s homes, in a foot of snow, to make sure she could maintain her job.

Having a job allowed Nicole to start tackling some of the repairs she needs to make to her home. When her home needed a new furnace and she didn’t qualify for any assistance, she combined her earnings with her income tax return, purchased a new furnace, and hired a contractor to do the installation.  She used these same funds to have new water pipes correctly installed so that she would have problems with the pipes freezing next winter.  Nicole new budgeting skills also allowed her to keep some money in the bank so that, in the future, she can paint the kid’s bedrooms and start repairs on her kitchen.

Nicole completed parent training course and immediately started to put the lessons to work.  She created a behavior chart for her children to allow for tracking.  She used the conflict management skills to help manage arguments between her boys and assert her authority in a positive manner. The children responded to these changes and were able to start solving problems in a less aggressive manner.

Initially, Anthony would scream “Go away” and “Get out of here, you are DCFS” whenever the Intact Worker visited the home. By working with Nicole and the school to switch Anthony to a different classroom and dramatically change his behavior at school and at home. The Intact Worker is now receiving smiles and hugs from Anthony when there is a visit in the home.

Chase’s school counselor reports that he is a happier child and better able to interact with his peers.

When the boarder Nicole was trying to help failed to follow through on his promises, Nicole asked him to leave.  Nicole demonstrated her new found self confidence and ability to make decisions in the best interest of her family by having him move out.

Nicole has demonstrated tremendous progress and transitioned from a reluctant client to one who welcomes assistance from One Hope United.  She is happier, more confident and much more engaged with her children.  As a result of her hard work and the progress of her children, the Intact Worker plans to request the court order for services end early.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the family.

Comfort Kits "Give a Little Love"

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The Second Annual “Give a Little Love” event on February 28, 2014 created sixty Comfort Kits for children being removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.

Chrys Zastrow, founder of Sweet Zzzz Comfort Kits, organized this event along with Young Scholars Child Care Center in Island Lake, Illinois, and friends and family. Often when a child is removed from their home, it is an emergency situation. The child may arrive at the foster home without anything but the clothes on his or her back. A comfort kit is a duffel bag filled with basic comforts: blanket, a “lovie” blanket, stuffed animal, toothbrush and toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, book or craft and a water bottle.

When Zastrow’s three daughters first arrived at her home, they had received comfort kits to bring with them. This simple act of kindness motivated her to give back to other children in need.

This year, Zastrow’s eldest daughter worked with her Girl Scout Daisy troop to make a blanket and assemble a comfort kit. This 5 year old shared her story with her fellow troop members, telling them how she came to live with her adoptive mom, Chrys Zastrow. Her younger twin sisters clearly remembered their own comfort kits – taking to bed with them that night the very blankets they had received a few years before when they first arrived at the Zastrow home.

“Give a Little Love” demonstrated how much one person can greatly impact the lives of children in need at a critical moment in their lives.

Quarter Mania Event in Hudelson Raises over $2,000

Have you ever thought you could win a Miche bag for $1? How about two tickets to a comedy show for 50 cents? Or maybe a large, 2-topping pizza for just a quarter? On Friday, February 28, guests of our first ever Quarter Mania event did just that!

Quarter Mania, a quarter auction event, was held at the Effingham Elk’s Lodge and over 50 people attended. There were also 11 vendors present, selling items from Tastefully Simple, Thirty-One, Mary Kay and others. Each of the vendors donated at least one item to be “auctioned” and with any sales they made the night of the event, they donated a portion of the proceeds back to One Hope United.

Still wondering how this works? In short, paddles are purchased for $5 in order to gain entry to the event. As the auctioneers, Jayme Godoyo and Samantha Coffey, displayed items and stated the number of quarters needed to win the item, guests who wanted to “bid” put the specified number of quarters into a bucket at their table. The tickets were then mixed up and a number was pulled (like Bingo). The chosen paddle number then won the item (as long as they put their quarters in the bucket!). “All-in” paddles were also offered for $25 and guests who purchased these paddles did not have to throw in their quarters – they were automatically “in” for every round.

Because of the generosity of the Kohl’s Cares program, five volunteers from the Effingham store were on hand to help at the event. We will also be receiving a check from Kohl’s for $500.

Guests had a great time at the event and we have already been approached about when the next Quarter Mania event will be! In total, over $2,300 in-kind was donated for the event and nearly $2,200 in cash was raised to benefit One Hope United programs. Thank you to all who attended or helped to make the event possible.
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Fishing Derby at Lake Villa brings new experiences to youth

One Hope United’s Lake Villa campus hosted its second annual ice fishing derby on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. The event brings together world famous fishermen and boys in the CARE/Day School program for a day of fun and fishing on the campus lake!

This year, the derby was sponsored by the Fox River Valley Muskie Association and Cabella’s donated huts, heaters, hand warmers and bait for the volunteers and 18 boys in treatment.

Tony Boshold, a world champion ice fisherman attend and instructed the boys in the fundamentals of ice fishing. U.S. Champion Ice Fisherman Mike McNett also volunteered. One Hope United Board Member Cindy Lusignan and volunteer Nancy Miller donated lunch for all the participants. One Hope United Board Member Howard Schnitzer and his wife Chris donated coffee and donuts for the fisherman before they made their way out on the ice. Bonnie Lederman and Joyce Heneberry also volunteered their time at this event, in addition to many others.

Thanks to all who helped make this a memorable day for the boys receiving treatment. Many shared their thoughts about the experience:

Josh, a boy in the residential program, caught three fish. He said, “The best part was catching the most fish. I learned how to ice fish. There was no bad thing about the fishing derby.  It was fun.”

Shamar said, “The best part was catching the fish in a small hole. I learned how to ride a four-wheeler.” 

Kevin said the best part was “when we went on the snowmobile. I learned how to be patient.” 

Reggie said, “Hanging out with everyone on the water was fun. I learned how to catch fish on the ice. I loved it.”

Mason was glad that his confusion about which fisherman there was named Cabela was cleared up because he was so glad the company had donated so much.  He said, “I enjoyed riding a snowmobile for the first time.

Sunshine Coach arrives in Hudelson

Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis awarded another Sunshine Coach to One Hope United’s Hudelson Region. 

The van, valued at $31,323, will be used for clients served by the Collinsville office through Family Support Services and Transportation and Visitation. The vans were awarded at the Champions for Children Summit in St. Louis on November 12, and officially released to One Hope United on Friday, January 24.