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Kraft volunteers beautify, organize games at Busy Bee

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Busy Bee Children’s Center recently welcomed employees from Kraft Foods Group Inc. to their campus, where they beautified the center’s grounds and created an Olympics Day for the children. 

Thirteen Kraft employees weeded and planted perennials and organized games, including an obstacle course, leap frog, bowling and freeze dance. 

The employees from Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods were sent as part of a Chicago Cares volunteer day. Chicago Cares builds volunteer experiences that mobilize and inspire people to make Chicago a stronger community.

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Rodhe chairs Blue Ribbon Event

ohu-rodheOne Hope United held its 10th Annual Blue Ribbon Event Sunday, April 21, at the historic Lehmann Mansion in Lake Villa, Ill. We were honored to have Cecilia Rodhe (pictured) — mother of Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah and co-founder of the Noah’s Arc Foundation — as our honorary chair. Thank you to all who came out to support us. Click here to learn more about the great work Rodhe and Noah are doing to improve children’s lives.

Foster mom donates 'Comfort Kits'

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Forty foster children will receive welcoming “Comfort Kits” thanks to a recent donation from foster mom Chrys Zastrow to One Hope United — Northern Region.



The duffle bag kits, 20 for boys and 20 for girls, are filled with a handmade fleece blanket, small stuffed animal, toiletries, toothbrush and toothpaste, refillable water bottle and either a book or an art kit (depending on the child’s age).



Zastrow got the idea for the kits when her three foster daughters arrived last year from OHU on an emergency basis with only the clothes on their backs — and three similar “Comfort Kits” provided to OHU by a church in Gurnee, Ill. Those kits were handmade laundry bags stuffed with a blanket, stuffed animal and book and an outside pocket containing toiletries.

 Zastrow was so overwhelmed by the gift that she was inspired to make more and pay it forward.

Over the past year, Zastrow’s co-workers, family and friends helped her raise money for the kits through events such as lemonade stands and fun runs. She also received many donated items. For example, her dentist donated all the toothbrushes and toothpaste. Also, JoAnn Fabrics provided discounts on the fabric and Garvey discounted the duffle bags.



The “Comfort Kits,” provided to foster children who have been removed from their homes, can be picked up at OHU in Lake Villa.

Tampa-area five-sibling group in foster care finds forever home — together

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In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, One Hope United is highlighting the work it is doing to prevent child abuse, strengthen families and create healthy communities.

One Hope United helps families like the Morris* siblings.

The five siblings, ages 4 to 14, were living in Hillsborough County with their mother, who had a severe substance abuse problem and was unable to maintain their home. She did not consistently pay utility bills or keep up with housework. Their father was not involved with the family.

The Florida Department of Children and Families removed the children from the home. Because it is difficult to find one home to accommodate five siblings, they were separated for more than a month before finding a foster home to care for all of them.

Being apart from siblings can add to the trauma children experience when being moved from their homes.

 “Our ultimate goal is to keep siblings together because it continues to form that bond,” said Lasonja Houston, director of programs at One Hope United in Tampa. “It helps them grow as individuals to maintain their identity and their family.”

However, safety also is imperative. “We make sure we are doing all we can do to make sure that child is safe,” Houston said.

The Morris children were then moved for a short-term placement with the Harre family – which ultimately became a perfect fit.

 “We were babysitting for a week and fell in love with them,” said Tampa Bay-area resident Tammy Harre. She and her husband, Brian, live on a four-acre farm and have four biological children, two adopted children and one foster child.

All of the children urged their parents to keep them together. “Our biological kids and the oldest foster child wrote us a note asking if the Morris children could stay with us permanently,” Tammy Harre said.

The Harres easily fit the children into their family, giving them chores to do around the farm and enrolling them in classes such as gymnastics, dance and piano.

“If there’s someone in a child’s corner, they have the potential to do so much more,” Tammy Harre said.

Studies show that a supportive adult is key in a child’s ability to thrive as it aids in emotional and social competence.

Plans for reunifying the children with their parents fell through when the mother did not follow through with services and their father did not show up for court.Studies

The Harre family officially adopted the children in January.

“Now the children are secure in their family identity as they recognize that God has a plan for each of their lives,” Tammy Harre said.

One Hope United launched a digital Blue Ribbon Month campaign (www.BlueRibbonMonth.org) aimed at raising awareness and funds to support child abuse prevention programs and services. The website gives people a place to go to help raise awareness and financial support for One Hope United’s programs that prevent child abuse and prepare children for a prosperous future.  There are many ways to get involved: host a fundraiser at your school, church or work; spread the word on social media or by forwarding articles through email; and make a donation.

Follow One Hope United on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/1hopeunitedflorida and Twitter @1hopeunited. Use #1hope4kids when tweeting.

*Name changed for privacy.

About One Hope United: One Hope United is a private human-service organization that offers a diverse array of prevention, intervention and community-based programs. The agency serves thousands of children and families with a vision of ensuring the successful transition of our children to healthy and productive adults. For more information, visit www.onehopeunited.wpengine.com.

Teen parents gaining support, skills to lower risk for child abuse

 

One Hope United parenting classes help Dominique Perez feel "more comfortable about becoming a mother," she said. Pictured are Dominique and her daughters, Jada, 10, Jannell, 3, and newborn Justyce.
One Hope United parenting classes helped Dominique Perez feel “more comfortable about becoming a mother,” she said. Pictured are Dominique and her daughters, Jada, 10, Jannell, 3, and newborn Justyce.

CHICAGO (April 11, 2013)–In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, One Hope United is celebrating the work it is doing to prevent child abuse, strengthen families and create healthy communities. The agency also launched a digital campaign, http://www.BlueRibbonMonth.org, aimed at raising awareness and funds while highlighting One Hope United services and programs.

One Hope United programs help people like Waukegan, Ill., resident Dominique Perez.

Perez enrolled in the agency’s parenting classes at Waukegan Alternative/Optional Education Center when she became pregnant at 14.

“I was scared and I had no idea what I was doing,” she said.

More than 360,000 teen girls give birth each year in the United States. Teenage parents are at risk for abusing their children as they are confronted with the responsibilities of caring for a child. A lack of social support can contribute to the link between young parents and child abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Perez, now 25 and married with three children, is an example of how valuable services for at-risk families can be. Before becoming pregnant she was often in trouble and was moved to the alternative school after fighting at her previous school. One Hope United’s parenting classes helped Perez learn patience and how to communicate with her child, along with the basics such as changing diapers and breastfeeding.

“The classes made me more comfortable about becoming a mother,” said Perez, who was raised by her grandmother and uncle because her parents were young and not ready for parenthood.

Perez said her three girls, 10, 3 and 2 weeks old, benefit from the parenting skills she learned through One Hope United, including keeping them on a daily routine and setting boundaries.

These skills also are useful in her job. For the past three years, Perez has worked at One Hope United with her parenting class teacher, Carleen Otto, providing child care for parents while they attend classes. She uses her skills of patience, repetition and good communication when caring for the children, while also having fun and ensuring that they know they are in a safe environment, she said.

“It is just a pleasure and a joy to be around Dominique,” Otto said. “I’ve loved watching her grow into the woman she is today.” Otto, a parenting group facilitator, also feels lucky to have her on staff because she knows she can “always count on Dominique.”

In April and throughout the year, the Blue Ribbon Month Campaign website gives people a place to go to help raise awareness and financial support for One Hope United’s programs that prevent child abuse and prepare children for a prosperous future.  There are many ways to get involved: host a fundraiser at your school, church or work; spread the word on social media or by forwarding articles through email; or make a donation.

Follow One Hope United on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/1hopeunited and Twitter @1hopeunited. Use #1hope4kids when tweeting.

About One Hope United: One Hope United is a private human-service organization that offers a diverse array of prevention, intervention and community-based programs. The agency serves thousands of children and families with a vision of ensuring the successful transition of our children to healthy and productive adults. For more information, visit www.onehopeunited.wpengine.com.

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Services, support for at-risk families help create healthy communities

CHICAGO (April 1, 2013)–In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, One Hope United is launching a digital Blue Ribbon Campaign (www.BlueRibbonMonth.org) aimed at raising awareness and funds to support programs that keep children safe. Every April, people across the country wear blue ribbons in support of Child Abuse Prevention Month. 

Child abuse and neglect can have long-term effects on the development of a child. A safe, nurturing home and stable relationships contribute to healthy cognitive and emotional development, allowing children to thrive and become successful adults.

Child maltreatment also costs the nation billions of dollars per year, impacting healthcare, mental health, judicial and public health and social service systems, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 “One Hope United programs and services prevent child abuse by providing resources, support and strategies that strengthen at-risk families,” said Bill Gillis, president and CEO of One Hope United.  “Protecting children sets them on a path toward a successful adulthood and creates healthy, prosperous communities. “

Child abuse and neglect is a serious concern in the United States.

The Children’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports:

— More than 2 million allegations of child abuse or neglect were investigated by child protective services agencies in the United States in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2011.

— The highest rate of abuse and neglect occurs among children ages birth to 1 year old.

— It is nationally estimated that more than 1,500 children died from abuse or neglect in FFY 2011.

Join One Hope United in its efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect and prepare children for a prosperous future. To learn more, visit www.BlueRibonMonth.org.

Follow One Hope United on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/1hopeunited and Twitter @1hopeunited. Use #1hope4kids when tweeting.

About One Hope United: One Hope United is a private human-service organization that offers a diverse array of prevention, intervention and community-based programs. The agency serves thousands of children and families in Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin and Missouri with a vision of ensuring the successful transition of our children to healthy and productive adults. For more information, visit www.onehopeunited.wpengine.com.