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Variety awards Hudelson Region a coach van

Hudelson Region was awarded another Sunshine Coach van from Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis! Keys to the van ( valued at $31,323) were given to Family Support Services Supervisor Brionne Rhodes at the Champions for Children Summit on November 12. Hudelson Region filled two tables at the event and enjoyed special guest appearances by David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals and this year’s Champion for Children, Ken Page, a Broadway actor.

The Sunshine Coach will be used by the Collinsville Family Support and Visitation staff for transporting families in the programs. This is a great gift for the families as well as the staff who were previously using their personal vehicles to transport families. This van was much-needed, and staff are really excited to start using it in the next couple of weeks.
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The Spirit of Resiliency

By: Lauren Parker Prekop, Florida Region Adoptions Case Manager

Resiliency: an occurrence of rebounding or springing back; a movement back from an impact.

-American Heritage Dictionary

No one better exemplifies resiliency than the children and teens in our foster care system!

Losing a family, whether temporarily or permanently, is one of the most difficult experiences in a young person’s life, and one which will leave an indelible impact on their life. If there is no appropriate relative or family friend to help, the child must move to an environment completely unfamiliar to them: a “foster home” or “group home”. Even with genuine and welcoming foster parents or group home staff, the child or children will likely still feel like they are in a stranger’s home. Once there, they must try to adapt the best they can, while building a life with a new family.

Yet, despite all of this, children and teens in the foster care system have a lesson to teach us all! Overcoming a number of obstacles and hardships, these young people still go on, and they go strong! Spend time with these amazing kids and it quickly becomes apparent that their spirits will not be dampened.

Service workers at One Hope United witness this strength, as they spend a lot of time with these kids, particularly while transporting them to a visitation with a parent, a therapy appointment, a court hearing, or, maybe even an adoption event (if the child or teen is available for adoption). These opportunities can be some of the best times to get to know a young person.  It is during this time that a lot of them will open up and talk about their feelings related to foster care or discuss their future goals. Some may sing loudly to the radio and dance around to the latest hit song.  It’s inspiring to see how happy and expressive some can be, despite all of the negative things they’ve encountered in their life. 

Many of the kids also have incredible talents, especially the teens.  In a court hearing they might boldly share a thing or two about themselves with the Magistrate. Some aren’t shy at all and will speak their mind. At a news event while seeking forever families, these teens might perform a dance they choreographed while being filmed by a news crew. At an adoption event, they may be the star of an improvised skit. On the basketball court, they may be the player with the most points for the game. They could also be the star of their high school football team. Other kids create art, write heartfelt poetry, cook gourmet meals, or help around the house in some other capacity.

The number of ways in which the children and teens in our foster care system express themselves is limitless! We salute the beautiful spirit in each and every one of them.

Discover volunteers put muscle into renovating One Hope United campus

From The Daily Herald:

Two hundred volunteers from Discover and Chicago Cares gave a serious makover Friday to One Hope United’s 36-acre campus in Lake Villa.

The campus houses 30 boys ages 10-18, most of whom have experienced severe abuse. One Hope United provides counseling, therapy and individualized educational services with a goal to transition the boys to live with a family in the community. The campus also has a therapeutic day school for 45 boys in grades 7-12.

Read more here.

WGN-TV features OHU revving up for Big Wheel charity race

WGN-TV: One Hope United supporter Marco Foster, founder of Chicago Models, will lead OHU’s Big Wheel racing team as part of the Tour de Grid fundraiser benefiting eight local charities! The event takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at The Grid, 351 W. Hubbard St., Chicago. Buy tickets here. Watch WGN’s news segment featuring OHU and other participants preparing for the race here.

One Hope United opens new Mt. Vernon location

From the Mt. Vernon Register-News: One Hope United opened a new, consolidated location in Mt. Vernon, Ill. The agency purchased a building at 4110 N. Water Tower Place and will hold an open house to celebrate the opening from 3 to 5 p.m. on July 15. One Hope United formerly operated two separate offices in Mt. Vernon. It serves nearly 400 children and families in the area each year. Read more here.

Foster families provide children 'strength and love'

ohu-nwherald-4From the Northwest Herald: McHenry County foster parents Dan and Connie Jensen of Algonquin, Ill., and Mark and Kate Detwiler of Woodstock, Ill., are highlighted in this article for National Foster Care Month. “We’re here to build [the children] up and give them strength and love and positivity so they can move forward,” Dan Jensen said. One Hope United helps place foster children in the county and is quoted in the article. Read it here. Photo by Lathan Goumas, Shaw Media.

Foster grandparents giving back to their communities

Pictured: Foster Grandparent Volunteer Jack Sunderlik.
Pictured: Foster Grandparent Volunteer Jack Sunderlik.

From Naperville Patch: In the article, “Finding One’s Self in Serving Others,” columnist Tim Mitchinson writes about how the Foster Grandparent Program benefits the children served and the seniors who volunteer to participate. “Our volunteers become family,” said Gloria Monahan, One Hope United’s foster grandparent program director in Springfield, Ill. “I’ve always felt that the purpose of life is a life of purpose,” added foster grandparent volunteer Jack Sunderlik. Read the full article here.

Foster grandparents put smiles on children's faces with homemade cards

ohu-fostergrandparents-cardsFrom the Mt. Vernon Register-News: Foster grandparents from One Hope United’s Hudelson Region created homemade cards for children with life-threatening illnesses as part of Senior Corps Week activities that occurred throughout Illinois. “The card will put a smile on a child’s face,” said Foster Grandparent Volunteer Cyndy Dycus. Read the article here. Photo by Mt. Vernon Register-News