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!

The Power of Partnership: USA Ice Team Joins One Hope United for an Unforgettable Day

On a chilly winter morning, a group of USA Ice Team pros headed out on frozen Deep Lake, a private lake in the Chicago suburbs. The pros, known for their skills on the ice and their love of the sport, had come equipped with all the tools and equipment they’d need to make sure the day on the ice was a success. The team regularly competes in ice fishing tournaments across the globe but on this frosted-over day they were setting up for a different kind of challenge – teaching a group of boys from the Ermit L. Finch Residential Campus how to ice fish.

As the sun began rising, the pros continued to work while the boys finished up their breakfast and trickled into the conference space to get an introduction to ice fishing from world champion fisherman, Tony Boshold. With their ice fishing questions answered and an understanding of safety on the ice, the boys picked up their “snackleboxes” and eagerly trudged down the hill to meet the rest of the pros on the frozen lake with OHU Hope Members and volunteers.

Cautiously walking on the ice, the boys inspected the lake for themselves and then the ice fishing lessons began with learning to use an auger to drill holes in the ice. Working one-on-one with the pros, the boys learned about the different types of bobbers and how to read temperature and depth gauges to find the best spots to fish. Within minutes of the first line being dropped in the water, one boy pulled a Sun Perch out of the water.

“What a great event! I loved that every child had one-on-one time with adults that weren’t staff, and I’m certain that it is always beneficial for children to see adults working together,” said Scott Moeller, an OHU Board Director volunteering at the event. “I also love the “snackleboxes” and the confidence that the boys gained throughout the day.”

But the day wasn’t just about catching fish. The boys also had the opportunity to learn about the importance of conservation, how to properly measure and handle their catches, and how to fillet a fish. After a morning on the ice, they enjoyed a delicious lunch, including a fried fish appetizer, and won prizes for the biggest catch and the most catches. The day was filled with laughter, excitement, and new experiences that the boys will never forget.

“One of the most poignant moments was when Scott Moeller asked the boys if they had any ‘fish tales’,” said Cindy Miller-Lusignan, an OHU Board Director. “We heard from one boy that his patience and grasp of the instruction on equipment really paid off. He fished with no success for the entire morning, then he moved to the fishing shanty that had the world-class electronic fish-finding equipment. He figured out how to use the sonar device, locate fish, and catch a good size fish at the end of the fishing derby. He was so thankful to Mike McNett for his strategic help in reeling in his catch.”

Events like this ice fishing derby are just one of the many ways that OHU is partnering with other organizations and the community to make a positive impact on the lives of children and families. By partnering with OHU, individuals and businesses alike have the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in their communities. Whether through donations, volunteering, or sponsoring an event like this one, there are countless ways to get involved and support OHU’s mission.

“Additionally, I think that anytime that we can expose children to positive experiences beyond their own world, it helps them as they work through their traumas,” said Moeller.

If you’re looking for a way to give back and make a difference in the lives of children, consider partnering with OHU. Together, we can ensure that every child has the opportunity to live life without limits.

Top Box Foods & One Hope United Distribute 200 Thanksgiving Meal Kits

By noon last week on Friday, cars lined South Ernie Krueger Circle and spilled onto Sunset Avenue as they made their way to Busy Bee Children’s Center. Families excitedly waved as they waited for the “Thanksgiving Dinner Box Giveaway” event to start, an event hosted by Top Box Foods and One Hope United to distribute 200 free meal kits to families in Waukegan, Illinois, and the surrounding area.

This pop-up event was one of many created by Top Box Foods, a Chicagoland nonprofit. With more than 33 million people in the U.S. living in food-insecure households, the nonprofit partnered with other local organizations and sponsors to share Thanksgiving meal kits with communities in an effort to combat food insecurity during the holiday season. Across the U.S. the price of food is steadily on the rise due to factors like the increased cost of fuel. This year alone, the average cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner increased 20% from last year, according to data from the Farm Bureau’s annual survey report.

OHU’s Early Learning and Child Development’s Director of Programs, Shanta Payton said, “Since COVID, communities such as Waukegan are seeing an increase in unemployment and food insecurity. A recent Community Needs Assessment completed by Start Early showed that 38.2% of families in Waukegan live in extreme poverty. Some families we serve do not have the financial resources to afford food which is why this event is so important.”

The community support in Waukegan was felt by everyone from the event organizers greeting guests to the attendees that shared the event and carpooled with friends to Busy Bee Children’s Center. Even with freezing temperatures and a few snowflakes, Hope Members were all smiles as they unloaded hundreds of boxes from the Top Box Foods truck. As families drove up to the giveaway station, Hope Members loaded up their cars with two boxes filled with Thanksgiving meal kits that included a frozen whole chicken, dry goods, and produce.

“Top Box Foods is a well-respected company that aims to provide families with healthy, affordable food. This is well-needed for the families we serve. We look forward to partnering with this organization again in the future,” Payton said.

A special thank you to the event sponsors, Humana and the American Diabetes Association. Because of their generous support, this event was possible!

Let’s take action to fight food insecurity this holiday season. Need ideas?

  • Volunteer at your local food bank, meal center, or with an organization like Top Box Foods. Find your local food bank by calling 2-1-1 or by visiting 211.org.
  • Donate food or supplies to your local food bank. Many food banks operate off donations. Check with the food bank to find out what items (e.g. dry goods, produce, dairy, and frozen meats) are most needed.
  • Organize your own food drive. Ask your friends and family to collect canned food and dry goods and donate to your local food bank.

To learn more about our upcoming community events follow One Hope United on Facebook.

 

About Top Box Foods

Top Box Foods is a year-round resource for affordable, nutritious fresh fruit, vegetables, and proteins for anyone and everyone who want to bring healthy food home, and help their neighbors do the same. As a nonprofit community-based organization, Top Box Foods focuses its work in food deserts to increase access to healthy and affordable food with the help of great neighborhood partners, the crucial involvement of volunteers, and generous corporate sponsors. For more information or to find a Top Box Foods location near you go to www.topboxfoods.com.

Hope In Action Gala

On October 24, One Hope United’s Board of Directors will host its signature fundraising event, the Hope In Action Gala. The theme this year is “A Legacy of Life Without Limits” which celebrates and recognizes the organization’s 125 years of impacting, serving, and investing in children and families.

The event will be held at the Epiphany Center For The Arts, at 201 S. Ashland Ave. The building, which is the site of the historic Church of the Epiphany, is currently being restored, and will be a center for entertainment, events, and art.

This year, One Hope United will recognize Jeanne Ward and Bill Taylor, with the Leadership in Giving Award, and Joyce and Rich Heneberry, with the Ermit Finch Impact Award.

After Hope In Action, the official after-event, Hope After Dark, which is hosted by the One Hope United Chicago Ambassador Board, will be held in the downstairs event space at Epiphany Center For The Arts.

Please visit https://onehopeinaction.org/ for more information about the program, to sponsor the event, or to purchase tickets to attend.

Giving Tuesday is Tomorrow!

On December 3rd, Giving Tuesday, One Hope United will inspire generosity by encouraging the community to directly support the children, and families they serve.

One Hope United joined the Giving Tuesday movement in 2016, with a unique ask from those who support their mission of providing limitless lives for children, and families. One Hope United invites the community to purchase items from a Wishbook- which includes items such as a preschool scholarship, a bed for a child in foster care, and also the option to purchase the entire Wishbook.

Visit www.Wishbook.OneHopeUnited.org and support the impactful work of One Hope United!

One Hope United Presents Its Second Annual Duck Derby

One Hope United Kicks Off  “Where’s Waddle” Campaign for Second Annual Duck Derby.

What is a Duck Derby? Duck Derby puts the “fun” in fundraising! OHU’s Duck Derby benefits One Hope United and Florida’s Osceola County Public Schools. As our second year participating in the Duck Derby, supporters from OHU and the OSPS system will race to get as many ducks as possible prior to Derby Day on February 1, 2020.

You can purchase ducks for $5 each or in fun packs where you can buy more at one time. Each duck adopted directly enhances OHU’s services  to create limitless lives for the children and families we serve in Florida and in communities across multiple states. $1 goes to OCPS for every duck that gets adopted and the remaining proceeds will go to OHU.

The Duck Derby also benefits families in Osceola County, sharing the joy and excitement of a friendly duck race, but also championing a philanthropic cause that supports local children and families.

Before the big race, our ducks will be traveling all around the world in our search of “Where’s Waddle”. Stay tuned for their latest whereabouts by following their journey on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

 

 

 

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 including early education, foster care, adoption, residential, and other support services. What began in 1895 as a children’s home in Chicago now serves 9,000 children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida and employs nearly 800 passionate and talented professionals. For more information, please visit https://onehopeunited.org.

Pathfinders Helps Preschooler Heal From Exposure To Domestic Abuse

Innovative therapeutic program helps preschool children cope with difficult emotions and lead more positive lives.

When Lucy*, 5, first arrived at One Hope United’s Elgin Child & Family Resource Center, she was extremely sensitive to loud noises, covering her ears and experiencing severe anxiety whenever another child would cry out—which, at a child care center, can be often. When she was frustrated or experienced even the slightest discipline, “she would scream at the top of her lungs, as if she were afraid for her life,” pounding on the wall and stomping her feet, her mother, Krista*, explains. “I knew right away I needed help.”

Lucy’s behavior was related to traumas she had experienced as a very young child. She witnessed physical abuse by her biological father toward her mother, and while he never physically harmed Lucy, when she would have tantrums as a 2- and 3-year-old, hewould rush toward her with raised fists in an attempt to make herto stop. “She went through a lot,” Krista says.

While those traumas were fortunately in the past, their effects were disrupting Lucy’s education and potentially that of her classmates. In addition, adverse childhood experiences can have long-term effects on children’s health, behavior, and life potential. It’s for children like Lucy that One Hope United began Pathfinders, a unique program that combines aspects of our family counseling programs with our early childhood education centers to help children cope with negative emotions and adopt healthier behaviors.

Pathfinders therapist Tara Cassidy says the program is a collaboration with the child, their family, and their teacher.

Sometimes it’s the teacher who notices an issue and alerts Tara, who will then engage the child’s family to offer support, which is covered through private insurance or Medicaid. She will observe and engage with the child in the classroom, with their family, and in individual sessions, and craft a treatment plan that often involves the family due to the child’s young age. The evidence-based treatment is called Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency.

One boy who was predisposed to depression learned deep breathing and created a book of coping skills. “On one page he put all the things that he liked to do, so if he was feeling down, he could just go in his book and see, ‘I could go ride my bike,I could go take a walk,’ things that would help him get out of a low mood,” Tara says.

Another child who struggled with tantrums learned to express her emotions and tell her loved ones why she was upset. Her coping skills included coloring and walking the dog—a therapy dog that was part of her treatment. Tara also taught her family to recognize when the girl needed help and step in with an activity. “Because they’re so young, sometimes they don’t just say, ‘I need to go use a coping skill,’” she says.

It’s important to make the sessions and treatment fun so the kids will want to continue. “They may think we’re just playing, but we’re really doing therapy,” Tara says. “If they don’t have fun, they won’t want to be there, and they won’t learn as much. People learn better when they’re enjoying it.”

Krista says that Lucy is “a completely different little girl” as a result of Pathfinders. Through the program, Lucy has increased her self-esteem, developed confidence, grown more talkative,made more friends, and no longer covers her ears at loud noises. “I can’t say enough how amazing the program has been for my daughter. It changed her life and gave her the chance for a much better life altogether.”

Pathfinders is also offered One Hope United’s Aurora Early Learning Center and Joliet Early Learning Center, and could expand to more, which Tara would be happy to see. “This is the first program I’ve been in where the kids are so little, and it’s great,” she says. “The earlier you help them, the better off they’ll be.”

*Name has been changed.

One Hope United Honored at 2019 Illinois Centennial Awards

JACKSONVILLE, IL – As we prepare to enter our 125th year,  One Hope United was honored at Illinois State Historical Society’s 35th annual Centennial Business Awards luncheon at Jacksonville’s Hamilton’s Catering and banquet hall facility.

“It is an honor and privilege to recognize and celebrate the achievement of these unique businesses and organizations that have achieved the centennial milestone,” said ISHS executive director William Furry. “Fewer than 10 percent of all corporations survive 100 years, and those that do have done so with great sacrifice. They have also persevered economic downturns, recessions, personal losses, and enormous changes in the industry. Their resilience, and not a little luck, made all the difference. To each of them, we extend our best wishes for the next 100 years.”
Representatives from each of the recipients Centennial Award businesses received a certificate with the ISHS Centennial Seal signed by President Dan Monroe and Executive Director William Furry. Tim Snowden, Executive Director for Community Based Family Services, accepted the award on One Hope United’s behalf.

Other businesses that received the Centennial Business Award for 2019 are:

Schmale Insurance Company
Loyola Press
American Legion Post 279
Bound to Stay Bound Books
Hamilton’s Catering
Routt Catholic High School
Western Illinois University
Petersburg Monument Company
Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Rock Island Public Library
The Village of Rochester
Illinois Education Association
Cover Insurance Company
Stark County Old Settlers Association
Wyoming Monument Company
Chisolm Boyd, & White Company
State Bank of Lakes
J.C. Schultz Enterprises, Inc.
Egyptian Workplace Partners
U.A.S. Local 99 Plumbers and Pipefitters
Buena Vista National Bank
House of Glunz
Fox River Grove
Mason County Democrat
Zenith Electronics, L.L.C.
Roseview Flowers
H.J. Eppel and Company, Inc.
Anderson’s Candy Company, Inc.
Scot Forge
Randolph Mutual Insurance

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 including early education, foster care, adoption, residential, and other support services. What began in 1895 as a children’s home in suburban Chicago now serves 10,000 children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida and employs nearly 800 passionate and talented professionals. For more information, please visit https://onehopeunited.org.

75 Champaign-Area Youth to Receive Foster Care Services Through One Hope United

ABOVE: (From Left to Right) One Hope United Champaign employees Carla Bradford, Elizabeth Stonum, Karen Kietzmann, Katie Arnold, Laken Waltz and Myriam Molina

CHAMPAIGN, IL – One Hope United is now providing foster care services to 75 youth in four Central Illinois Counties,  to ensure they are properly cared for in their transitional foster home and to help them achieve a permanent home, whether they are returned their birth parents, another guardian, or an adoptive family. The new services cover the counties of Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion.

One Hope United, with offices throughout Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Florida, is widely respected throughout Central Illinois as a high-quality provider of foster care services, including its strong track record of helping youth find permanent homes. In nearby Charleston, where One Hope United has provided services for decades, the organization currently exceeds the goals set by child welfare officials to find permanent families for youth in foster care.

To encourage potential foster parents to learn about One Hope United, the organization is welcoming the community to an Open House on Friday, August 2nd, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at 1902 Fox Drive, Suite E, Champaign, Illinois (217-850-0500). Community members are invited to drop in, meet the staff, enjoy light refreshments, and learn more about the services, including the process of becoming a foster parent or family.

“There is a shortage of foster parents nationwide, and we want to encourage more individuals and couples to become foster moms and dads,” said Charles A. Montorio-Archer, President and CEO of One Hope United.  “Our new presence in the Champaign area reflects our vision: For every child and family, a life without limits,” said Montorio-Archer.

“Foster parents play an indispensable role in helping our children reach permanency,” says Lindsey Hoover, director of One Hope United’s foster care programs in Charleston and now Champaign. “Through their patience, love and compassion, they provide a safe and secure environment for the children we serve.” Foster parents may also be a permanency option themselves, Hoover adds, as foster care can be a path to adoption.

Champaign-area individuals and families interested in fostering who cannot attend the open house should contact One Hope United’s licensing manager, Myriam Molina, at mmolina1@onehopeunited.org or 217-508-6388.

To get acquainted with area residents, One Hope United employees, supporters, and youth will participate in Run Mahomet on Saturday, August 3, 2019. For the second straight year, the “Run Hope United” team will run the race benefitting the Mahomet Area Youth Club.

“Last year’s ‘Run Hope United’ was a great way for the One Hope United community to bond while supporting a cause that we all believe in – children,” says Tim Snowden, Executive Director of Community-Based Family Services, which include foster care. “We are thrilled to be participating in Run Mahomet for the second year, this time as a service provider in the community.”

Race attendees and spectators are encouraged to say hello to the Run Hope United team and learn how they can support area children through the organization’s foster care program.

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 including early education, foster care, adoption, residential, and other support services. What began in 1895 as a children’s home in suburban Chicago now serves 9,000 children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida and employs nearly 800 passionate and talented professionals. For more information, please visit https://onehopeunited.org.

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