A Letter from a Dedicated Supporter of One Hope United

Three years ago we were invited to Dining 2 Donate. We believe in One Hope United’s mission and wanted to support their fundraising efforts. Every year since then, Dining 2 Donate at Applebee’s falls on our daughter’s birthday so now it is tradition for us to come together at Applebee’s to celebrate not only another precious milestone for our little girl, but to celebrate the hard work and efforts made by those involved with One Hope United. We are proud to support Dining 2 Donate and will continue to include our dinner at Applebee’s as a birthday tradition. We believe that no matter what the cause, together we can all work together to make a difference in the lives of others.

In our hearts, we honestly believe that our daughter celebrating her birthday at Dining 2 Donate is symbolic of the innocence of children, them being loved, taken care of and being able to experience happiness as they reach different milestones in their lives.

It is a reminder of what One Hope United is striving to achieve in the lives of so many children. It would be amazing if every child in the world could be surrounded with as much love as she is. Her smile touches the hearts of so many. When family members can’t and are not providing this to a child or children, the wonderful One Hope United family steps up and dedicates themselves to these children. They work to ensure a better future for these children.

Thank you One Hope United for caring.


Baxter supports One Hope United's child abuse prevention programs

Pictured: Amy Monroe, Scott Moeller and Danette Williamson

April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Baxter partnered with One Hope United to raise awareness of this important cause and unfortunate issue throughout the communities of Lake County. One Hope United, a nonprofit human services agency, helps prevent child abuse by providing intensive support services to families at risk of abuse and neglect. Last year, the nonprofit agency served more than 4,500 families through child abuse prevention programs, and 98 percent of families served had no reports of abuse or neglect.

Baxter has been an avid supporter of the nonprofit and raised more than $1,585 in April to prevent child abuse. By holding a “Wear Blue Jeans for Blue Ribbon Month” event, Baxter’s McGaw Park office raised more than $1,100 and its Round Lake facility raised nearly $500.

In addition, several Baxter staff members including Amy Monroe, Danette Williamson and Scott Moeller, a board member at One Hope United, served on the planning committee for the nonprofit agency’s huge Blue Ribbon Month fundraiser, which brought in nearly $100,000 for the agency this year. The theme this year was “Swing into Spring” and featured guest speaker Sheri Salata, President/Harpo Studios and Executive Producer/”The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Danette was also named One Hope United – Northern Region’s 2010 “Volunteer of the Year,” after leading two major donation campaigns at Baxter for the nonprofit and for recruiting her follow employees to help the agency.

“Danette has been a tireless advocate for our mission and has spearheaded two major donation drives a year for One Hope United,” said Marilee LaMattina, One Hope United development associate. “She organized the holiday gift drive for the last four years, providing gifts for more than 100 children each year and organized the back to school drive for the last three years, providing backpacks for more than 50 children.”

Meet this week's Everyday Hero: Ramona DiFoggio

Ramona DiFoggio
Office Manager
Northern Region/Chicago, IL
Mona joined the One Hope United team on Sept. 4, 1979. 

What is your typical day like?
My days are anything but typical here at the Bridgeport Center, and they are pretty much driven as I begin to open my emails in conjunction with my regular daily office duties. My position supports three Cook County centers daily, and I process and maintain the child care food program for our ten child care centers. In addition, I meet with all new hires and process their HR packets for three Cook County sites and supervise four office personnel.

Why did you choose to go into this field and work for One Hope United, in particular?
I guess my story is a little different then most, in 1977, I came to this center when it was owned by the Salvation Army. I was a young single mother of two sons and needed child care services. I filled out a waiting list application and waited 9 months to get that important call. I came in to start the paperwork process only to find out that I had to be employed first to be able to place my children. I was devastated, as a Licensed Cosmetologist, I was planning to open a hair salon and to work on the details of starting and opening a business. The Director, at the time, informed me that she had a part-time position available for a secretary/parent coordinator in the afternoons and that it would help me to get my children into the day care center. So, I immediately said, yes!

Unfortunately, two years later the Salvation Army decided to sell the center and the parents were so devastated that they contacted the local news media and they came out to interview the parents and Director, the story appeared in the Sun-Times also. The Program Administrator of One Hope United, previously Central Baptist Children’s Home, read the article in the newspaper and decided to send their Chicago Program Administrator to meet with the Salvation Army’s Commander, Major Boyer, and maybe purchase the center. I will never forget that day when I saw the Program Administrator come up those front stairs and announce where he was from, that was the real “hope” for our families and staff. We all waited patiently to hear any news that this organization was going purchase our center. We got word, shortly thereafter, that they were very interested and did purchase it. The families of the center were elated and very grateful to the Agency that they did not lose their center.

As the details were being handled I was asked to stay on and assist with the hiring process and assisting with some of the licensing details. The Bridgeport Child Development Center opened on September 4, 1979. Hence, the rest is history. I guess it is safe to say that this is where my journey began and 32 years later…I have never looked back.

One Hope United’s foundation is built upon results, leadership, collaboration, innovation and hope. What do these mean to you as an OHU employee? Which impacts you the most?
I would have to say that purchasing the center took all of the above. So many families have benefited by just that one day in time. The Agency’s determination to embrace so many challenges every day within the life of families and children would not be possible if so many wonderful and caring individuals before us did not carve the way. OHU continues to raise their standards by striving to stay above the ever changing and challenging needs of families they serve. Not to mention, building better and brighter tomorrows for every family they have the opportunity to reach every day. I say, those are pretty remarkable results and hope for so many families who need their support.

Is there a particular success story that sticks out in your mind?
Periodically, previous clients come back to visit the Bridgeport Center. One family in particular came to visit a few months ago and before me stood two 6 foot tall young men and their mother. Both young men just wanted to visit their old preschool and school age rooms and reminisce talking about the “good old days” and the fun they had. Today, each young man is in college working toward his bachelor’s degree; their mother very proudly stated how wonderful everyone was and how comforting she felt knowing that her children were learning so many wonderful things in a nurturing and trusting environment. She couldn’t have done it without us!

What are some of your hobbies?
I have so many things I love to do and not enough time to do them all. I am studying piano music, I enjoy going to different music concerts, I am a lector for weekly mass, exercising as often as I can, golf, cooking, scrap booking, learning some Cantonese and Italian along the way and most of all spending time with my family and grandchildren.

What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was “The Gift” the Ben Carson story.

Any upcoming travel plans?
My husband and I like to travel and we are planning a 2012 family trip to Rome, Italy.

“Everyday Heroes” features a random staff member each week. It is not tied to employee recognition systems; it is simply a way to remind staff that we are all everyday heroes dedicated to the same mission and vision.

Let’s Get Fit and Healthy!

Bridgeport Child Development Center received a grant from Head Start Body Start this school year which allowed us to add additional equipment to our rooftop playground. The grant also provides training from Head Start Body Start for teachers about the benefits of gross motor activities, both indoor and out.

On Feb. 18, 2011, Enid Chesler from Head Start Body Start conducted a training for the teachers of BPI. During the training, teachers were given new ideas for gross motor activities.

They were able to participate in some activities to help meet our physical objectives, as well as have a great time in the process. Families can learn more about Head Start Body Start and utilize many wonderful resources by visiting www.headstartbodystart.org.

Youngest Volunteer of the Blue Ribbon Committee Prepares her Live Auction Items

Check out Abby Bergl, the youngest member of the Blue Ribbon Committee, preparing her live auction items for Swing into Spring at TribLocal.com.

It is the last week to buy tickets for the 8th Annual Blue Ribbon Event in Lake Villa, Illinois.  Reserve  your tickets here: www.onehopeunited.wpengine.com/blueribbonevent.

Illinois Governor's Volunteer Service Award Bestowed on OHU Foster Grandparents

The One Hope United Foster Grandparent program is delighted to announce that two of our program volunteers were awarded with the 2011 Illinois Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. There were 150 nominations throughout the State of Illinois and only 25 award recipients. These awards recognize individual volunteers through a statewide award program to highlight the importance of volunteerism and community service in the State of Illinois. The Mt. Vernon and Springfield, IL Foster Grandparent programs were honored that their volunteers received this meaningful award. The program volunteers were invited to bring guests to the luncheon held at the Governor’s Mansion and were then honored at the awards ceremony to follow.

Jean Dominguez, Mt. Vernon Foster Grandparent, and Beverly Bazemore, Springfield Foster Grandparent, were the deserving recipients of this award to honor their dedication and commitment to community service and serving children through the One Hope United Foster Grandparent program.
Congratulations to Jean Dominguez and Beverly Bazemore, the Mt. Vernon/Springfield Foster Grandparent program is so proud of all our volunteers’ hard work and are honored by this recognition!

Chicago Young Professionals Raise More Than $500 for OHU at Maven Presents Suit Up

More than $500 was raised for One Hope United to kick-off Blue Ribbon Month at Maven Presents Suit Up, a Chicago-area business networking event. Thanks to the members of the Auxiliary Board (pictured) who came out to support the agency at Bull & Bear in Chicago for the evening on Wednesday, March 30.

Thanks to Sarah Vargo of Maven and LTS Chicago for selecting One Hope United to benefit from the monthly networking event.

Pictured: Jake Kurowski, Residency Pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital; Whitney Overturf, Storage Solution Architect at CDW; and Jonathan Ziebarth,Associate at Golub Capital.

Edgewater Early Learning Center Art Fair Preparation

On March 17, Edgewater Early Learning Center hosted an Art Fair in all the classrooms and in the hallways. In preparation, the children learned about many famous artists. One of the artists was Michelangelo, who’s work includes the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. In the picture, the children are “painting” under the tables, pretending as if they were the ceiling. The Chicago day care center offers programs for toddler/twos, preschool, school age and summer camp (for ages 6-12 years).

Room 206 preparing for the Art Fair.

Busy Bee Children's Center: Bunches o’ Books!

Busy Bee Children’s Center was the recipient of brand new books courtesy of Joy Lutheran Church, USborne Books and Educational Consultant Kristin Carpenter (www.ReachForABook.com). The books will be divided up between all 8 classrooms at the Waukegan child care center and put to good use. We are so appreciative to have new books for our classrooms; our children love to read and be read to. Thank you so much Joy Lutheran Church and Ms. Carpenter!

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