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.

Youth in Centralia residential care program enjoy campout

Youth and staff from One Hope United’s residential care program in Centralia, Ill., stepped out of their normal routines to go camping last month at nearby Camp Maranatha.

OHU occupied two cabins at the camp in Ramsey, Ill., and male and female youth and staff took turns spending a night. Most of the youth had never camped before and staff enjoyed giving them this opportunity. “It was great to see them get to just be kids,” said Rachel Stransky, activity specialist at the care program.

Campers swam — using the campground’s giant waterslide and water trampoline — and also floated in canoes and paddle boats and fished.

In the evenings, they cooked meals over the campfire. Youth stayed up late to sit around the fire, eat s’mores and tell ghost stories. Some youth and staff also played a game of flashlight tag.

“It was great because we didn’t have to do our point sheets and we got to stay up late!” said one female youth who attended the campout.

Overall, it was a great experience and something youth and staff likely will not forget.

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 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

Students reach for the stars with foster grandparent’s merit program

Students at Ball Charter Elementary School in Springfield, Ill., pose with their portraits, drawn by foster grandparent volunteer Bassem Zaki.

Foster grandparent Bassem Zaki is encouraging student achievement at Ball Charter Elementary School in Springfield, Ill., with a new merit program.

Zaki, who is working closely with teachers to implement the program, joined his artistic abilities along with his passion for helping students to create the new system. He designed stars for each student, and when a student accumulates 50 star points, Zaki — with student permission — will draw and frame a portrait of that student, who can then take it home. The stars also can be used in the school store.

The teachers are pleased with Zaki’s creativity and commitment to helping them and their students. Zaki said he is happy to encourage excellence in scholastic achievement.

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.

Fabulous Fox Theatre donates Stomp! tickets to OHU clients

Boys and girls from the Hudelson Region residential treatment program were in for a loud Saturday night in January when they were given tickets to attend a performance of STOMP! at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

STOMP! is a percussion group that uses ordinary objects to create a musical experience that is not only fun to listen to, but exciting to watch.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre donated 25 tickets to the Family Support Workers, clients out of the Collinsville, Ill., office, and a few lucky staff members for the evening performance on Friday, Jan. 11, and another 25 tickets to the residential treatment staff and clients for the evening show on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Christina was one of the Collinsville clients who attended the Friday night show with her four children — Desi, Tommy, Ryan and Danny.

“It was the best show I’ve ever been to,” Christina said.

Her children agreed STOMP! was a lot of fun. “Those guys can dance,” Ryan said, and Danny added that it was the best night out he’d had in a long time. 

Jean-Ann Loyd-Cordevant, an OHU family support specialist who attended the Friday night show, said the show was incredible.

“The performers were unlike anything that I have ever seen before,” she said. “If it had not been for the generous gift from One Hope United, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience that. Thank you so much.”

Girl Scouts make blankets for children served by OHU

Pictured are Girl Scouts in Waltonville, Ill., with blankets they made for children served by One Hope United.
Girl Scout Troop No. 8866 in Waltonville, Ill., recently made blankets for children served by One Hope United’s SASS (Screening and Assessment Services) program. The troop was inspired to make the blankets after hearing a presentation about SASS by OHU-Hudelson caseworker Carol Whitehead. SASS is an intensive mental health program providing services to children with a mental illness or emotional disorder.

OHU employee gathers donations to help family in need

A family served by One Hope United in Collinsville, Ill., had an extra-special holiday this year thanks to Family Support Specialist Jean Ann Loyd-Cordevant.

Loyd-Cordevant works with a family with five children who were struggling to improve their lives but found it difficult as they needed basic items such as furniture, clothes, blankets, food and toys, said Supervisor Brionne Rhodes. 

Loyd-Cordevant took it upon herself to seek donations for this family. Members of the community worked with Loyd-Cordevant and Rhodes to donate furniture, and Loyd-Cordevant coordinated volunteers and spent her Saturday dropping off and furnishing the client’s home with new items. 

“I would do anything to help our families,” Loyd-Cordevant said. “This was such a nice donation, I could not let it slip by, especially for a family that really needs it. One Hope United is an amazing agency and I believe in what we do.” 

“We are so grateful and overwhelmed by the help from Jean Ann,” said OHU client Deidra, the mother of the family. 

Pictured are OHU client Deidra with her children and OHU Family Support Specialist Jean Ann Loyd-Cordevant.