Indiana State University Students Volunteer at One Hope United

Over the weekend, four volunteers from Indiana State University helped out at OHU. They helped out with office work, met with clients for inspiration and even taught Zumba! The group included three President’s Scholars at ISU, who as part of their scholarship, volunteer each semester. This group included Taryn Ash, Dierre Littleton and Madeline Webster, daughter of OHU’s Melissa Webster. Another student, Cyndney Eaton, an honor student and pre-med major, also volunteered.

Dierre said:
“I had an awesome time this weekend. I really enjoyed the experience, and talking with those children. It was one of the best things I ever got to do in life. Being able to talk to people who went through severe things like myself, and show them you’re not alone and you can make it is the best gift I can give to anyone. It was amazing, and also eye opening for myself as well to show that, I was fortunate to turn out the way I did because it could always be worse. But nevertheless it was my pleasure doing all the things I got to do this weekend. You are amazing, and the people you work with are as well. I believe you all make a huge difference in these kids’lives from what I saw. The job you have is awesome. Also can you send a personal thanks to MOMMA CAROL. She is the bomb, and so are Emily, Kayla, and Jim. It would be my honor to come back and help out whenever I am needed, after all I LOVE WORKING WITH CHILDREN. I believe it’s one of my callings in life. I could go on and on but I think I covered the basics. Basically THANKS A MILLION!”

Family Receives Donated Christmas Gifts From Generous Hudelson Region Donor

A family participating in the Hudelson Region’s Intact program was the recipient of Christmas gifts from a donor who has supported the region for several years. This family is very blessed this Christmas season and had a great holiday due to One Hope United’s wonderful donors!

One Hope United Hudelson Holds 2011 Annual Meeting in Fairview Heights IL

One Hope United Hudelson held their annual meeting on Nov. 5 at the Four Points Sheraton in Fairview Heights,IL. The regular board meeting was held at 10:00 a.m., and the Annual Meeting started at 12:00p.m. with a buffet luncheon.  After the business meeting, William Hudelson Community Partnership awards were presented (by the staff member who nominated them) to individuals and organizations who support OHU throughout the Hudelson Region.  President/CEO Bill Gillis, Executive Director Pat Griffith and Board Member Bill Beck also gave remarks during the meeting.


Dan Hamment, Cathy Turner, Board Member Wayne Turner, Board Member Linda Schneider

Bill Beck

Bill Gillis

William Hudelson Community Partnership award winners: left to right – Kim Peek, University of Illinois; Patty Brough & Tina Suarez, Business and Professional Women of Centralia; Joyce Porter, Centralia Public Library; Mike Miller, Character’s Bookstore

Buffet line

OHU Staff Member Completes Training as Registered Play Therapist

Recently, Amy Overmyer, a therapist with One Hope United, completed training to become a Registered Play Therapist. Play therapy is used to communicate with and help people, especially children, to prevent or resolve psychosocial challenges. Amy plans to use these skills with children who are in foster care or who have experienced trauma.

“Becoming a Registered Play Therapist is quite an achievement and worthy of recognition,” said Rachel Gubbins, director of programs for OHU. “This skill will be a great asset to One Hope United’s counseling team.”

As part of the 150 hours of training required to become an RPT, Amy completed the Play Therapy Intensive Training, a six-day training in Greeley, Colorado with psychologists and authors Byron and Carol Norton who wrote “Reaching Children Through Play Therapy: An Experiential Approach.” She also completed Introductory Theraplay and Marshack Interaction Method training, a four-day training at The Theraplay Institute in Evanston, Illinois.

“I have been focusing on how to incorporate play therapy interventions into existing evidence-based practices models,” said Amy Overmyer. “I also enjoy teaching others about play therapy, and I hope to be able to provide play therapy training to OHU staff as well as other community therapists.”

Dedicated Time from a Foster Grandparent Helps Troubled Foster Youth Open Up at School

One Hope United Foster Grandparent Volunteer Lou Horn volunteers at Dodds School in several classrooms, but one of her favorite rooms is the kindergarten classroom.

Lou works with a very special young boy. The young boy lives in a foster home because of allegations of neglect and abuse at his biological home. His mother is addicted to drugs and his father is currently in jail.

Lou shared that the when the little boy came to school he would not speak at all.  Several professionals worked with the student, but had minimal progress.

The teacher then decided to pair Foster Grandparent Volunteer Lou Horn with the child to work one on his letter recognition.

“The boy would sit for hours without saying a word,” said Lou. “But even though he would not speak, I felt as if we were making a connection.”

After several months passed, the child finally spoke to Lou. Progress! Lou was ecstatic.

As the school year progressed, the little boy would speak more and more.  He eventually got to the point where he would speak to more than just Lou, but also to his teacher and some of his peers.

Foster Grandparents are able to take the extra time to allow a student to feel safe enough to open up. Foster Grandparents do not push, but rather go at a pace that is comfortable for the student and through mentoring and tutoring activities; they are able to help children progress on multiple levels related to academic, social and emotional development.

Multi-Systemic Therapy Program Works Wonders for Troubled Teenage Boy

Kent* was referred to the Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) program by his probation officer due to problematic behaviors at home and in the community. He had a history of substance use, aggression, defiance with authority figures, and sanctions from educational settings including an expulsion from school.

Obtaining an education for Kent for the next year seemed like an insurmountable goal.  The odds were definitely stacked against him due to the impact his actions had on his local community, which left school board members extremely hesitant to giveKentyet another chance. Nevertheless, the OHU MST therapist worked diligently with the family and numerous stakeholders including the probation officer, the local and regional superintendents, as well as the Illinois State Board of Education on getting him the education he deserved and desperately needed.

One Hope United’s MST Program is an evidenced-based comprehensive treatment approach to serving youth in their communities. MST helps youth with chronic delinquent behavior and school issues. MST also focuses on helping parents build sup­portive social networks and empowering them to more effectively address the needs of their children. The purpose of the program is to keep families together by reducing the risk of out-of-home placement. Services are offered in the youth’s own home, school and community.

While advocating for his enrollment in a school setting took over two months,Kentand his family finally received news that he would be given another chance for an education.  Since this time,Kenthas achieved notable success, both behaviorally and academically. Kent’s mother has increased her collaboration with school officials, a key component to any child’s educational achievements. During a school meeting scheduled by the mother, a teacher reported, “Kentis nothing but perfect.”  He has been observed removing himself from negative peers and situations, which he would have previously enjoyed navigating towards.

Kent’s behaviors at home have drastically improved as evidenced by his compliance with home rules, reduction in aggression, and his abstinence from drugs and alcohol. His family reports a significant reduction in stress due to these areas of improvement.Kent’s family expressed hope that their achievements can be sustained. Recently, Kent and his family were successfully discharged from the MST program.

*Name changed for confidentiality of client.

Family of Caroline Susie Wilkins, Former Resident of the Hudelson Residential Home in the Early 1900s

Jamie Wells contacted One Hope United as she was traveling to Illinois to do some genealogy on her great grandmother. Her great grandmother Caroline “Susie” Wilkins lived at the Hudelson Residential Home as a youth after being abandoned at the local train station by her biological mother. Susie was born on Jan. 1, 1904. She was adopted at the age of four and lived at our Hudelson Residential Home until approximately 1909. Susie died in 2007 at the age of 103.

It was only fate that Vickie McDaniel, office manager for One Hope United, was able to locate Susie’s file for them.

“All files this old were destroyed in the boiler explosion in Irvington back in the 1930s,” said Vickie. “For some odd reason, this file survived. It was a very emotional moment for this family…they visited for about an hour. Gerald gave a cash donation to One Hope United. I was glad I was here to visit with them on Friday and answer all their questions.”

Pictured: Jamie traveled from Delaware with her dad Jerry Baldwin, her aunt Carolyn Correll, her grandfather Gerald and his wife Peggy Baldwin, to visit Susie’s childhood home at OHU.

Mt. Vernon, IL Foster Grandparents make cards for troops

Mt. Vernon Foster Grandparents make cards for troopsTo honor the 10 year anniversary of September 11, the Mt. Vernon, IL Foster Grandparents made cards to show their support to the U.S. Military. Several of the volunteers spent an afternoon decorating patriotic cards with messages of gratitude to send to the troops overseas.

The One Hope United Foster Grandparent Program has several volunteers who have served in the military, are military wives or have a relative in the military, so this activity took on a special meaning for them.

The volunteers made a total of 100 cards that will be distributed.

One Hope United Foster Grandparent Program to Honor Older Volunteers Meeting Community Needs

Senior Corps Week to Spotlight Impact Older Americans Make through Service

In honor of the Senior Corps Week, September 19-23, the One Hope United Foster Grandparent Program would like to pay tribute to the volunteers who serve our community.

Last year, 450,000 Senior Corps volunteers provided 98 million hours of service estimated to be worth more than $2 billion nationally.

In Jefferson, Wayne, Franklin and Williamson Counties, 40 volunteers served a total of 40,133 hours serving children in local schools, day cares and maternity centers. These volunteers spend each day tutoring, mentoring and offering unconditional caring in order for the children they serve to succeed.

These volunteers are a vital part of the school systems which as been stated by many teachers and principals. If these volunteers were paid by the school district, child care or maternity homes it would cost approximately $857,241 for these communities, but through the program, the sites receiving services from the One Hope United Foster Grandparent Program is free of charge.

Please take a moment during Senior Corp week to thank a Foster Grandparent Volunteer in your community for the time they spend with the youth of today.

Senior Corps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service each year through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.

One Hope United Offers Parent Café for Centralia Community in Illinois

One Hope United, a nonprofit agency with the mission to protect children and strengthen families, offers a Parent Café for the Centralia Community. The gathering takes place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 at the First Christian Church,205 S. Elm St.,Centralia,Illinois.

The purpose of the Parent Café is for parents to network with each other, and with One Hope United staff, to learn new techniques for growing strong family bonds.

“At the Parent Café, we share information and ideas that help us take care of ourselves, raise strong children and build strong relationships with our kids,” said Lucas Sigrist, staff member with One Hope United. “We encourage the community to join us and make new connections.”

At the Parent Café, parents will make new friends, share ideas and learn about community resources. It is a chance for parents to share their hopes and dreams for their family and ultimately build a stronger community. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Sigrist at 217.347.5880 x13 or lsigrist@onehopeunited.org. Babysitting and dinner will be provided.

Parent Cafés are part of Strengthening Families Illinois and more information about the statewide program is available at www.keepyourfamilystrong.org.

Additional meetings will take place on Sept. 1 and 15, same place and time.