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Cardinals Care Grant allows Centralia Residential youth to visit Six Flags

Kaleigh Dunahee and Julian Collings also enjoy Fright Fest at Six Flags along with the OHU youth.

Several youth in One Hope United’s Centralia Residential program received the opportunity to visit Six Flags in northern Illinois thanks to a Cardinals Care Grant. Cardinals Care is the nonprofit foundation of the St. Louis Cardinals, which has distributed more than $14 million to support organizations in and around St. Louis since its inception in 1997.

Generous donations such as this, give our youth opportunities to have experiences they would not otherwise have prior to residing at OHU.

“It gives them an opportunity to learn how to try their new behavioral skills in a larger arena, with greater variables,” said Melissa Webster, residential supervisor at OHU. “Even more importantly, having the ability for special trips helps increase youth’s self-confidence.”

Like all OHU activities, only youth who worked successfully with in their program and earned the highest level of success get the opportunity to participate in this type of activity. The children and teens in OHU’s programs really appreciate the special nature of a Six Flags trip: generally, activities include physical fitness in the park, bowling and movies.

One Hope United is so grateful for the Cardinal Cares Grant, which allowed us to offer our youth these adventures—thank you!


All aboard! Springfield Foster Grandparent Program travels to Hannibal, MO

The Springfield Foster Grandparent Program enjoyed traveling to Hannibal, MO this week for their group bus trip. The ladies were treated to a lovely lunch aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat accompanied by music and a question and answer session with the Captain and his wife. Even though their sight-seeing tour was cancelled on account of wind, the group improvised and decided to travel to Sawyer’s Creek to enjoy the Christmas, candy and popcorn shops. The group of 36 volunteers ended the night with dinner at Cracker Barrel and then boarded the bus back home.

One Hope United is so appreciative of the hard work that our foster grandparents do every day, and this was a wonderful chance to show them our appreciation for their committment to serving the emotional and academic needs of hundreds of children every school year.

Mt. Vernon foster grandparents dress up in character for Red Ribbon Week

At Field Grade School in Illinois, foster grandparents from One Hope United’s Mt. Vernon Foster Grandparent Program participated in story book dress-up day to celebrate Red Ribbon Week. The students, teachers and foster grandparents picked their favorite book, and then dressed to represent the characters in the book.

Foster grandparents pictured from left to right: Earleen Apgar dressed as a cowgirl, Ida Mae Jackson dressed as a pilgrim and Gene Shirley dressed as Mother Hubbard.

First Baptist Church generously donates bedding for Centralia Campus residents

Pictured: Melissa and Jim Webster, and Reverend Michael Skinner.

Melissa Webster, supervisor of the Hudelson Residential Campus in Centralia, was recently a guest at the First Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Illinois. The Reverend Michael Skinner invited Melissa to speak about the services the Residential Campus provides as well as receive some very special gifts for the residents on behalf of the church.

The First Baptist congregation collected almost thirty pillows, throw pillows and comforters—more than one for each youth residing on the Residential Campus. They made certain each youth received their own bedding.

This gift was the result of visits by members of the church to the Centralia campus. Most have been lifelong Baptists, and remember making different types of contributions to Hudelson throughout the years. The visitors wanted to see the treatment provided and the environment in which the youth live on campus.

The Hudelson Residential Campus wishes to thank the gracious members of the First Baptist Church for their gifts, their prayers and their wholehearted generosity.

Meet Foster Grandparent Program Volunteer Grandpa Jack

Jack Sunderlik is a retired school teacher and brings a wealth of experience with him to the One Hope United Springfield Foster Grandparent Program.

The OHU Foster Grandparent Program offers seniors age 55 and older the opportunity to serve as mentors, tutors and loving caregivers for youth with special needs. Volunteers serve in a variety of locations throughout the community, including schools, after-school programs, Head Start, child care centers and youth centers. The personal attention offered by foster grandparents like Jack helps youth grow, gain confidence and succeed as productive members of society. In return, Foster Grandparents receive the joy of being needed within their communities.

Jack is currently volunteering more than 40 hours a week at Dubois Elementary School. He is working with special needs students and is always trying to come up with a new way to engage the students and keep them interested. Jack is so dedicated that in addition to his 40 hour work week, he takes projects home, making flash cards or creating new activities to do with the kids.

Grandpa Jack is extremely humble and says it’’s the teachers who deserve the recognition. Jack also says that the program is giving him a renewed sense of purpose and he will do all he can to help.

Dubois Elementary assistant principal and teachers cannot say enough positive words about their volunteer. Ms. Medley and teachers have seen noted improvement in students after only a short time of working one on one with Jack. Ms. Medley says that all she hears up and down the halls is students calling out “Grandpa Jack, Grandpa Jack!” The school also reports that students are showing improved reading and math scores due to a rubric for each child that Jack uses to keep track of their progress.

Ms. Medley thanks the OHU Foster Grandparent Program for sending them their “Grandpa Jack.” We thank Jack for joining our program and appreciate his patience and easy going demeanor as well as his commitment to go above and beyond the call of duty and dedication to always trying to find a way to help.

Thank you Grandpa Jack!

For more information about the Springfield Foster Grandparent Program, contact Program Director Gloria Plummer.