Foster families provide children 'strength and love'

ohu-nwherald-4From the Northwest Herald: McHenry County foster parents Dan and Connie Jensen of Algonquin, Ill., and Mark and Kate Detwiler of Woodstock, Ill., are highlighted in this article for National Foster Care Month. “We’re here to build [the children] up and give them strength and love and positivity so they can move forward,” Dan Jensen said. One Hope United helps place foster children in the county and is quoted in the article. Read it here. Photo by Lathan Goumas, Shaw Media.

Old Navy holds diaper drive for Go Blue campaign

ohu-Old Navy diaper driveThe Old Navy store in Vernon Hills, Ill., participated in our April Go Blue Campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month by holding a diaper drive for One Hope United clients. We appreciate it and thank store manager Rick Pilcher for organizing the effort!

Unique auction items a hit at OHU Blue Ribbon Event

ohu-abbyblueribbon-2A painting by 8-year-old One Hope United volunteer Abby Bergl and a basket of homemade dog biscuits baked by Mark McHugh, executive director of One Hope United — Northern Region, and his wife, Lisa, were both popular auction items at the agency’s 10th Annual Blue Ribbon Event, held April 21, in Lake Villa, Ill.

Abby’s original artwork sold for $1,400 in the live auction. The basket of biscuits sold for $150 in the silent auction, so McHugh and his wife promised to bake a second batch for the live auction, where they sold for $1,000.

Thank you for these unique auction items!

Kraft volunteers beautify, organize games at Busy Bee

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Busy Bee Children’s Center recently welcomed employees from Kraft Foods Group Inc. to their campus, where they beautified the center’s grounds and created an Olympics Day for the children. 

Thirteen Kraft employees weeded and planted perennials and organized games, including an obstacle course, leap frog, bowling and freeze dance. 

The employees from Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods were sent as part of a Chicago Cares volunteer day. Chicago Cares builds volunteer experiences that mobilize and inspire people to make Chicago a stronger community.

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Rodhe chairs Blue Ribbon Event

ohu-rodheOne Hope United held its 10th Annual Blue Ribbon Event Sunday, April 21, at the historic Lehmann Mansion in Lake Villa, Ill. We were honored to have Cecilia Rodhe (pictured) — mother of Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah and co-founder of the Noah’s Arc Foundation — as our honorary chair. Thank you to all who came out to support us. Click here to learn more about the great work Rodhe and Noah are doing to improve children’s lives.

Foster mom donates 'Comfort Kits'


Forty foster children will receive welcoming “Comfort Kits” thanks to a recent donation from foster mom Chrys Zastrow to One Hope United — Northern Region.

The duffle bag kits, 20 for boys and 20 for girls, are filled with a handmade fleece blanket, small stuffed animal, toiletries, toothbrush and toothpaste, refillable water bottle and either a book or an art kit (depending on the child’s age).

Zastrow got the idea for the kits when her three foster daughters arrived last year from OHU on an emergency basis with only the clothes on their backs — and three similar “Comfort Kits” provided to OHU by a church in Gurnee, Ill. Those kits were handmade laundry bags stuffed with a blanket, stuffed animal and book and an outside pocket containing toiletries.

 Zastrow was so overwhelmed by the gift that she was inspired to make more and pay it forward.

Over the past year, Zastrow’s co-workers, family and friends helped her raise money for the kits through events such as lemonade stands and fun runs. She also received many donated items. For example, her dentist donated all the toothbrushes and toothpaste. Also, JoAnn Fabrics provided discounts on the fabric and Garvey discounted the duffle bags.

The “Comfort Kits,” provided to foster children who have been removed from their homes, can be picked up at OHU in Lake Villa.

Teen parents gaining support, skills to lower risk for child abuse


One Hope United parenting classes help Dominique Perez feel "more comfortable about becoming a mother," she said. Pictured are Dominique and her daughters, Jada, 10, Jannell, 3, and newborn Justyce.
One Hope United parenting classes helped Dominique Perez feel “more comfortable about becoming a mother,” she said. Pictured are Dominique and her daughters, Jada, 10, Jannell, 3, and newborn Justyce.

CHICAGO (April 11, 2013)–In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, One Hope United is celebrating the work it is doing to prevent child abuse, strengthen families and create healthy communities. The agency also launched a digital campaign, http://www.BlueRibbonMonth.org, aimed at raising awareness and funds while highlighting One Hope United services and programs.

One Hope United programs help people like Waukegan, Ill., resident Dominique Perez.

Perez enrolled in the agency’s parenting classes at Waukegan Alternative/Optional Education Center when she became pregnant at 14.

“I was scared and I had no idea what I was doing,” she said.

More than 360,000 teen girls give birth each year in the United States. Teenage parents are at risk for abusing their children as they are confronted with the responsibilities of caring for a child. A lack of social support can contribute to the link between young parents and child abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Perez, now 25 and married with three children, is an example of how valuable services for at-risk families can be. Before becoming pregnant she was often in trouble and was moved to the alternative school after fighting at her previous school. One Hope United’s parenting classes helped Perez learn patience and how to communicate with her child, along with the basics such as changing diapers and breastfeeding.

“The classes made me more comfortable about becoming a mother,” said Perez, who was raised by her grandmother and uncle because her parents were young and not ready for parenthood.

Perez said her three girls, 10, 3 and 2 weeks old, benefit from the parenting skills she learned through One Hope United, including keeping them on a daily routine and setting boundaries.

These skills also are useful in her job. For the past three years, Perez has worked at One Hope United with her parenting class teacher, Carleen Otto, providing child care for parents while they attend classes. She uses her skills of patience, repetition and good communication when caring for the children, while also having fun and ensuring that they know they are in a safe environment, she said.

“It is just a pleasure and a joy to be around Dominique,” Otto said. “I’ve loved watching her grow into the woman she is today.” Otto, a parenting group facilitator, also feels lucky to have her on staff because she knows she can “always count on Dominique.”

In April and throughout the year, the Blue Ribbon Month Campaign website gives people a place to go to help raise awareness and financial support for One Hope United’s programs that prevent child abuse and prepare children for a prosperous future.  There are many ways to get involved: host a fundraiser at your school, church or work; spread the word on social media or by forwarding articles through email; or make a donation.

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 with a vision of ensuring the successful transition of our children to healthy and productive adults. For more information, visit www.onehopeunited.wpengine.com.


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