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Hope Talks | March 2021

Hope Talks

“Making a Difference in the Lives of Children and Families Through Advocacy”

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Hope Talks

One Hope United is proud to bring you Hope Talks, monthly conversations with leaders in the child and family welfare sector. By having these conversations, we hope to inspire actionable change and work together to improve outcomes for the children and families we serve.

In this month’s episode, One Hope United’s President and CEO, Dr. Charles A. Montorio-Archer, is joined by Dr. Jody Levison-Johnson, President and CEO of The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation, to discuss Making a Difference in the Lives of Children and Families Through Advocacy.

About Jody Levison-Johnson, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Jody Levison-Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker with nearly 30 years of experience in the field of human services. She currently serves as the President and CEO of The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation, two nonprofit organizations in the midst of a merger working to create a dynamic network of human and social service organizations, activate the power of the social sector, and propel continuous evolution and policy change.

Jody is a longstanding champion for systems change that results in the ability for individuals and communities to thrive. Over several decades, her career has crossed a variety of private and public sector settings, including direct service organizations, a national membership association, state and local governments, and a management and consulting organization. Jody’s experiences leading system reform efforts across the country have prompted her interest in the environmental contexts that surround deep change in social and public systems. Jody holds a Master of Social Work degree from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts and PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

About One Hope United

Founded in 1895, One Hope United is a multistate nonprofit that helps children and families build the skills to live life without limits. We serve over 10,000 children and families each year through education centers, child and family services, counseling, and residential programs. With our evidence-based and trauma-informed practices, we empower children and families to see and create a future where, regardless of their past, they can reach their full potential.

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The Difference a Social Worker Can Make

No matter the circumstance surrounding a child’s interaction with a social worker, children remember how they were treated, and whether the social worker showed them compassion. This March, in honor of National Social Work Month, One Hope United is proud to share the impact that our social workers make in the lives of thousands of children and families each year.  

According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, children learn to trust others, regulate their emotions, and interact with the world through their relationships with their primary caregivers. If a child has experienced trauma and, as a result, feels that they can’t trust their parent or caregiver, a social worker may be one of the only consistent and dependable adult figures in that child’s life. 

A child may meet their social worker for the first time when they’re waiting for a foster care placement, traveling for a visit with their biological family members, or in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. Having a caring figure in these turbulent moments gives children a sense of stability. Courtney Dundee, therapist with One Hope United’s Community Based Family Services, described her role as “walking alongside children during the hardest part of their little lives, and helping them get to the other side where they feel hopeful and safe once again.”

One Hope United’s former clients have shared that the small interactions they had with their social worker made all the difference. Whether a social worker remembered their favorite flavor of soda or chatted with them about a TV show, these moments helped them to feel seen and recognized. 

Sarah Tunning, Executive Director of OHU’s Florida Services, shared a memory of a young boy who spent one day at her office while waiting for his next foster care placement. He exhibited several complex behavioral issues related to past trauma and was having a hard day. His case manager told Sarah what his favorite food and drink items were from a few restaurants in the area, and after Sarah picked them up and the boy had his meal, he felt much calmer, and was able to relax. “We spend a lot of time with these children during ‘in-between’ times, riding in the car or waiting at the office,” Sarah said. “The in-between moments seem small, but they allow children to have more interactions with people who really care.”

Teenagers involved in the child welfare system also benefit from a supportive and caring social worker. They may keep in touch with their social worker even after services end, often turning to them for help connecting to community resources, or simply for someone to listen. Mallory Johnston, Case Manager with One Hope United’s Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services (CCBYS) program, described her experience working with a homeless teenager in December of 2020. She helped him move into a homeless shelter in Mount Vernon, Illinois on his 18th birthday, and throughout their 90 days together, Mallory helped him to enroll in high school and obtain a medical card. They also discussed his future and worked on important life skills. He is currently on-track to graduate in May of 2021. Mallory said, “He sees me as a constant support system, and as someone who is willing to help him with whatever he needs at the time. There is hardly a day that goes by that I do not receive a ‘good morning’ text from him.”

Additionally, social workers support parents who may feel they have almost no one else to turn to. Dennis Delgado, Executive Director of One Hope United’s Community Based Family Services, shared about a 17-year-old single mother of two who received services from a One Hope United social worker. This young woman was a senior in high school and working part-time to care for her children.  She also was a victim of domestic violence and had recently lost the support of her mother. She often shared concerns about having had to grow up too soon and missing out on her youth.

This young woman shared that she felt her life was transformed after receiving domestic violence services, paid day care services, and individual counseling. She also received day-to-day household essentials, including food, diapers, and children’s clothes. While working with her OHU case manager, she decided to fully end her relationship with her children’s father, and obtained an order of protection against him. She was also able to attend her senior prom and graduate from high school.

Initially, this young woman could not believe her social worker would actually help her with her needs,” Dennis said. “They were successful because they collaborated for the good of the family.”

Dennis concluded, “Social workers are essentially a light in the darkness that the children and families we serve often face. They are often angels in disguise.     

Hope Talks | February 2021

Hope Talks

Investing in Communities for the Health of our Children

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Hope Talks

One Hope United is proud to bring you Hope Talks, monthly conversations with leaders in the child and family welfare sector. By having these conversations, we hope to inspire actionable change and work together to improve outcomes for the children and families we serve.

In this month’s episode, Dr. Charles A. Montorio-Archer is joined by Bryan Echols, Principal and Founder of BE. The Change Consulting, to discuss Investing in Communities for the Health of our Children.

About Bryan Echols

Bryan Echols is currently a Senior Advisor for Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs. In his capacity as a Senior Advisor, Bryan brings his years of banking, financial services, nonprofit management and academic experiences to serve the Treasurer and the State of Illinois. Before coming to the State Treasurer’s office, he served as the Community Restorative Justice Hubs Director in the city of Chicago.

Bryan is also the Principal and Founder of BE. The Change Consulting. BE. The Change Consulting works in the areas of youth leadership development, civic engagement, community organizing, the intersectionality of race and class, and cross-cultural equity work. He enjoys teaching Master’s level and Ph.D. students at Adler University in the Social Justice Practicum. He has chaired the Multicultural Leadership Council for the American Heart Association for the last 3 years. Echols is currently a board member for the Workers Center for Racial Justice, Board Treasurer for United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, and a Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Fellow.

About One Hope United

Founded in 1895, One Hope United is a multistate nonprofit that helps children and families build the skills to live life without limits. We serve over 10,000 children and families each year through education centers, child and family services, counseling, and residential programs. With our evidence-based and trauma-informed practices, we empower children and families to see and create a future where, regardless of their past, they can reach their full potential.

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Celebrating Black Leaders in Child and Family Welfare

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the stories of African Americans who have brought about incredible advancements throughout history. This month at One Hope United, we are highlighting Black leaders who dedicated their careers to Child and Family Welfare.

 

Carter Godwin Woodson

Black History Month grew out of Negro History Week, which was the brainchild of noted historian, author and journalist, Carter Godwin Woodson. While studying at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, Woodson noted that the teaching of American history largely ignored African Americans. He dedicated his life to educating the public about the achievements and contributions of African Americans, and because of his work, we celebrate the central role African Americans have played in American history every February. He chose February because the month contained the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two prominent men whose historic achievements African Americans already celebrated.

Source: History.com

 

Thyra Edwards

Thyra J. Edwards, born in 1897, the granddaughter of runaway slaves, grew up in Houston, Texas and started her career there as a school teacher. Edwards would eventually become a world lecturer, journalist, labor organizer, women’s rights advocate, and civil rights activist all before her 40th birthday. After World War II ended, she opened the first child care program in Rome, to serve survivors of the Holocaust.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University

 

 

Fanny Jackson Coppin

Fanny Jackson Coppin was a teacher, principal, lecturer, and missionary to Africa. She was born a slave, but fervently pursued education and felt her purpose in life was to provide educational opportunities for Black youth. She taught evening classes for freedmen while earning her degree at Oberlin College, and eventually became the first Black school principal in the United States. She once said, “It was in me… to get an education and to teach my people. This idea was deep in my soul.”

Source: Coppin State University

 

 

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. In 1973, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund, and lobbied Congress to increase resources for adoption, change the foster care system, and support children in need.

Source: Children’s Defense Fund

 

Janie Porter Barrett

Janie Porter Barrett founded the Locust Street Social Settlement to educate African American youth in 1890. In 1915, she founded the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls to help young women become self-reliant, educated, and prepared for employment. She is best known for her work to rehabilitate young African American women who had been imprisoned.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University

 

 

Even in the face of the challenges we face as a country in this moment, there is hope. These trailblazing leaders paved the way for our Case Managers, Social Workers, Therapists, Teachers, and all those at One Hope United who work endlessly to ensure the wellbeing of the children, youth and families we serve. We are grateful for their legacy of leadership.

 

 

Hope Talks | January 2021

Hope Talks

“The Intersection of Community-Based Organizations”

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Hope Talks

One Hope United is proud to bring you Hope Talks, monthly conversations with leaders in the child and family welfare sector. By having these conversations, we hope to inspire actionable change and work together to improve outcomes for the children and families we serve.

In the first episode of Hope Talks, “The Intersection of Community-Based Organizations,” Howard Brown Health President and CEO, David Ernesto Munar, joins President and CEO of One Hope United, Dr. Charles A. Montorio-Archer, to discuss the similar challenges their organizations face in serving their communities and the steps they’ve taken to meet this historic moment.

About David Ernesto Munar

Since joining Howard Brown Health in 2014, David Ernesto Munar has focused on ensuring the delivery of excellent patient services, strengthening finances and operations, and positioning the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ organization for long-term sustainability and growth.  Prior to Howard Brown, Munar honed his career at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago where he held several positions, including President and CEO.

He served on the boards of the Cook County Health and Hospital System, the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, AllianceChicago, and the Black AIDS Institute.  In 2007, he helped launch a national coalition that led to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy unveiled by President Obama in July 2010.  In 2019, he co-chaired Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Healthy Children & Families Transition Committee and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Health and Human Services Transition Committee.

About One Hope United

Founded in 1895, One Hope United is a multistate nonprofit that helps children and families build the skills to live life without limits. We serve over 10,000 children and families each year through education centers, child and family services, counseling, and residential programs. With our evidence-based and trauma-informed practices, we empower children and families to see and create a future where, regardless of their past, they can reach their full potential.

Don't miss out on future Hope Talks!

Sign up to have future Hope Talks emailed directly to your inbox and never miss a future episode!


No Longer Silent

“You are the strongest person to ever sit in that chair,” Judge Ericka Sanders said to 16-year-old Bailey*. Bailey and her team of OHU counselors listened intently as Judge Sanders went on to praise Bailey for sharing her story of trauma and abuse, and bravely taking the next step in her healing process.   

Bailey’s testimony comes three years after that of her twin sister, Bree*, who testified in court to the horrific abuse both girls endured at the hands of their adoptive father. This man is now in prison for the sexual assault of Bree that resulted in a pregnancy at the age of 13, and for the kidnapping of Bree and her son, Eli*. In the same year that Bree became pregnant, the girls lost their mother to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that also inhabits Bailey’s body.   

Because Bree was the only victim identified in the case, Bailey was denied the opportunity to testify at their adopted father’s trial. For three years, Bailey has carried the weight of this forced silence with her. She has since been placed at One Hope United’s Centralia residential home for a second time after struggling with self-harm, suicidal ideations, and depression.  

In February of 2020, Bailey’s counselors had an idea. The team wondered what would be different for Bailey if she could rewrite her narrative. What if she could tell her story to someone who could make real changes in the system? How would life be different for Bailey if she had her day in court? Judge Ericka Sanders, the Marion County Juvenile Judge, agreed that Bailey deserved this opportunity.  

Judge Sanders has made great efforts to prioritize the mental health of any youth who comes into her courtroom. Knowing Judge Sanders’ propensity to be an agent of change, Bailey’s care team reached out to her with a novel idea. The team wanted to bring Bailey to the courthouse to testify in front of a judge and to share the story she had been unable to tell three years prior. Within 15 minutes of the email being sent, Judge Sanders responded saying she would be honored to help.   

Two weeks later, Judge Sanders met with Bailey’s care team at a local coffee house to iron out the details. OHU counselors Jayme Godoyo, Sarah Downen, Brandon Newcomer, and Jessica Perry shared more details of Bailey’s story with Judge Sanders. They agreed that Bailey’s court session should be treated as if it were a real court session, complete with Judge Sanders in her black robe and calling court into session for The People vs. Bailey’s abuser. Judge Sanders also shared with the team that the courthouse now has access to a therapy dog, and that it would be a good idea for Bailey to first practice being in the courtroom. The team agreed Bailey would love this idea, and it would be the perfect opportunity for the dog to use his skills.   

On the day of Bailey’s court session, Judge Sanders offered her the choice to sit at a table or in the witness stand. Without hesitating, Bailey chose the witness stand.   

When Bailey took her seat to the left side of the judge, she paused for a moment. Bailey was given the space and silence she needed to collect herself as her counselor, Jayme Godoyo, took a seat next to her. Quietly, Jayme provided Bailey the comfort she needed to regain her composure. Not sure where to begin, Jayme encouraged Bailey to start with her earliest memory.  

The adults in the room sat silent and still, fighting back tears at times, as Bailey took the next thirty minutes to tell the story she had waited years to tell. With Jayme at her side, Bailey recounted the abuse she endured, the devastation she felt over her mom’s death, and the guilt she still carries with her today because she couldn’t stop her sister Bree’s sexual assault. “I’m protective of her,” Bailey said. “I’m happy we have Eli [Bree’s son], but I’m sad she got pregnant.”   

When Bailey finished, she looked out onto the small crowd of people and said, “does anyone have any questions?” The conviction in her tone was that of a young woman in control of a room. When asked what advice she would give to other young girls who may have shared similar experiences, without hesitation Bailey softly but strongly stated, “Keep fighting…always keep fighting.”   

*Names have been changed to protect privacy. 

 LEARN MORE ABOUT OHU’S RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS

Chicago Welcomes Dr. Charles A. Montorio-Archer

Over 125 Influencers Attend Reception for One Hope United President & CEO

Representatives from Chicago’s political, nonprofit, and social justice communities came out Friday, February 22nd, to welcome Dr. Charles A. Montorio-Archer as the President and CEO of One Hope United.

Over 125 people attended the reception in the Mid-America Club, hosted by One Hope United’s Board of Directors.

Director of Development at

See all the photos in our Facebook photo album.

The One Hope United family also came out in full force, with members of the Board of Directors, Ambassador and Auxiliary Boards, and staff as well as donors in attendance. Theresa Dear, Board Chair of One Hope United, introduced Montorio-Archer and officially welcomed him to the organization.

In his remarks, Montorio-Archer thanked the Board and his husband, Paolo Montorio-Archer, for supporting his decision to join One Hope United and relocate to Chicago from New York, where he was born and founded The THRIVE Network, a nonprofit that assisted people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live lives with dignity, respect and independence.

Throughout February, One Hope United has been celebrating Black History Month, featuring inspirational quotes by staff members and African American pioneers, and Dr. Montorio-Archer invoked one such figure from the podium: “Martin Luther King once said that we should never forget to ignite the hope within ourselves, and I hope that you do that all the time,” he said.

Montorio-Archer also invited attendees to take part in two upcoming events:

Throughout April, One Hope United will repeat its Go Blue 4 OHU campaign, in which Chicagoans can dine out at over 30 participating restaurants to raise awareness and funding for child abuse prevention programs.

On May 3rd, One Hope United’s fifth annual gala returns to the Hilton Chicago. Hope In Action: Why I Have Hope, will feature a keynote and performance by the Glee Project’s Mario Bonds as well as a cocktail hour, dinner, silent and live auctions, and other special performances.

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 including early education, foster care, adoption, counseling, residential, and other support services. What began in 1895 as a children’s home in Chicago now serves 9,000 children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida and employs nearly 800 passionate and talented professionals. For more information, please visit www.onehopeunited.org.

MEDIA CONTACT
Michelle Damico
Michelle Damico Communications
michelle@michelledamico.com
312-423-6627

One Hope United Names
Dr. Charles A. Montorio-Archer
President and CEO

Entrepreneur, author and attorney co-founded, led and merged nonprofit The THRIVE Network in New York City

One Hope United’s board of directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Charles A. Montorio-Archer as the organization’s President and CEO. Dr. Montorio-Archer, a successful New York nonprofit entrepreneur, child and family advocate, attorney and author assumed the leadership position last month following a national search.

Founded in Chicago in 1895 and based there to this day, One Hope United is one of the oldest and most respected human service nonprofits in the country. Today, the organization provides education, foster care, adoption, counseling, residential and other support services to over 9,000 children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida.

Dr. Montorio-Archer co-founded The THRIVE Network in 1996 and served as its CEO for another 11 years before successfully merging the organization with The New York Foundling. THRIVE, which continues to operate under its own name, is a $36 million nonprofit organization that assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout New York City.

“Charles is a transformational leader who has demonstrated a passion for empowering all people to live with dignity and respect,” says Theresa A. Dear, Board Chair of One Hope United. “With his proven leadership, and his commitment to helping others reach their full potential, he is the ideal person to lead One Hope United to our next level of greatness as we work to help every child and family live life without limits.”

“I am thrilled to become part of the One Hope United family and community,” says Dr. Montorio-Archer. “When I began as a direct support professional in this industry over 25 years ago, I quickly recognized that, while our life circumstances may vary, we all want and deserve the same access to opportunity. That starts with the supports and services that One Hope United is so committed to providing – education, family support, a place to live and thrive, and connection to loved ones, as well as being recognized within our society. These are the building blocks to a life without limits, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to help bring these to every child and family.”

Dr. Montorio-Archer has written three books, most recently Everybody Paddles: A Leader’s Blueprint for Creating A Unified Team, which provides a management model for reaching strategic alignment and accelerating organizational change through respect, collaboration and leadership. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Lincoln University, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from CUNY Baruch College, a JD from Brooklyn Law School and a PhD in public policy from Walden University. From 2001 to 2004, he served as Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, Brooklyn, NY. Then from 2004 to 2007, he served as the Associate Executive Director for the InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies, where he advocated at the city, state, and federal levels for program development, business sustainability, and policy and regulatory reform.

In addition, Dr. Montorio-Archer has served on numerous boards, presented two TEDx Talks (“The Friendship Clause” and “IDENTITYphobia”), contributes to Forbes and Huffington Post, and has been featured on television, radio, print, and other media outlets.

Dr. Montorio-Archer succeeds Todd Schultz, who has been acting CEO for the last year. Schultz will remain a part of the Executive Leadership Team as the Chief Transition Officer.

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 including early education, foster care, adoption, counseling, residential, and other support services. What began in 1895 as a children’s home in Chicago now serves 9,000 children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida and employs nearly 800 passionate and talented professionals. For more information, please visit www.onehopeunited.org.

MEDIA CONTACT
Michelle Damico
Michelle Damico Communications
michelle@michelledamico.com
312-423-6627

OHU Dedicates the Toni Sandor Smith Future Scholars Learning Lab in Edgewater

With a giant pair of child-safe scissors in hand, Toni Sandor Smith, a member of One Hope United’s board of directors for nearly 20 years, cut the ribbon at a ceremony in her honor on Friday, August 17th.

The dedication took place at our Edgewater Early Learning Center, where One Hope United celebrated her contributions to the center, the board, and the Edgewater community by naming the center’s second floor the Toni Sandor Smith Future Scholars Learning Lab.

Friends of Toni, fellow board members and OHU staff gathered for the ceremony, along with Alderman Harry Osterman, who shared his appreciation for Toni’s and the center’s contributions to the Edgewater community.

“The real impact of her work with kids in our community is amazing,” said the Alderman. “Very early in life, the gift of education, when they come here, opens up their world and entire future.”

An Edgewater resident, Toni is a frequent visitor to the Edgewater Early Learning Center and has become a favorite storybook reader of our students. And as a member of the board and former chair, she has made a major impact on our organization.

“It takes a special person to take the time and interact with the kids like Toni does – and be able to ask really insightful questions at board meetings,” said CEO Todd Schultz.

“Toni’s legacy of leadership and her relentless commitment to governing and growth have allowed One Hope United to experience higher levels of service, deeper community relationships, and stronger strategic partnerships,” shared OHU Board Chair, Theresa A. Dear.

In addition to naming the second floor in Toni’s honor, the board also established a scholarship in her name.

Though Toni was the guest of honor, she made sure to recognize the One Hope United staff and the programs at Edgewater. “It’s not about me, it’s not about a wing – it’s about supporting something really important,” she explained. “This is an honor, but I’m a surrogate for the work of the staff.”

Following the ceremony, students surprised Toni with a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork before singing a special song. Guests then enjoyed refreshments and a musical performance by award-winning saxophonist Michael Salter, a teaching artist with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, which brings jazz education into Chicago Public Schools.

To learn more about the Edgewater Early Learning Center, visit https://onehopeunited.wpengine.com/edgewater-early-learning-center.

PHOTO: Toni Sandor Smith (with scissors, center) cuts the ribbon to dedicate the Toni Sandor Smith Future Scholars Learning Lab at Edgewater Early Learning Center. She is joined by (from left) Anthony Ruth, SVP, Marketing & Communications; Todd Schultz, CEO; Rosanne DeGregorio, Director of Programs; Alderman Harry Osterman; Board Chair Theresa Dear; and musician Michael Salter.

Sonja Crum Knight Named Executive Director for Early Childhood Programs

Sonja Crum Knight

Sonja Crum Knight, an early childhood leader committed to realizing high quality outcomes for children and families through education, practice, and advocacy, will join One Hope United as Executive Director of Early Learning and Child Development, beginning April 10, 2018.

In this executive leadership role, Knight will oversee One Hope United’s 12 child care and early education centers, which provide high quality early care and education to over 2,200 children each year, as well as our home visiting programs, which help young and first-time parents navigate their new responsibilities and support their children’s development. All of these programs serve children and families living in northern Illinois and Chicago.

“I am humbled and honored to join an organization with such a rich legacy of service to children and families,” said Knight.

Knight comes to One Hope United from YMCA of the USA, where she served as technical advisor for early childhood equity improvement, leading a cohort of eight YMCA associations across the country to discover and improve strategies for improving access to high quality early care and education. She also has worked extensively with the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University as a quality assessor and trainer. She holds a PhD in education from Capella University and a master of education in early childhood administration from National Louis University.

“I am thrilled to welcome Sonja Crum Knight to One Hope United,” said COO Margaret Vimont. “She brings a wealth of experience as a child care provider, quality assessor, and educator to early childhood professionals, along with a passion for equal access to early education and a highly inclusive management style. Together, these make her an excellent fit to lead our early learning and child development programs, which lay the foundation for our vision – For every child and family, life without limits.”