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.”

OHU Employee Appreciation Week 2016!

One Hope United’s recent Employee Appreciation Week was a huge hit!

Our employees work very hard every single day to support the mission and vision of our organization. Therefore, we wanted to take time to recognize all that they do by hosting an Employee Appreciation Week dedicated to showing our appreciation. This was a week for our staff to have fun and pat themselves on the back because they truly deserve it.

Each day of Employee Appreciation Week was lead by a different theme, from Healthy Start, Healthy You Day to R&R Day! Everyone had a blast and we have the photos to prove it! Check out a few photos from the fun week below and click through to view the full Facebook photo album.

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An Update From Our Family of Hope

At Hope in Action 2016, we had the pleasure of introducing Dianna Klockenga and her wonderful family to our room full of guests. Dianna, awarded the Ermit Finch Impact Award that night for her selflessness, big heart and dedication to family, was more than deserving of recognition. After meeting Austin while working as a nurse at a One Hope United residential program, their undeniable bond eventually led her and her husband to make the decision to bring Austin and his younger sister Lora into their home. Though they have been a true family from the start, we are excited to share that on August 8, 2016, Austin and Lora were legally adopted! This was surely an unforgettable day for the entire family and it is the perfect update on such an amazing story.

View More: http://haleynicolephotography.pass.us/klockenga-adoptionView More: http://haleynicolephotography.pass.us/klockenga-adoptionView More: http://haleynicolephotography.pass.us/klockenga-adoptionView More: http://haleynicolephotography.pass.us/klockenga-adoption

Check out the video below for an introduction or recap on the Klockenga story!

Photos are courtesy of Haley Klockenga of Haley Nicole Photography.

Picnic For Hope 2016

The second annual Picnic for Hope was a huge success! Hosted by OHU’s Lake County Ambassador Board on August 13th, the event raised over $18,000 for the Day School on our Lake Villa campus! The Ambassador Board is a terrific group of community volunteers who are dedicated to raising funds to support the children and families of One Hope United. Thank you for all of your generous efforts!


White Sox Community Fund Awards One Hope United WINGS Home Visiting Program with $25,000


McCormick Foundation Awards One Hope United WINGS Home Visiting Program with $25,000

CHICAGO, IL (June 14, 2016) — One Hope United has received a $25,000 grant through the Chicago White Sox Community Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund, to strengthen families headed by teenage parents and to help prevent child abuse.

The two-year grant supports OHU’s WINGS Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Home Visiting program, which provides essential support services and counseling to high-risk teenage, single and other parents in Lake County, as they adjust to the responsibilities of parenthood. Targeting new and expecting parents, WINGS promotes positive parent-child interaction and works to enhance family functioning, build trusting relationships and teach problem-solving skills.

For the last three years, the Chicago White Sox Community Fund has supported the OHU WINGS program with over $60,000 in funding. Not only have they been a financial supporter, but for the last 10 years, the White Sox organization has provided baseball experiences for many foster parents and children in OHU’s care and has donated hundreds of game tickets.

“We are very grateful to have the Chicago White Sox Community Fund as a partner in an effort as significant as child abuse prevention,” said Scott Humphrey, President and CEO of One Hope United. “This grant will allow our agency to continue providing high-quality programs and services to the thousands of families that depend on us.”

According to data released by Safe Horizon in 2014, 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the United States. The funding that the Chicago White Sox Community Fund provides to abuse prevention programs underlines its commitment to helping at-risk children, families and adults and providing a safe and secure home for all children.

About One Hope United 

One Hope United is a private human service organization that offers a diverse array of early childhood education, prevention, intervention and community-based programs. The non-profit began 120 years ago with the same vision it holds today: protecting children and strengthening families. One Hope United’s team of more than 800 talented professionals serves thousands of children and families each year in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida. Learn more at onehopeunited.wpengine.com.

About the McCormick Foundation

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets.

The McCormick Foundation continues McCormick’s legacy by partnering with media outlets, such as the Chicago Tribune, sports teams and philanthropic organizations across the country, to encourage local giving, inspire civic involvement and address human needs. For more information, visit http://www.McCormickFoundation.org.


Hope in Action 2016 Recap!

One Hope United would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended Hope in Action 2016.

The night was a smashing success; together with our guests and sponsors we raised nearly $215,000, more than doubling the amount raised last year! We are so appreciative of the amazing support that has been shown for our organization, and all of it only brings us one step closer to fulfilling our vision, “For every child and family, life without limits.”

Though there were many, one of the most unforgettable moments of the night was honoring Dianna Klockenga and her family with the Ermit Finch Impact Award. Below, you can view Dianna’s story captured in this heartwarming video.

Don’t forget to check out all of the fun photos from the night on our Facebook page and tag yourself and your friends!


Spring For Hope 2016!

Join One Hope United’s Auxiliary Board at Howells & Hood on Saturday, May 21 from 6:00 –8 :00 PM for their 4th annual trivia night and social. Enjoy beer, wine and appetizers and the chance to win several prizes. Come learn more about how OHU helps strengthen families and communities and prepare children for a prosperous future.

Tickets: $35 each and available on Eventbrite


  • OneHopeUnitedAB@gmail.com
  • Facebook.com/1hopeunitedAB
  • Twitter.com/1hopeunitedAB


OHU Staff Spotlight | Kathleen Tamsevicius

Check out OHU’s latest Staff Spotlight, featuring Kathleen Tamsevicius! Kathleen is a kindergarden teacher at our Des Plaines Child Development Center. Watch on as she explains an average day in her role and why she decided to become a teacher!

Support OHU on Give STL Day!

Mark Your Calendar – Give STL Day is May 3rd!

Give STL Day is a big, bold opportunity for OHU and for our community. A partnership between the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation and local nonprofits from across the area, Give STL Day is an online day of giving where nonprofits like ours will be reaching out to our donors – and looking for new ones – as we educate them about our mission and raise operating funds.

We hope you will join us! And don’t forget that it’s a great time to maximize your donations to One Hope United. During “lift periods”,

  • 6-6:20 a.m.
  • 10-10:20 a.m.
  • 12-12:20 p.m.
  • 6-6:20 p.m.
  • 11-11:20 p.m.

your gift to OHU may be lifted by up to 15 cents per dollar depending on the amount raised during that time (up to $500). Also, donations throughout the day are eligible for prizes, so keep an eye on the leaderboard!

Visit givestlday.org for additional details, and don’t forget to give on May 3rd! Finding One Hope United is easy! You can use the search box at the top of the page or go directly to the page for OHU by clicking here: https://givestlday.org/npo/one-hope-united.

If you have any questions, please call Jayme Godoyo at 618.315.2142 or email, jgodoyo@onehopeunited.org.

Don’t forget to “like” One Hope United on Facebook at facebook.com/1hopeunitedhudelson for live posts all day on Give STL Day!