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Our Very Own Leading Lady

We are happy to share that our very own Marketing Coordinator, Paige Mariah Delaney, was recently featured by I Want Her Job™!

I Want Her Job™ is a website with a mission to encourage the individual growth of career-minded women by fostering a love of learning, curiosity and a desire to help others. Paige was chosen to be featured as a “Leading Lady”, which the website describes as someone who is driven, collaborative and resourceful.

We are very proud of Paige for being deemed a Leading Lady and representing OHU! In this awesome interview, Paige touches on several topics, such as how she remains organized and just how she knew that her position at One Hope United would be the right fit for her. To check out the article, visit IWantHerJob.com!

A Story of Hope: Jacquelyn and Magaly

Jacquelyn, age 4, and Magaly, age 3, cannot speak. Their very young, single mother, Lissett Diaz, has never heard them utter a single word. Jacqueline and Magaly are 2 of 4 children born to Ms. Diaz, the oldest being 5 years old and the youngest 6 months old. Their father, who is not in their lives, left Ms. Diaz to work 12 hour days at a factory to support her family. Two years ago, Jacquelyn was diagnosed with William Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body and is characterized by developmental delays. Jacquelyn is mute but not deaf, while her sister Magaly is deaf and mute. Both girls communicate with aggression, frustration and wild behavior, comparable to Helen Keller. Magaly however, is more aggressive and will often fight her sister. Due to Ms. Diaz’s long hours at work, lack of support and procrastination, these girls had never received any services for their disabilities. One Hope United’s Intact Family Services became involved in August 2014 when Magaly drank Lysol while in the care of Ms. Diaz’s younger sister and her boyfriend. A second hotline call was made because Jacquelyn had bruises all over her body. It was determined that these bruises were a result of Magaly’s aggressiveness.

From August 2014 to January 2015, Ms. Erma Umoren worked with and encouraged their mother not to give up by getting herself and her children the services they needed. Often due to Ms. Diaz being tired, overworked and overwhelmed, she would not follow through with the recommended services for herself or her children. However, Ms. Umoren would not give up on this family. Through Ms. Umoren’s involvement with the family, Ms. Diaz was able to contact the special needs school in her community to set up an IEP team of professionals: special education teacher, general education teacher, evaluation representative, occupational therapist, psychologist, social worker and speech-language pathologist. Ms. Umoren supported Ms. Diaz and made arrangements with the team of professionals to get both of the girls evaluated. Ms. Umoren helped Ms. Diaz set up a family meeting with her sister and brother-in-law, who have since moved to Chicago to help Ms. Diaz raise her children. They plan to stay here permanently to continue supporting Ms. Diaz and the girls.

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Due to the Intact Family Program and Ms. Umoren’s encouragement and support, Jacquelyn and Magaly were accepted into ODLSS (Office of Diverse Learner Supports & Services) through Chicago Public Schools. On Friday, Feburary 13, 2015, both girls started their first day of school at Jesse Sherwood Elementary School (formerly known as early childhood instructional program), located at 245 W. 57th Street, Chicago, IL. The girls will be provided with transportation to and from school.

Jacquelyn was accepted in an inclusive program and will receive english language arts, mathematics, independent functioning, speech/language, social emotional and health/ medical services. Jacquelyn is also eligible for consultative nursing services. Magaly will receive individualized attention, prompting, verbal cuing, and modeling for appropriate social interaction and behavior. She will also benefit from a small structured classroom environment, where she can practice social skills and have the opportunity to relate to peers her age. Magaly has difficulties sustaining attention and following direction and shows Global Development Delay behaviors that are often associated with children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Magaly meets the criteria to receive services for children with developmental delays.

Ms. Diaz, with the help of her sister, has secured a new job with better work hours. Ms. Diaz couldn’t be more thrilled. “I hope my girls will talk”, she shared. “If you (Erma Umoren) had not been there, my girls would not have gotten the help they needed.” Staff at the school will help Ms. Diaz with potty training and support her in learning home to better communicate with her girls. We believe that Jacquelyn and Magaly will one day, like Helen Keller, “communicate with the outside world and lead a life of accomplishment.”

 

One Hope United Presents Hope in Action 2015

Each year, One Hope United serves thousands of children and families through our early childhood education centers, community based preventative services, and foster care and adoption programs. For over 120 years we’ve worked to successfully transition children into healthy, productive adults, and on April 18, 2015 we invite you to get involved with our mission by joining us at our new signature event, Hope in Action.

Hope in Action will take place in the heart of downtown, at the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier. We are very excited to share our bold vision for OHU, all while experiencing the fun and interactive exhibits of the museum. You may also look forward to enjoying the cuisine of Tanta Chicago, voted one of the best new restaurants in 2014 by Chicago Magazine.

For more information on this one of a kind event and ticket registration, visit www.onehopeinaction.org. You can also follow Hope in Action on Facebook for even more event updates.

Save the date and together let’s take action in creating exceptional outcomes for kids!

Our Very Own Frontline Hero

We are extremely proud of our very own, Andre Davis, Case Management Supervisor in the Florida region, for being recognized by Heartland for Children as a Frontline Hero.

Heartland for Children’s Frontline Hero series recognizes professional case managers, family support workers, supervisors, Life Coaches, and other front line staff in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands Counties by giving them the distinct title of “Frontline Heroes.” Each recipient has been nominated and chosen for their outstanding work and for going above and beyond supporting children and families. These heroes are extremely committed to improving the lives of the local children and families they are serving that have experienced trauma.

Andre and his wife Mitzi, who is a Licensing Specialist at Heartland for Children, are the organization’s first co-Frontline Heroes. View their inspiring video feature below.

Frontline Heroes: Andre and Mitzi Davis from Heartland for Children on Vimeo.

Congratulations Andre!

 

Our 2014 Annual Report is Here!

It’s been an exhilarating 12 months at One Hope United!  Our brand new Annual Report reflects the changes from the last year and tells you all about exciting new opportunities on our horizon.  Click on the image below to view the full report online.

In 2014 we realigned from a regionally-based set of programs into three distinct lines of service: Early Learning and Child Development, Placement (foster care and adoption), and Community-Based Family Support Services. This move allowed us to streamline our operations and align our best practices across the continuum of our services, regardless of region—ensuring each of the 10,000 children and families we serve receive the highest-quality services and care, no matter where they live.

Another exciting development that underscores our commitment to innovation was OHU’s selection through the Conscience Community Network (CCN) as one of the recipients of a multi-million dollar Social Impact Bond, which will fund the expansion of proven programs that serve children who are dually involved in Illinois’ child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This public-private partnership places us among a select group of organizations across the country that is embarking on promising new models of collaboration with government agencies and private funders.

At One Hope United we learn something new every day. And with your support we’ll continue to learn. We’ll continue to innovate. And we will pursue with a relentless energy—and sense of urgency— our mission of protecting children and strengthening families.

Foster Grandparent Christmas Program

It has been another wonderful year for our Foster Grandparent Program! Therefore, this year’s recent Christmas program was the perfect opportunity for participants to reflect on the major impact that the program has had on them all. Volunteers, teachers and students alike, presented personal letters and awards to celebrate the volunteers and their memorable experiences. One touching letter, tells the story of one special Foster Grandparent, Grandma Annie*:

“Every day in the Foster Grandparent Program brings a new challenge or a new success. Sometimes, it is the small moments that will stay with us and serve as a reminder of our program’s impact. Grandma Annie is a very special Foster Grandparent who spends all of her free time helping children. When Grandma Annie is not mentoring and tutoring children all day through our program, she is helping the kids at her church and making special homemade crafts for children that she knows will not receive much for the holidays, birthdays, etc. throughout the year. Grandma Annie does so much for children and others in need that it is hard to believe that she is making ends meet on less than $7,000 a year. This year has been especially difficult for Grandma Annie. She had a very serious health issue that caused her to spend over a month in the hospital and on top of the health issues; she was no longer able to afford to live in her trailer that she has lived in for years. There were many conversations between Foster Grandparent program staff and Grandma Annie, where she cried and contemplated giving up. One day, while she was in the hospital, she had a special delivery from the children at the school where she serves as a Foster Grandparent. Grandma Annie received over 100 handmade cards from the children at this Springfield school. Grandma Annie has overcome this difficult time, she is feeling better, located housing and is back to working with children at her school. Just this month, fighting through tears, Grandma Annie shared with our group about how she overcame such a difficult time in her life. She cried and said that she read those cards over and over again in the hospital and it was the one thing that told her she needed to get healthy and not give up. Grandma Annie explained that the Foster Grandparent program is her purpose and she knows that it has saved her life. There are many successes that our program could share in regards to the impact that this program has on the lives of our seniors, but these are the types of special moments that truly help people see beyond the poverty, health issues and daily challenges and instead gives them the happiness and motivation to keep going.”

The students also presented a special gift to Foster Grandparent, Grandma Mary. They made her a “math quilt”, which displayed special messages and math problems that they have solved due to all the time that she dedicated to helping them with their math.

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We’re very excited to continue making unforgettable memories with the Foster Grandparent Program in 2015!

 

Gingerbread Houses of Hope 2014

The 6th annual Gingerbread Houses of Hope took place on December 5th, to raise money for One Hope United. Each year, numerous families of the Lindenhurst/Lake Villa area gather together for this special event, gumdrops and licorice in hand, to festively decorate their gingerbread houses. Gingerbread Houses of Hope was the idea of the children of OHU Board member, Scott Moeller, and they have continued to host this family-friendly event year after year. This year, 150 families came out to decorate, all while raising $3,000 for One Hope United!

Lovin Oven Cakery also supported this holiday community event.

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Building Hope With Habitat for Humanity

On November 14, 2014, our service centers of Highlands and Hardee County, Florida collaborated with Habitat for Humanity in an amazing effort to build a home for a family in need. This was the first time in about five years that Habitat for Humanity Highlands County committed to a “new build”, which involves building a new home from start to finish. One Hope United couldn’t pass on the opportunity to lend a helping hand, with 15 staff members showing up to volunteer during the building process.

The OHU volunteers worked from about 8:30am until 3:00pm and accomplished a great deal, having gotten several walls for the house up by the end of the day. The family was asked to invest 300 “sweat” hours of their own; fortunately, the volunteers were able to donate 111.75 of those hours to the family, more than 1/3 of what is required. OHU does not want to just stop there, but plan to lend more of their time to this deserving family as the home nears completion and needs some painting or finishing touches.

A representative from the the team has also been invited to speak at the Habitat for Humanity Highland County Christmas breakfast to share their experience working together, as well as One Hope United’s view on the positive effects of affordable housing on families. One Hope United is very excited to begin teaming up with Habitat for Humanity for more volunteer opportunities like this in the near future!

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Discover Financial Spruces Up Lake Villa

On September 16, 2014, over 150 volunteers from Discover Financial descended on the Lake Villa campus to build bookcases, planter benches, picnic tables, and cubbies for the young men in our residential programs, as well as paint murals in the residence homes. They even built a Fitness Trail and a Frisbee Golf Course!

Arranged through Chicago CARES, this visit was part of Discover CARES month, a time in which employees across the country have the opportunity to volunteer in their communities.  This marks the 3rd year that Discover has come to our Lake Villa campus, and the company generously underwrote the expenses for all materials and tool rental.

The campus  looks more amazing than ever.  Thank you, Discover, for all that you do!Bookcases Finished_murals Picnic_Tables MuralsFitness_trail Frisbee_Golf Fitness_Trail (2)

The Simple Gift of a Coat

It’s hard to believe that summertime is over and fall is right around the corner!  The story below, from one of our caseworkers in Effingham, IL, is a great reminder that this time of seasonal transition can be a challenge for some families.

Take a moment to read the story below and share it with your friends and family.  And if you or your place of business are interested in supporting our holiday campaign by collecting grocery gift cards to be distributed to families in need, shopping for seasonal items for an individual child or group of children, and decorating a Gift Card Tree in your lobby or break room, please contact your local OHU representative below!


winter coatsI did a home visit this afternoon and the mom asked if I could find her boys some coats. She said they outgrew last year’s coats, and her youngest walked home from school today in a long-sleeve t-shirt. I put a request on Facebook for two gently used boy’s coats, and offered to pick them up. Well, within minutes I was contacted by a family friend who stated that he and his wife wanted to provide coats for the boys. Within 30 minutes, they were at the door with three bags of things for the boys. They wanted to make sure they stayed warm so they got them sweatshirts, hooded fleece jackets, and coats.

The boys were so overjoyed by these. They put all three on and said they were sleeping in them tonight! I offered to get a donation letter but they refused saying they wanted to remain anonymous. This is the time of year I especially love working in this field! I love seeing people give for no reason at all; and I love seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces. Even when it is for something most kids take for granted – a coat!

Ready to make a difference this fall?  Contact us to learn more:
Chicago
Jenaeth Markaj
jmarkaj@onehopeunited.org
312.949.4001

Chicago Collar Counties

Marilee LaMattina
mlamattina@onehopeunited.org
847.245.6553

Central and Southern IL

Jayme Godoyo
jgodoyo@onehopeunited.org
618.532.4311