Discover volunteers put muscle into renovating One Hope United campus

From The Daily Herald:

Two hundred volunteers from Discover and Chicago Cares gave a serious makover Friday to One Hope United’s 36-acre campus in Lake Villa.

The campus houses 30 boys ages 10-18, most of whom have experienced severe abuse. One Hope United provides counseling, therapy and individualized educational services with a goal to transition the boys to live with a family in the community. The campus also has a therapeutic day school for 45 boys in grades 7-12.

Read more here.

Youth in Centralia residential care program enjoy campout

Youth and staff from One Hope United’s residential care program in Centralia, Ill., stepped out of their normal routines to go camping last month at nearby Camp Maranatha.

OHU occupied two cabins at the camp in Ramsey, Ill., and male and female youth and staff took turns spending a night. Most of the youth had never camped before and staff enjoyed giving them this opportunity. “It was great to see them get to just be kids,” said Rachel Stransky, activity specialist at the care program.

Campers swam — using the campground’s giant waterslide and water trampoline — and also floated in canoes and paddle boats and fished.

In the evenings, they cooked meals over the campfire. Youth stayed up late to sit around the fire, eat s’mores and tell ghost stories. Some youth and staff also played a game of flashlight tag.

“It was great because we didn’t have to do our point sheets and we got to stay up late!” said one female youth who attended the campout.

Overall, it was a great experience and something youth and staff likely will not forget.

OHU receives donation in memory of inspiring former employee

Friends of former One Hope United employee DeColbie Esco recently honored him by donating a large portion of the proceeds from a charity golf outing to OHU in his memory. 

DeColbie, who was killed at age 30 in a hit-and-run car accident last summer, served as a role model to many people. 

“It was so surprising the impact he had on me,” said Amanda Siegrist, DeColbie’’s college classmate. “It was very humbling and inspiring to hear the struggles he had grown up with.” 

DeColbie was raised in a rough neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. At 14, he was caught selling drugs by an undercover police officer. His mother knew she had to take action to help DeColbie. She encouraged him to work with teachers to improve his grades, and he started playing football. 

Sports proved to be an important outlet for DeColbie. Upon graduating high school, he received a scholarship to play football at Wingate University in North Carolina. For his senior project in college, he and his classmate, Amanda, wrote about how football influenced him to change his life. 

“He didn’t have a chip on his shoulder about the world. He just went about his life and did the best he could with what he had,” Amanda said. “A big part of his making a change was he just needed people in his life to give him support,” she added. 

When DeColbie graduated college and moved back to the Chicago neighborhood where he grew up, he wanted to be that source of support for other children in his community who were struggling to make a change. He began working for an OHU child development center in an after-school care program. 

Amanda and a few other Wingate alumni and professors held their first golf outing in May and chose to celebrate DeColbie’’s efforts in supporting at-risk children by donating some of the proceeds to OHU.

WGN-TV features OHU revving up for Big Wheel charity race

WGN-TV: One Hope United supporter Marco Foster, founder of Chicago Models, will lead OHU’s Big Wheel racing team as part of the Tour de Grid fundraiser benefiting eight local charities! The event takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at The Grid, 351 W. Hubbard St., Chicago. Buy tickets here. Watch WGN’s news segment featuring OHU and other participants preparing for the race here.

One Hope United opens new Mt. Vernon location

From the Mt. Vernon Register-News: One Hope United opened a new, consolidated location in Mt. Vernon, Ill. The agency purchased a building at 4110 N. Water Tower Place and will hold an open house to celebrate the opening from 3 to 5 p.m. on July 15. One Hope United formerly operated two separate offices in Mt. Vernon. It serves nearly 400 children and families in the area each year. Read more here.

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.

Foster grandparents giving back to their communities

Pictured: Foster Grandparent Volunteer Jack Sunderlik.
Pictured: Foster Grandparent Volunteer Jack Sunderlik.

From Naperville Patch: In the article, “Finding One’s Self in Serving Others,” columnist Tim Mitchinson writes about how the Foster Grandparent Program benefits the children served and the seniors who volunteer to participate. “Our volunteers become family,” said Gloria Monahan, One Hope United’s foster grandparent program director in Springfield, Ill. “I’ve always felt that the purpose of life is a life of purpose,” added foster grandparent volunteer Jack Sunderlik. Read the full article here.

Foster grandparents put smiles on children's faces with homemade cards

ohu-fostergrandparents-cardsFrom the Mt. Vernon Register-News: Foster grandparents from One Hope United’s Hudelson Region created homemade cards for children with life-threatening illnesses as part of Senior Corps Week activities that occurred throughout Illinois. “The card will put a smile on a child’s face,” said Foster Grandparent Volunteer Cyndy Dycus. Read the article here. Photo by Mt. Vernon Register-News