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!

Tampa's WFLA-TV features OHU family who adopted five siblings out of foster care

ohu-harre-wflatvThe Harre family was featured in a Mother’s Day story for WFLA-TV News Channel 8 in Tampa, Fla. The family, with help from One Hope United, recently adopted five siblings out of foster care — expanding their family to 12 children. 

“Just knowing she’s there for me makes every day worth living,” 15-year-old Vanessa said about her mom, Tammy Harre.

Click here to watch the segment.

Students reach for the stars with foster grandparent’s merit program

Students at Ball Charter Elementary School in Springfield, Ill., pose with their portraits, drawn by foster grandparent volunteer Bassem Zaki.

Foster grandparent Bassem Zaki is encouraging student achievement at Ball Charter Elementary School in Springfield, Ill., with a new merit program.

Zaki, who is working closely with teachers to implement the program, joined his artistic abilities along with his passion for helping students to create the new system. He designed stars for each student, and when a student accumulates 50 star points, Zaki — with student permission — will draw and frame a portrait of that student, who can then take it home. The stars also can be used in the school store.

The teachers are pleased with Zaki’s creativity and commitment to helping them and their students. Zaki said he is happy to encourage excellence in scholastic achievement.

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

ohu-Girl in Tunnel
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.

 ohu-Kraft - bowling 2



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.