Target grant provides new books for Busy Bee children

ohu-cdc-targetBooks 1There’s nothing like the smell of brand new books! Thanks to a grant from Target to promote early childhood reading, children at Busy Bee Children’s Center in Waukegan, Ill., are enjoying nearly 150 new books.

ohu-cdc-targetBooks 11“The children and staff were very excited and grateful for the donation,” said Kay Smith, the Waukegan day care center‘s director.

Books covered a range of topics, including going green, transporatation, community helpers, letters, numbers, science, animals, being healthy and books to support social-emotional development.

Northern Region hosts Ice Fishing Derby

The Muskie Association of Fox Valley and a One Hope United board member hosted an Ice Fishing Derby on Sunday, Feb. 24, for the CARE Day Treatment residents at One Hope United in Lake Villa, Ill.

Twenty fishermen arrived at 6 a.m. with snow mobiles and ATVs to set up the ice-fishing community off the shore of Deep Lake. Nineteen residential boys from ages 10-18 years and seven staff members arrived at 7 a.m. for a safety talk and an ice-fishing lesson.

Board member Cindy Lusignan and volunteers coordinated and donated breakfast and lunch for all who attended, and Amy Ceshker and the CARE team provided support to make the event a success. Cabela’s donated water bottles. World champion ice fisherman Mike McNett attended and donated warm hats. 

The boys said that while at first they did not want to wake up so early Sunday morning and were not sure about spending all that time on the ice, they became converts to the sport and the fun of catching fish.

Fabulous Fox Theatre donates Stomp! tickets to OHU clients

Boys and girls from the Hudelson Region residential treatment program were in for a loud Saturday night in January when they were given tickets to attend a performance of STOMP! at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

STOMP! is a percussion group that uses ordinary objects to create a musical experience that is not only fun to listen to, but exciting to watch.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre donated 25 tickets to the Family Support Workers, clients out of the Collinsville, Ill., office, and a few lucky staff members for the evening performance on Friday, Jan. 11, and another 25 tickets to the residential treatment staff and clients for the evening show on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Christina was one of the Collinsville clients who attended the Friday night show with her four children — Desi, Tommy, Ryan and Danny.

“It was the best show I’ve ever been to,” Christina said.

Her children agreed STOMP! was a lot of fun. “Those guys can dance,” Ryan said, and Danny added that it was the best night out he’d had in a long time. 

Jean-Ann Loyd-Cordevant, an OHU family support specialist who attended the Friday night show, said the show was incredible.

“The performers were unlike anything that I have ever seen before,” she said. “If it had not been for the generous gift from One Hope United, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience that. Thank you so much.”

Girl Scouts make blankets for children served by OHU

Pictured are Girl Scouts in Waltonville, Ill., with blankets they made for children served by One Hope United.
Girl Scout Troop No. 8866 in Waltonville, Ill., recently made blankets for children served by One Hope United’s SASS (Screening and Assessment Services) program. The troop was inspired to make the blankets after hearing a presentation about SASS by OHU-Hudelson caseworker Carol Whitehead. SASS is an intensive mental health program providing services to children with a mental illness or emotional disorder.

OHU employee gathers donations to help family in need

A family served by One Hope United in Collinsville, Ill., had an extra-special holiday this year thanks to Family Support Specialist Jean Ann Loyd-Cordevant.

Loyd-Cordevant works with a family with five children who were struggling to improve their lives but found it difficult as they needed basic items such as furniture, clothes, blankets, food and toys, said Supervisor Brionne Rhodes. 

Loyd-Cordevant took it upon herself to seek donations for this family. Members of the community worked with Loyd-Cordevant and Rhodes to donate furniture, and Loyd-Cordevant coordinated volunteers and spent her Saturday dropping off and furnishing the client’s home with new items. 

“I would do anything to help our families,” Loyd-Cordevant said. “This was such a nice donation, I could not let it slip by, especially for a family that really needs it. One Hope United is an amazing agency and I believe in what we do.” 

“We are so grateful and overwhelmed by the help from Jean Ann,” said OHU client Deidra, the mother of the family. 

Pictured are OHU client Deidra with her children and OHU Family Support Specialist Jean Ann Loyd-Cordevant.

Gift donations brighten holiday for many children

The holidays were brighter for many children served by One Hope United programs in Collinsville, Ill., thanks to employees from the local Victoria’s Secret and Pink retail stores who donated gifts as part of the stores’ holiday Giving Tree program. 

“The Giving Tree is something I look forward to every year,” said Samantha Merlak, a Victoria’s Secret manager. “Christmas is my most favorite time of the year and I truly believe there is no greater gift than giving.” 

Employees from Victoria’s Secret and Pink, located in the St. Clair Square shopping center in Fairview Heights, Ill., chose One Hope United as the recipient of their annual program, which provides gifts for children and families in need. 

Store employees each shopped for one or two children based on “wish lists” provided by One Hope United. More than 50 children received gifts, making the retail outlets two of the largest Collinsville donors this season, said Jayme Godoyo, OHU fund development officer. 

“I love that something so small I did is going to make such a big difference in a child’s life,” added a Pink employee. 

Pictured are Victoria’s Secret and Pink store employees with holiday gifts they donated for children served by One Hope United programs in Collinsville, Ill.

Joliet project included in $45 million grant program

Photo courtesy of the State of Illinois and Harvey Tillis.
by Bob Okon for the Joliet Herald-News

JOLIET — A Joliet project was included in a $45 million government funding package announced Wednesday for improving early childhood education in Illinois.

The state will spend the money in the form of Early Childhood Construction Grants to fund construction and renovation at 14 locations.

In Joliet, $3.1 million will be spent to renovate the closed Parks Elementary School at Parks Avenue and Ohio Street.

The Joliet project has been in the works for more than a year, and it is expected to take another two years before the early learning center would open. This week, the Joliet City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement that will make it possible for the project to move forward.

Chicago-based One Hope United will acquire the building from the Joliet Grade School District.

“This really is going to be a great addition to the community,” Mark McHugh, executive director for One Hope United, told the city council this week. “Joliet in particular has a very high need for early childhood education for low-income families.”

McHugh estimated that the early learning center would open in spring 2015. He said the organization still needs to raise about $1 million to fund the project.

One Hope United is a child services group that started in 1895 as the Chicago Baptist Orphanage. The organization previously had a Joliet office for foster care services.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the grants, saying in a written statement, “We know that investing in early childhood education is the best way to ensure lifelong success for our students.”

The grant money is part of the state’s “Illinois Jobs Now!” capital construction program.

One Hope United Receives $3.1 Million Early Childhood Construction Grant From Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

Photo courtesy of the State of Illinois and Harvey Tillis.
One Hope United is thrilled to announce the receipt of a $3.1 million grant from the office of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to support our early childhood education efforts. The Early Childhood Construction Grants are paid for by the Illinois Jobs Now! initiative, and One Hope United will use the funds to build a new early child care center in Joliet. The Joliet Early Learning Center will serve more than 200 children ages birth through age 12, with a special emphasis on serving infants and toddlers. Our 11 Child Development Centers across the Chicagoland area serve more than 1,200 children daily, and 10 have received accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. 

“The achievement gap begins before a child steps foot into kindergarten,” Governor Quinn said. “We know that investing in early childhood education is the best way to ensure lifelong success for our students. By setting our youngest learners on the right track now, we can prepare them for a lifetime of growth and strengthen our economy for the future.” 

Gov. Quinn announced the 14 recipients of the grants today at a press conference at Cicero’s “Through A Child’s Eyes” Program, attended by State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico and One Hope United Northern Region Executive Director, Mark McHugh, who spoke at the conference representing both One Hope United and the Illinois Early Learning Council, where he co-chairs the Capital Development and Infrastructure Committee. “We are excited to receive this grant and extend our ability to give young children across Illinois the early education they deserve,” McHugh said. “A child who is allowed to thrive and receive a nurturing, empowering start will become a prosperous and successful adult in the long run. We commend Gov. Quinn for his commitment to early childhood education across the state.”

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Bulls TV recaps boys in CARE program's day with Joakim Noah

Chicago Bulls TV posted this video depicting the relationship between the boys from One Hope United’s CARE Day Treatment Program and Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah. The boys recently spent the day with Noah and his mother Cecilia Rodhe at his house where they played basketball, ate lunch, sat around a campfire and just hung out talking. Noah and Rodhe are co-founders of Noah’s Arc Foundation, which aims to help children achieve their full potential through art and sports.

“Meeting a basketball player means a lot to us,” said Isaiah, one of the boys in the program. “Other people don’t get to see what we go through, but he gets to meet us. He understands.”

“I’m in a privileged position,” Noah said. “I have a voice and kids listen. So, I think I have a responsibility to do positive things for the community.”