Experience Hope at Cunningham

Experience Hope at Cunningham

Our Residential Program gives our kids the opportunity to heal, learn and grow.

We all want and need the same things but we haven’t all had the same opportunities. At Cunningham, a community converges to give hope to those who need it most—youth who suffer from serious emotional and behavioral challenges that have been caused by abuse, neglect, mental illness, and more. Through comprehensive programs and services, we provide expert care to help our kids learn positive coping and behavioral skills, to achieve realistic academic goals, and to develop the life skills necessary to be successful in our community.


Through Education

Academic Programming

  • Gerber Education Program provides special education for approximately 30 youth in our residential treatment programs
  • located in the new state-of-the-art 50,100 square foot Rosann Gelvin Noel Education Center on the Cunningham campus
  • program recognized by Urbana School District 116
  • follows the district's curriculum and yearly calendar
  • important goal of education at Gerber is to help students make the transition to public school


Vocational Programming

  • Field trips to businesses, local organizations and work-related opportunities
  • Resume building and vocational skill-building activities (e.g., mock-interviews)
  • Coordination and support for volunteering opportunities (e.g., Food Pantry, Humane Society)
  • Coordination of work experiences on campus and in the local community (e.g., mail services, recycling, food services, animal services, other trades)


Spiritual Programming

  • spiritual assessments, spiritual life groups, spiritual counseling
  • Chapel Leaders Program
  • choir
  • special Events: guest speakers, music groups, Vacation Bible School, Service projects



Through Therapy

Recreational Programming

  • IIAA sports team participation
  • swimming lessons, pool games, water aerobics (seasonal, pool on-site)
  • yoga (weekly in each unit)

Special Therapies Programming

  • specialty counseling groups (e.g., sensory-regulation, music-involved therapies, self-regulation, anger management, healthy self-expression, positive social experiences)
  • special event/activity trips in Illinois/Indiana area
  • “Village Rhythms” drumming group
  • pet therapy


Through Activity

On Campus Activities

  • arts and crafts
  • music
  • dance
  • geocaching
  • video games/game rooms
  • board games
  • trivia tournaments
  • Legos/K’nex
  • spa days
  • Sephora make-up nights
  • Bingo
  • Pokemon and/or Magic the Gathering

Local Outings

  • Meadowbrook Park, Hessel Park, Lake of Woods, Homer Lake
  • Sholem Aquatic Park, Urbana Aquatic Center, Crystal Lake pool
  • Bookstores, Urbana Public Library, Champaign Public Library
  • Movie theaters, bowling alleys and favorite eateries
  • Events connected to the University of Illinois and Parkland College (e.g., UIUC museums, sporting events, shows,  Japanese House)
  • Local Festivals:  Taste of Champaign, Festival of Trees, Parade of Lights, Sweet Corn Festival , CU Folk & Roots Festival, Fall Harvest Festival, CU Jazz Festival for Young Artists
  • Local Specialty Centers:  Curtis Orchard, Pumpkin Patches, Skateland, Laser Tag, arcades, Steam Locomotive, Planetarium, Reindeer Ranch

Younger Youth Outings

  • Parkland Planetarium
  • Orpheum Children’s Science Museum
  • Chanute Aerospace Museum
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • zoos (e.g., Peoria Zoo) 
  • indoor rock-climbing, laser tag, local soccer fields and basketball courts

Older Youth Outings

  • Spurlock and Krannert Art Museums
  • Humane Society visits
  • Jupiter's Pizza and Billards
  • Busey Woods hikes
  • miniature golf/batting cage outings
  • day camp opportunities for individuals
  • host special events (e.g., gala and art auction)

Girls and Boys Group Homes Outings

  • Life Skills: Walmart shopping; Urbana Market grocery shopping; Tuscola Outlet Mall shopping
  • art fairs
  • hiking in Allerton Park
  • Peoria Museum and Riverfront walk
  • Mahomet AutoFest
  • Summer Garden concerts
  • fishing trips at Kaufman Lake
  • Kickapoo State Park (canoeing)
  • Aikman Wildlife Adventure
  • $1.00 movie night
  • drive-in movie theaters
  • Virginia Theater performances
  • local concerts

Larger Seasonal Field Trips

  • Six Flags
  • Great America
  • Knights Action Park
  • White Sox games
  • Big Cats Reserve (IN)

Read stories about how our kids experience hope and healing.