You can give the best gift

You can give the best gift

Think about the best gift you ever received as a child. Chances are, you don’t still have it and probably haven’t had it for quite some time, but as a youngster, weren’t presents just the best thing ever? Like most kids, our youth have already written out their Christmas wish lists for this year, but because of your generosity, many have already received, perhaps, their greatest gift.

It’s the "intangible" gifts Evan, Ricky and Eva, featured in the short stories below, have received through our programs and services that will truly be the best gifts they’ve ever been given. Gifts like confidence, normalcy and expression have no physical presence and can’t be touched but can truly change the quality and trajectory of one’s life.


“I’m not afraid to try new things and that feels good.”
Evan* has never had much confidence when it came to playing sports. This year, however, he participated in Illinois Interagency Athletic Association’s virtual soccer challenge. The virtual opportunity provided a comfortable environment for Evan to try his best to be successful as an individual while “competing” against others. Feeling ready and confident, Evan made 9 out of 10 goals in the soccer goal challenge and turned in the highest score for Cunningham! He is already excited for the next opportunity to show his skills.


“Being back at my public school makes me feel proud and just like a regular kid.”
Due to intense behavioral challenges, Ricky* moved from foster home to foster home often resulting in difficulties in school. When he moved in with the Pinters*, a supportive foster care family, he began attending CIRCLE Academy. With a stable and positive living environment, Ricky began to better apply himself at school and worked hard to complete his assignments. Soon, Ricky’s grades, behavior and attendance were trending in such a positive direction that his teacher recommended he return to his public school. Ricky was so proud of himself and just so CIRCLE Principal Charles Hogue didn’t forget, he continued to remind him by asking, “You know where I’m going in the fall, right?” Hearing Principal Hogue respond, “Yes Ricky, you’re going back to your public school fulltime,” always put a huge smile on Ricky’s face.


“I’m happy I can say what I’m thinking.”
Overwhelmed with emotion, seven-year-old Eva* stood up, walked into the living room, and called out, “We need a family meeting!” Like most siblings, Eva and older sister Sadie fought, but Eva became so upset from Sadie’s negative comments she’d shut down and avoid communication. As a result, Eva became explosive because she never felt heard. Eva worked hard with Jennifer, her HopeSprings Counseling Services therapist, to understand her emotions and their connection to her behavior and was finally able to express her need for a family meeting. Mom and Dad are so proud she’s found her voice in a productive way.


Will you give your best gift today and help provide gifts of a lifetime to more young people like Evan, Ricky and Eva?

You will be excited to learn that your gift will have twice the impact because of a special Thanksgiving match. Loyal supporters have stepped forward with their best gift and because they want to encourage YOU to do the same, they have committed to match every Thanksgiving gift this year up to $55,000. What a blessing!