The boost in Mari’s* confidence was evident after she was awarded “Best in Show” for her painting in the Arts and Crafts display at the Illinois Inter-Agency Athletic Association’s (IIAA) annual Balls, Bats, & Brains Training Conference.
Jordan* is proud of the relationships she is building with younger kids at Cunningham Children’s Home, especially the mentoring she’s done with 10-year-old Gavin*.
"I like feeling I’m helping my peers make positive choices," Jordan said. "And I’m glad Gavin feels like he can talk to me. It feels like I am making a difference in his life."
Yoga mats were rolled out onto the floor. The lights were low but flameless candles flickered in the center of the room. And the faint scent of lavender hung in the air. Fifteen-year-old Danielle* had just finished a Wise Inside yoga session at Cunningham Children’s Home and was feeling really good.
December was truly the most wonderful time of the year for 20-year-old Mark because it marked the one-year anniversary he has lived on his own in his very own apartment.
"This is the first time something is in my name," Mark said proudly with a huge smile on his face. "It’s very exciting!"
Thanks to a grant we received for our educational programs to purchase additional Chromebooks, the learning possibilities for our students in the Noel Education Center were endless during the fall semester.
As a New Year approaches, we plan for change. We establish goals and resolutions to greet the New Year with open arms. For Maggie*, the new year of change began in November when she started to pack her belongings in preparation to move out of the Girls Group Home (GGH) at Cunningham Children’s Home.
Above Mrs. Overman’s desk in her classroom at CIRCLE Academy hangs a picture of dandelions painted by her mother.
"When my siblings and I were younger, we would always bring dandelions to my mother," she explained. "While dandelions are actually weeds, we saw them as flowers."
Seventeen-year-old Hadley* doesn’t have a very long attention span. While she starts a lot of projects, she often doesn’t finish them. Impacted by a history of neglect and trauma, Hadley requires two staff members at a time for her care at Cunningham Children's Home because she can be highly volatile and low functioning.
When Scott* reeled in a nice catfish, it was hard to tell who was more excited: Scott or his fishing mentor Will Kirkpatrick.
"It’s a catfish!" yelled Will. "In all these years that’s the first catfish ever caught."
As they pulled in the fish, Will called for a camera to capture the historic moment and together he and Scott held up the catch and beamed.
Nothing quite says summer like taking in a major league baseball game.
"It was the BEST day ever and the Cubs even hit a grand slam!" Collin* said excitedly after he and two of his Cunningham peers took a day trip with staff to the big city.