Staci has a lot on her plate. A single mother, she is the primary caregiver for her two children with special needs and her elderly parents who live with them. When Staci sought services at HopeSprings Counseling Services for her son, Jacob,* she did not realize how much her own life would change. Once skeptical for hope, she now sees there is light in the darkness.
Adrian* took a bite of his pizza and then shouted across the table, "TJ, TJ, TJ, I love you TJ!"
Reassuringly, TJ responded, "I love you too."
Projects in Deb Heater’s Social Skills class at Gerber, our residential education program, help equip our youth with the tools they need to be flexible and adjust their behavior to fit particular situations. They also teach life skills or as Deb says, "teach the kids they can do things to help themselves."
The article below was featured as part of the News-Gazette's: Sunday Special | Coronavirus and the community, Part V (April 19, 2020)
The Children’s Home
‘They’re actually getting a lot of work done’
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.