kids

kids

The Heart of It All

Johnco, Inc., Construction Supervisor Scott Saunders didn’t quite get the reaction he was expecting when he gave the Cunningham kitchen staff a tour of the space that will soon be the kitchen and cafeteria in the Education and Recreation Center (ERC).

“Some of them actually cried,” he said.

All those years of serving meals to Cunningham kids from an outdated and tired kitchen are coming to a close. But the tears weren’t about that; the tears were about having a facility where they can better help our kids grow and be healthy and live better lives.

Now Performing...

Billy* was feeling both excited and anxious. The annual talent show has always been a highly anticipated end of the school year event at Cunningham and for the first time he had signed up to perform. He had practiced and practiced his own rendition of Lee Greenwood’s classic “God Bless the USA” and now it was time to take the stage.           

So What’s Next?

Bryce*, one of our high school spring graduates, was so excited preparing for graduation, he could hardly contain himself. And he had a right to be–Bryce has come a long way and made significant progress in his time at Cunningham.

MARCH GLADNESS!

Libby* sat on the bench with her arms folded and her head down. It was her first game as a member of Cunningham’s girls’ basketball team and while it was just the first half, she was frustrated with herself because she hadn’t scored.

“I don’t feel like I’m helping the team at all,” she told her coach.

Walk for Water

It's amazing to see how a schoolwide reading assignment can touch the hearts of our youth.
 
Our students at Gerber School recently read, "A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park, thanks to the generosity of employees at Amdocs, who purchased the books. The novel begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. 
 

Coming Full CIRCLE

In early December, youth from CIRCLE Academy-Vermilion (CAV) went on a special school trip - to see Wonder. A movie based on the New York Times bestseller, Wonder tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.

Now Shane Has Options

Do you remember your first job out of high school? And how proud you were to have grownup responsibilities, not to mention your own paycheck? Shane, a 19-year-old young man on the autism spectrum, feels that way and more after successfully completing his first three months of work at a local fast food restaurant. A year ago, after completing high school, neither Shane nor his family had any idea what the future held for him. It was through a referral to Cunningham's Vocational Options program that he not only found employment, but support and hope as well.

Mario's Jesus Blanket

For Christmas Eve service this year, Chaplain Gay decorated the worship table in the Spiritual Life Center in a special way -- with a gift she had received from one of our kids. During Wednesday night chapel service earlier this month, 12-year-old Mario* couldn't wait to give it to her.

"Mario ran up to me and said, 'I have something I want to show you,'" Chaplain Gay explained. "He had it wrapped in a gift bag with a note. It was a big deal to him and very, very sweet."

The note read:

Dear Chaplain Gay,

Eyes Are Constantly On Us

On a recent Monday evening, I pulled on to the Cunningham campus after a spending the day visiting with some of our friends and supporters in the northern part of Illinois Great Rivers Conference.  As usual, it was a very satisfying day sharing stories about our kids at Cunningham with people who care deeply about them.  But it was also a tiring day.  Just two days before, I had made a quick trip to St. Paul, Minnesota and back to see family so I'd seen plenty of windshield time for awhile.