Meet Hephzibah friends Diane and Perry Pero
In the Pero family, “children are everything” and that credo extends far beyond familial boundaries. For more than 20 years, Diane and Perry Pero have been devoted Hephzibah supporters, generously giving their time, their expertise and their resources to benefit the children and families Hephzibah serves.
“It started with one step and the next thing you know, it’s a journey,” Diane says, reflecting on their many connection points over the years. In addition to serving on numerous committees and as event sponsors, Diane and Perry – who are now retired from their careers as a high school teacher and as vice chair for Northern Trust Corporation, respectively – maintain a close connection to the children and to Hephzibah’s mission. The recently completed bathroom renovation at the group home was made possible thanks to their generous gift.
“We participate and contribute to places where there is a direct effect. The work that takes place at Hephzibah is awe inspiring,” Diane says. “There are so many children out there could benefit from Hephzibah.”
While they now live in Chicago, the Peros raised their two children in Oak Park. Their son, Arthur, is now raising his own family in his childhood home. “Having Hephzibah in the community is such a blessing – the care the children receive is very intense, yet it is caring, very personal and nurturing. I wish there were more programs like this where there are people who have real understanding, are hands on and committed to helping the children grow,” Diane says.
“I can’t think of a better place for the children and it is so rewarding to support an institution that is making such a difference in children’s lives.”
October 5-7, St. John's Lutheran Church, Forest Park
The Hephzibah Kids Resale Event (formerly the Parenthesis Consignment Sale) is this weekend. Four separate sales are planned – the first is from 7-8 p.m. Thursday, October 5, with the Maternity Only sale. The VIP Sale will be held from 7-9 p.m. Friday, October 6, and there is a $10 entry fee. The free admission regular sale is from 8:30-11 a.m. Saturday, October 7, and will be followed by the half-price sale from 11:30-noon.
All proceeds from this immensely popular sale of children’s clothing and gear will benefit the children and families in Hephzibah’s programs. The sale will be held at St. John Lutheran Church, 305 Circle, Forest Park.
Proceeds of popular "sangwich" sales to benefit Hephzibah
Throughout the month of October, when you dine at the popular Chicago BBQ joint “Pork and Mindy’s” located at 1623 N. Milwaukee Avenue, you will be helping Hephzibah! In addition to co-hosting the popular television program The Kitchen, and being a star chef on the Food Network, Jeff Mauro is the executive chef and owner of Pork and Mindy’s, and he is a long-time and generous friend of Hephzibah. In recognition of National Pork Month, Mauro is donating $3 for every 3 Big Piggies “sangwich” sold during the month, to Hephzibah.
Created by Chef Mauro himself, the 3 Big Piggies “sangwich” is the “ultimate porker,” featuring smoked pulled pork, crispy pork, Pig Candy, BBQ mayo, tempura-fried giardiniera, lettuce and tomato, on griddled brioche. With this creative BBQ concept, Mauro is offering his guests the opportunity to experience one-of-a-kind BBQ fare while also supporting an exceptional cause.
Mauro is the 2015 recipient of Hephzibah’s Heart of Gold award, and Pork & Mindy’s is proud to support Hephzibah, an organization that is near and dear to Mauro’s heart. Be sure to invite your friends for delicious lunch or dinner and help Hephzibah at the same time!
Save the date - Saturday, March 3, 2018
The Heart of Gold Ball is a celebration of big hearts and big dreams and we want you to dream with us! Join us on Saturday, March 3, at the Bridgeport Arts Center for a spectacular evening of dining and dancing, and most importantly, raising funds to help us make children’s dreams come true.
The Heart of Gold Ball is Hephzibah’s signature fundraising and celebration event. Thanks to the remarkable leadership from our stellar planning committee, last year’s gala raised more than $400,000 to benefit vulnerable children and families served by Hephzibah. This year, we’re dreaming big and setting our sights on breaking that record.
The event begins at 6 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by dinner catered by Paramount Events, award presentations, a live auction and dancing to Maggie Speaks. Planning is now underway. To learn more about the 2018 Heart of Gold ball, to volunteer or become an event sponsor, please contact Whitney Gravely, Special Events Manager at 708-649-7161 or email@example.com.
Donate, consign, volunteer, shop and help children in need!
Hephzibah Children’s Association is thrilled to host the Hephzibah Kids Resale Event, formerly known as the Parenthesis Consignment Sale. All proceeds from this immensely popular sale of children’s clothing and gear will benefit the children and families in Hephzibah’s programs. The sale will be held October 5-7, at St. John Lutheran Church, 305 Circle, Forest Park.
“We are working with a tremendous team of volunteers who are experienced in running the sale,” says Hannah Weigel, Hephzibah’s volunteer manager. “The biannual sale has been an incredible success for more than 20 years, and we are so pleased to now be hosting it. The proceeds will benefit the children in our care who have suffered serious trauma, as well as families who are struggling due to crisis.”
Continuing the 20+ year history of successful sales, the Hephzibah Kids Resale Event includes four separate sales. The first is from 7-8 p.m. Thursday, October 5, with the Maternity Only sale, with free admission. The VIP Sale will be held from 7-9 p.m. Friday, October 6, and there is a $10 entry fee. The free admission regular sale will be held from 8:30-11 a.m. Saturday, October 7, and will be followed by the half-price sale from 11:30-noon.
The Kids Resale Event provides the perfect opportunity to clean out your kids’ closets and drawers. Donations of fall and winter clothing that is clean and free of stains, rips or damage will be accepted on Monday, October 2, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. and Tuesday, October 3, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. at St. Joh Lutheran Church
Individuals may also consign children’s clothing or gear. To learn the steps to take on how to consign items, go to hephzibahhome.org/consign-kids-resale-event.
You can support Hephzibah’s Kids Resale Event by donating, consigning, volunteers or shopping. Volunteers who work 6 hours or more can shop early before the public sale and free childcare is available during the morning shifts. You can sign up to volunteer at Sign up Genius signupgenius.com/go/4090445a5ae2aa7ff2-volunteer1.
Complete information about donating, consigning, volunteering and shopping is at hephzibahhome.org/event/hephzibah-kids-resale/.
Swanksgiving Event to be held Friday, November 17
Hephzibah is fortunate to have many loyal, generous donors but few have the long history with the organization that Jodi Fyfe does.
As a young child living in Oak Park, Jodi attended Hephzibah’s after school day care and summer camp program when it was located at the site of the group home, 946 North Boulevard, and through the years, her connection grew even stronger. In addition to serving on the Oak Park Auxiliary Board for several years where she helped plan the annual Heart of Gold Gala event, Jodi has volunteered at the group home, met dozens of Wish List and Gift-in-Kind needs, and hosted fund-raising events. And this fall, Jodi is using her professional talent and expertise to launch Hephzibah’s newest fund-raising event, Swanksgiving, to be held Friday, November 17.
Jodi is the founder and CEO of Paramount Events, one of Chicago’s most renowned and highly regarded catering businesses. Adding to her successful business portfolio, last winter Jodi and her husband, business partner and executive chef Devon Quinn, opened the critically acclaimed new restaurant Eden, adjacent to the Paramount Events building.
Because Hephzibah is near and dear to her heart, Jodi generously offered to host the Swanksgiving event as a way to introduce and attract new supporters to Hephzibah. Swanksgiving will be held from 7-11 p.m, November 17, at The Lakewood, Paramount’s private venue located at 1758 West Lake Street in Chicago. Guests can enjoy wine and beer tasting, cocktails, food, and DJ, and have the chance to win fun and exciting raffle items. Tickets for Swanksgiving are only $75, and all proceeds will benefit Hephzibah.
“My team and I take great pride in offering our time and resources to benefit worthy organizations,” Jodi says. “I have such a personal connection to Hephzibah and am so moved and inspired by the work and the mission that sharing it with others in Chicago is just natural. We are excited to introduce this new event and all the possibilities that it can bring to the children served by Hephzibah.”
Chicago, Oak Park and Glen Ellyn Auxiliaries are Recruiting New Members
Throughout the year, Hephzibah’s three amazing auxiliary boards are busy raising awareness of Hephzibah, planning activities for the kids in the group home and foster homes, and organizing fundraising events to support the mission of the agency. The support and generosity of the auxiliary members is boundless and their devotion to Hephzibah’s mission is remarkable – and to keep the energy and spirit going, we’re looking for new members to join the Chicago, Oak Park and Western Suburbs auxiliaries.
There are many reasons to join an auxiliary board – you will make new friends, experience a greater purpose in life by helping children in need, and have fun while helping build a brighter future for the children we serve. And, there are many ways to be involved: planning and attending activities with the children; organizing events to raise awareness and funds for Hephzibah; and volunteering at Hephzibah events and activities. Some of the many activities organized by the boards include: Hoof It For Hephzibah 5K Walk/Run; dodgeball and bowling tournaments; Kid’s Gala at Hephzibah Home; garden planting; Sunday Suppers; Holiday of Hope Party; trips to cultural and recreational sites in Chicago; and seasonal parties and celebrations with the children.
Meetings for each of the auxiliaries are held monthly. To learn more about the groups and their activities and projects, visit the Auxiliary page on our website.
Oak Park Auxiliary Board members hosted a royal extravaganza with all the trimmings!
It was not a typical Saturday night at Hephzibah’s Group Home. The tables set with white tablecloths, flowers and glittering confetti in the dining room and trays of fancy stemware and homemade cakes lined up in the kitchen made it look like something fancy was about to happen. On Saturday, April 12, Oak Park Auxiliary Board members hosted a special gala especially for the 26 young residents, with all the details of a royal banquet.
Guests received official invitations earlier in the week, so anticipation had been growing. The kids entered the dining room wearing their dressiest outfits, carefully accessorized with items such as ties, purses, pearls and faux fur. Each guest found a bejeweled crown at his or her place setting.
The Auxiliary Board members, wearing black and white, served plated dinners of chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green beans to their seated guests. Small arms raised goblets of sparkling juice when a celebratory toast was proposed by Dave Wick, Oak Park Auxiliary Board member and chairman of the Kids Gala.
In a special ceremony following dinner, each guest received an individual award for an outstanding ability or talent. One boy was honored as the Master Lego Builder for his prowess in creative building. A girl was crowned Dancing Queen for doing the splits and dancing all the time — even in the car.
One boy was designated Renaissance Kid for his range of talent: he appreciates music of all types, runs lightening fast, and can build anything using cardboard, scissors and duct tape. Among the awards given out: Most Helpful, Mr. Fix-It, Master Reader, Best Bike Rider, and Biggest Heart. The kids were delighted to receive their awards and the accompanying chorus of cheers and applause.
After Natalie Noonan, secretary of the Oak Park Auxiliary Board, announced each award, the winner came forward proudly to collect a certificate and have a photo taken. Their smiles are the evidence of the wonderful evening they enjoyed. Thank you, Oak Park Auxiliary Board, for taking the time to make each child feel so special and valued.
The members of our three Auxiliary Boards meet monthly to plan activities with the Group Home kids and to assist with fundraising events. There are volunteer groups in Chicago, Oak Park, and the Western Suburbs. For information about joining an Auxiliary Board, contact Hannah Weigel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are thankful for the people of RPAI who care so much about Hephzibah's mission
The seeds were planted just before Christmas in 2013, when Grace Khamou from Retail Properties of America, Inc. spoke to Hephzibah’s Deb Poe about buying presents from the wish lists of several children in the Group Home. The Oakbrook, IL, company’s generosity has continued to flourish as its employees have become more and more invested in Hephzibah’s mission.
“RPAI has become our largest contributor at Christmas time,” said Deb Poe, donor relations manager. “Not only does RPAI shop for several gifts from the wish list of every one of the 26 kids in Hephzibah Home, they also give every child a new outfit and shoes.”
RPAI employees shop for the children’s gifts and bring them to their holiday party. The result has been two very full van loads of presents! Poe said the people from RPAI will take on the challenge of locating a hard-to-find toy or spending extra to fulfill a special wish. The company has also taken a creative approach to helping Hephzibah, such as raffling off a parking spot and donating the proceeds to Hephzibah. This impressed RPAI’s president so much that he made a matching donation.
Grace Khamou, RPAI’s corporate communications manager, felt so strongly connected to helping Hephzibah that she asked Poe for ways to get involved at times other than the holidays. Khamou joined the Gala Committee for the Heart of Gold Ball and became a member of the Oak Park Auxiliary Board. What’s more, she recruited her friend and coworker, Lynn Reissenweber, RPAI’s vice president of asset management western division, to do the same! Grace and Lynn are a tremendous asset as volunteers — both for fundraising and activities with the kids.
RPAI is working with Poe on a program that allows employees to share their birthdays with the kids at Hephzibah by making a donation in honor of the occasion and asking family members to join them. We are so grateful that our partnership with this wonderful company and its employees continues to grow. To find out how your group can get involved, contact Deb Poe, email@example.com
Enable a child to enjoy the classic summertime sights and pleasures of Chicago.
Make summer special! Help our kids visit some of Chicago’s favorite places and you’ll provide warm, lasting memories. Consider helping us renew memberships to the Museum of Science and Industry ($155) or The Brookfield Zoo ($231). Sponsor an outing to Great America or the Forest Park Pool. Contact Deb Poe, donor relations manager, for more details. She will help match the amount you’d like to spend with an activity or item that the kids in our Group Homes will love.
Here are some more items on the wish list for our Group Homes:
• Nintendo DS games and devices, new or used
• DVDs of current kids movies
• Goggles, for ages 6 to 12 (especially face masks that cover the nose)
• Bike helmets, for ages 6 to 12, new or used (with working buckles and no cracks, please)
• Rubber sheets or mattress protectors for twin beds
• Small Lego sets to use as good behavior rewards
Our Day Care sites are in need of some items that you might have sitting in your house gathering dust. Here is your chance to do some spring cleaning!
We are looking for the following items in good condition:
• Baby dolls and baby doll accessories
• Barbie dolls and Barbie clothes, shoes and accessories
• Rubiks cubes
• Action figures and play sets
• Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards
Please label these bags or boxes “For Day Care” and drop off at Hephzibah offices: 1144 Lake Street, 5th floor, during business hours, or Hephzibah Home, 946 North Blvd. Remember, please label “For Day Care.” Your closets and toy bins will thank you, and so will we!
The Chicago Auxiliary Board's signature event raised more than $9,000
The Chicago Auxiliary Board’s 9th Annual Dodgeball Tournament was a huge success — lots of fun and more than $9,000 raised for Hephzibah! Thank you to all the players and spectators who joined us for a sunny day on Montrose Beach on June 25th. Special thanks to the Dodgeball Chair, Christina Ewing, and the Auxiliary Board president, Jackie White.
We are grateful to our generous sponsors for making the day possible! Thank you Perl Mortgage, Sloan and SG360 and for being our top supporters. Thanks to Hybrid Martial Arts, Kingsway, and Avid for taking part this year. And for keeping us fed and happy, we thank Mariano’s, VitaCoco, Skinny Pop, and 90+ Cellars.
On a sandy court, located right next to the Whiskey Wine & Swine Festival, nine teams competed in a single-elimination tournament. After many great dives and saves, Ballzinga emerged as the winning team. Hephzibah’s partner, Player’s Sport & Social Group, organized the tournament, supplied the referees and kept the beverages flowing. Thank you Players for all your support.
Have you considered joining the Chicago Auxiliary Board? The group meets monthly to plan events that include both fundraisers and outings with the Hephzibah kids. The next meeting is Monday, July 18th. Contact Hannah Weigel to find out more, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The results are in for the Western Auxiliary Board's 5K Run held on Monday, May 30
Thank you to everyone who sponsored the event and to all the loyal Hephzibah fans who ran, walked or volunteered to make the day such a tremendous success!
Many families have made Hoof It for Hephzibah a Memorial Day tradition. Skies were clear and sunny on Monday, May 30th for the Western Auxiliary Board’s 5K Run/Walk and Kids Races in Newton Park, Glen Ellyn, IL.
The Western Auxiliary Board members, along with Hoof It’s loyal participants, truly appreciate the generosity of the event sponsors and go out of their way to support these businesses year-round.
Hephzibah Children’s Association is a not-for-profit, state licensed agency that provides a loving group home to children from all over the state who have been abused and neglected. Sponsorship and registration fees help Hephzibah support foster families, facilitate adoptions, assist families in crisis, provide preschool for low-income children, and offer after-school day care for the children of working parents.
Race Details: Hoof It winds through beautiful Glen Ellyn neighborhoods beginning and ending at Newton Park. Awards are categorized by age: 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for men and for women. The 5K Run/Walk was officially chip timed by Runner’s Edge Race Timing. Participants received a disposable timing chip attached to the QR code bib. To view a map of the course, click here: Hoof It Course Map 2016.
Tammy Hammortree talks about the many rewards of volunteering at Hephzibah
What it is like to be a Hephzibah volunteer? To say that volunteering brings joy and happiness into my life only begins to describe my experience.
The children at Hephzibah have become my teachers. Every experience I have had with them teaches me: to be a better person, to embrace life, and to look at the world through innocent eyes. Volunteering helps me see the beauty that is all around me, and to laugh and enjoy life.
Many of us were fortunate enough to have parents who worked hard to give us wonderful memories. Parents want to do the same and more for their own children. Stop for a moment and think what childhood memories are like for the children at Hephzibah. Although safe from harm, these children don’t get many chances to be kids. They miss out on the typical mainstays of childhood such as sleepovers and play dates.
Volunteering a couple of hours a week can help create wonderful, happy, long-lasting memories. These children can never erase their beginnings, but new experiences give them a chance to relax without the weight of adult burdens.
I have volunteered in many ways at Hephizbah – providing Sunday dinners, sponsoring group outings and serving as a Heartmate. Being a Heartmate has easily been my most challenging, rewarding, loving experience.
The girls that are my Heartmates have moved on from Hephzibah but we still get together once a week. Our motto is Heartmates for Life! My husband and I know that they will always be a part of our lives and we wouldn’t want it any other way. As they grow older we can only hope that the little bit we give them helps them become successful adults.
When I provide a Sunday supper, I enjoy getting the kids to try new and exciting foods. We have had Italian chicken sorrentino, German weiner schnitzel, and a good, old fashioned fried chicken and mashed potato dinner. The children have eaten eggplant, imported cheeses, olives and more. They’re brave and curious – and surprise me time and time again!
On outings I love to see the Hephzibah kids enjoy just being kids. Whether it’s bowling or shopping, the smiles on their faces say it all.
Making time to volunteer has been such a rewarding choice. As adults we’re all occupied with our daily lives and concerns about work, home and family. With errands, meetings, and events, it seems there is never enough time in the day.
One of the accomplishments in my life I am most proud of is being a volunteer at Hephzibah. My experience at Hephzibah has been an amazing journey that I expect to last for many more years. I am thankful every day that I have gotten to meet such an awesome group of children and an amazing staff.
Thanks to a generous grant, Hephzibah staff learns new tools to help children who have experienced trauma
Life has been frightening and unpredictable for the children who arrive at Hephzibah’s Group Home in Oak Park. Many have experienced severe abuse and neglect, multiple placements and hospitalization. When exposed to repeated trauma children don’t develop adequate coping skills and commonly on aggression or avoidance. Traditional parenting techniques can often backfire and create additional struggle.
Thanks to a grant from the Midwest branch of Hedge Funds Care, Hephzibah staff will receive intensive hands-on training in techniques to help meet the needs of young trauma survivors. ARC Training, which covers attachment, self-regulation, and competency, will begin in April.
Caregivers and other staff members will gain additional knowledge and tools to identify and respond to specific behaviors in ways that enable the kids be more successful. The training is part of Hephzibah’s ongoing efforts to support the sometimes stressful work of its staff and help kids develop self-soothing skills and other helpful strategies.
Hephzibah's Heart of Gold Ball on March 5th helped write a story of hope and healing
Hephzibah’s fairy tale ball, Once Upon a Hephzibah came to a happy ending at midnight on Saturday, March 5 as 430 guests raised nearly $300,000 through donations, auction bids, and a popular wine pull. The evening’s revelries were championed by dozens of stalwart volunteers including members of the Gala Committee, all three Auxiliary Boards, and the OPRF Huskies Helpers.
Amanda Bickell accepted the Heart of Gold Award given to The Bryan & Amanda Bickell Foundation. Gala guests were silent as they viewed a video about the Foundation’s Paws for Strength initiative. The multi-phase program pairs a formerly abused child with a rescued therapy dog and trainer to provide a unique experience that both evokes empathy and inspires confidence.
Heart-felt applause rang out for John Hedges as he accepted the Heart of the Home Award in memory of his wife, Jane Hedges. The Award honors Jane’s lifelong commitment to furthering Hephzibah’s mission. Michael Hedges, son of John and Jane, donated to the silent auction a large, vibrant abstract oil painting he created in memory of his mother.
Silent Auction bidding was hot as Heart of Gold Ball guests and on-line bidders from home jousted for prizes including an in-home sauna and tickets to see Pearl Jam at Wrigley field. Live Auction bidders dueled for a trip to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a week stay at a Mexican villa, and tickets for Adele.
Thank you to the gala heroes who attended the event, sponsored tables, purchased ads, donated prizes, created centerpieces, sewed banners, and supplied wine. We are grateful to all the creative children in Hephzibah’s Day Care, Foster Care, and Group Home who built more than 30 breathtaking dream castles from boxes, tubes, glitter and paint. Your décor brightened the event and helped connect us to the talented young dreamers we strive to support.
Will you sponsor a family photo to commemorate this joyful occasion?
Help us capture the smiles of 13 newly minted families in professional portraits. These special foster families are celebrating a permanent addition to their families through adoption or guardianship facilitated by Hephzibah. Ebert Studios in Oak Park has generously discounted its services to commemorate the occasion. We are seeking donations of $200 per family to cover the rest of the cost. It’s a wonderful way to spread the love.
Achieving a stable, loving home is the goal for more than 400,000 children currently in foster care in the U.S. For some children and youth, permanence is found through family reunification or in the love and support of relatives, also known as kinship care. For others, permanence is achieved through adoption. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, permanence means creating lifelong connections with caring adults who will be there through the transition from foster care to adulthood.
Hephzibah Children’s Association provides licensing, training and support for foster families throughout the Chicago area. Our skilled family-based services team works to find the best outcome for each child. They’re also very upfront about answering questions about the process. Have you ever considered opening your heart and home to a foster child? For information, contact Ashley Lepse, email@example.com.
Is the Hamburger Helper mitten a right or left mitten?
Trivia questions were flying on Thursday, February 18th for the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s Associate Board (Midwest Region) 4th Annual Trivia for Charity which benefited Hephzibah. Formed in 1994 the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation has contributed over $25.3 million in local community grants for programs that assist with education, children at risk, health and safety, disaster preparedness and the environment.
IICF chose Hephzibah as its beneficiary for this event after being nominated by a parent whose child attends Hephzibah’s afterschool day care program. She said, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Hephzibah.” With more than 400 attendees Trivia Night raised in excess of $3,000. Are you interested in hosting an event to benefit Hephzibah?