Peer to Peer Fundraising and December Giving Options
The Hephzibah Holiday Challenge kicks off on Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving, designated to create awareness for charitable organizations at the holiday season.
Join the Movement! Create a team and establish your very own fundraising page to raise funds and awareness during the month of December for the Hephzibah Holiday Challenge! Visit the Everyday Hero platform and harness the power of setting up a peer to peer fundraising page to benefit Hephzibah.
Dream With Us
Week One: Giving Tuesday
“I want to be like Dr. Stephanie and help kids be healthy.”
Mariah, 8, Group Home
Childhood is the time for dreaming about the big wide world and imagining what the future holds. The children in Hephzibah’s group home are a testament that even the experience of serious trauma, abuse and neglect cannot dampen those dreams. Positive role models like Dr. Stephanie help them build healthy bridges to a future that is filled with hope, healing and possibility.
At Hephzibah, we surround our children with the love and therapeutic support they need to ensure that the future they dream of is free from the traumas of the past. Your gift to Hephzibah today will help them heal and keep their dreams alive.
We invite you to join us in helping children realize their dreams and live their best life.
Dream With Us
“I want to be a policeman and keep people safe.”
Kenny, 4, Head Start
In mind of a child, the world is an endless array of possibilities, and their limitless imagination and dreams can take them from the real world to magical places. However, for the nearly 50 percent of children who are living in low-income households or in poverty, serious socio-economic barriers hinder those dreams.
It is known that 90 percent of brain development occurs by age 5, making learning in the early years essential. Each year, through its Early Head Start and Head Start Early Childhood Education Programs, Hephzibah helps ensure that more than 50 infants, toddlers and preschoolers from low-income households are solidly on the learning track and ready for kindergarten.
We invite you to join us in growing and supporting the dreams of children like Kenny. Your gift today to Hephzibah will ensure that the children in our programs are ready and prepared for a world of limitless possibility.
It's the event of the season!
Hephzibah invites you to kick off your holidays with some swank, sparkle and spirit at our first Swanksgiving party. Join us on Friday, November 17, at The Lakewood, 1758 W. Lake Street, Chicago. Hosted by long-time Hephzibah supporter Jodi Fyfe, CEO of Paramount Events, Swanksgiving is a lively and fun event designed to introduce and attract new friends and supporters to Hephzibah. The Lakewood is Paramount’s chic new private event space.
While you are enjoying wine and beer tastings, cocktails, delicious food and a live DJ, you will also have the chance to win exciting raffles and meet new people! Plus, you will feel good knowing you’re helping children and families in need. Tickets are just $75 and all proceeds will benefit Hephzibah.
Swanksgiving tickets are available for purchase online here, and a limited number will be available for purchase at the door. Questions? Contact Whitney Gravely, special events manager, at email@example.com.
You can also support Hephzibah on Tuesday, November 14, at a special Wine Dinner at the new restaurant, Eden. You will be served five courses of seasonal fresh food from Executive Chef Devon Quinn and Executive Pastry Chef Stefano Tulipano, artfully paired with a selection of rare, limited produced wines from Spain. A portion of the proceeds from this dinner will be donated to Hephzibah. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wine-dinner-at-eden-featuring-rare-limited-produced-spanish-wines-tickets-38665868654
Photos from the event can be found at the following site. Password is: heph
Heartprint Award Winners Honored
More than 60 teen volunteers devote thousands of hours supporting Hephzibah’s mission through service, and each year, we recognize the extraordinary efforts of select teens in their senior year of high school who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and service. This year, Hephzibah is proud to recognize our two Heart Print Award winners Rowe Balmer, Oak Park River Forest High School, and Adam Hidad, St. Ignatius College Prep, for their dedication and commitment to Hephzibah.
Rowe Balmer has been involved with Hephzibah since she was in elementary school and attended the after school day care program. She has been a Huskie Helper for four years, a big sibling for two years, and now is an officer with Huskie Helpers, our service volunteer student group at Oak Park River Forest High School.
“Rowe has the ability to adapt to any situation, always with a smiling face,” says Hannah Weigel, volunteer manager. “She is extremely committed to the children that we serve and is an amazing leader among her peers.” Rowe’s involvement with Hephzibah has also led to another valuable community connection. Through her work at Lively Athletics in Oak Park, the kids in the group home are fitted with new shoes thanks to the generosity of the business owners and a local running group.
When Adam Hadid started volunteering in the after school day care program at Irving Elementary School two years ago, his intention was to complete his required service hours and move on. What he did not anticipate however, was the impact the experience would have on him and the impact he would have on the kids.
“The children saw me as more than a volunteer, they saw me as a role model,” Adam says. “As time passed, we began to grow closer, and friendships were built. They would always light up when I walked into the cafeteria.” By the time he had completed the necessary service hours, he had no desire to leave the program. “The connections I built with the kids there were simply too strong to break and forget about. I continued my service and haven’t regretted it one bit.”
Adam says that even when he heads to college next year, he will continue to visit his pals at Irving when he is home for breaks. “It’s just such a fulfilling experience to see the results of adding to the positivity in a child’s life.”
Many volunteers have expressed similar sentiments and shared stories of how their involvement with Hephzibah has affected their lives. Recently, 2016 Heart Print Award winner Ben Meleckian reflected on his experience in a letter to Hephzibah. He wrote:
“Hephzibah allowed me to find a job, join elite programs at school, get into colleges, but most importantly realize what I want to do with my life. Hephzibah gave me the chance to meet some of the most amazing people, both kids and adults, who inspire me every single day. Because of that, I have been taking social work classes at school and joined social work council so I can become a social worker and help kids who need it. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone for allowing me to be part of Hephzibah. It meant the world to me.”
Hephzibah is grateful for the support and dedication of all of our teen volunteers!
Gene and Georgetti's Restaurants Support Hephzibah
All children need love, support, security and a forever home. November is National Adoption Month and as Hephzibah celebrates, we recognize all of the amazing families that have been created, enhanced and expanded through adoption. Each year, Hephzibah’s Family Based Services Program makes the dreams of so many children and families come true through foster care and adoption. This year we are working toward a goal to help 25 children find their forever home!
In recognition of National Adoption Month, legendary Chicago steakhouse Gene & Georgetti will once again generously support of Hephzibah by donating a portion of proceeds from dessert sales throughout the month of November. In addition, the restaurant will host a private holiday party for the children featuring fun activities, delicious food and special treats.
“Our family knows firsthand the joys of adoption and the importance of supporting children in need of love and care. We’re proud to kick-off our fourth year of raising both awareness and funds for Hephzibah Children’s Association during November,” says the Durpetti Family, Gene & Georgetti’s owners.
Guests to both Chicago and Rosemont locations (500 N Franklin St. downtown; and 9241 W Higgins Rd. in Rosemont), can enjoy signature Gene & Georgetti favorites like tiramisu, spumoni, chocolate tuxedo mousse cake and their famous Italian lemon crème layer cake.
To learn more about Hephzibah’s foster care and adoption services, please contact Margaret Motto, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lively Athletics Fall Fashion Show to Benefit Hephzibah
When Oak Park residents Anne and Kate Pezalla opened their store Lively Athletics, an essential component of their business model was to give back to their community, and they have stayed true to that mission ever since. Located on Oak Park Avenue, Lively Athletics offers fashionable athletic and lifestyle apparel for women, as well as athletic shoes for kids. When their employee Rowe Balmer – one of this year’s Hephzibah Heart Print Award winners approached them with an idea to fit the kids from the group home with shoes from their newly opened kid’s shoe department, Anne and Kate, jumped on the idea. They joined forces with the local Best Foot Forward Running Group, and in the past year, they have fitted dozens of children from the group home with a new pair of shoes, free of charge.
Lively Athletics is excited to present another opportunity that will benefit Hephzibah. On Thursday, November 16, they will hold a Fall Fashion Show at their store, 109 N. Oak Park Avenue, and 100 percent of all ticket sales will benefit Hephzibah. Attendees will have the opportunity to check out the latest looks for yoga, running, tennis and casual wear and models will be wearing apparel from top brands. Guests can socialize, enjoy drinks (compliments of Oak Park Brewing Company) and snacks (thanks to Spilt Milk), and learn great tips on staying active in the winter months. Anne Kreiter, sports producer for NBC 5 Chicago, will emcee the event.
“We have lived in Oak Park our whole lives, and feel lucky to have grown up in a town where an organization like Hephzibah exists and does such great work,” says Anne, who volunteered as a big sister at Hephzibah when she was a student at Oak Park River Forest High School. “We’re very excited to have this partnership with Hephzibah.”
Attendees will receive a complimentary $20 shopping pass, swag bag and refreshments, and the full ticket price to attend ($25) will be donated to Hephzibah. It is a great opportunity to do some holiday shopping, socialize and support Hephzibah. Tickets can be purchased by visiting livelyfashionshow.bpt.me/
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.
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.
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/.
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.