Happy fall! Much effort has gone into preparing for the start of fall program on October 1. Firstly, we welcomed a new cohort of AmeriCorps members to HOPES during the month of August and also said goodbye to several AmeriCorps members who finished their terms of service with a celebratory meal in Little Village. New AmeriCorps members will be supporting the program in a wide variety of ways, including outreach efforts, curriculum development, social media and marketing presence, and development of partnerships with organizations around Chicago that support children’s growth and learning.
There’s also been a great deal of training and orientation in the last few weeks to get incoming volunteers and Site Coordinators up to speed in time for program. As part of the training series we were pleased to have Darra from The Insight Project for Kids as well as Steve Shields of the Keystone Healing Center present helpful, effective strategies for calming and balance. Earlier in August several HOPES staff and AmeriCorps members participated in the Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration (ICOVA) to support meaningful volunteer experiences and sound strategies for supporting volunteer-based programs. We engaged with a broad spectrum of volunteer-based organizations around the Chicagoland area to share ideas, knowledge, skills and experiences in order to further strengthen and improve our program.
Family Game Nights were also underway this summer. We were happy to have a special experience at our SRHAC site, thanks to a generous partnership with Gus’s Fried Chicken; more than 30 participants enjoyed a delicious meal and family-friendly fun that day. We are grateful for the coordination and outreach of AmeriCorps members who work diligently to make these special opportunities a reality.
It takes so many hands, so many different skills and talents to make this program a success. I want to sincerely thank everyone who contributes to Chicago HOPES for Kids, whether through outreach efforts, donations, time and energy, unique talents and interests or simply spreading the word about the great work being done here. Pat Rivera, the executive director of Chicago HOPES for Kids, was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement award from the Illinois chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. This award could not have gone to a more deserving person; she exemplifies a standard of commitment and service that everyone here at HOPES seeks to meet, including myself.
Thank you for all that you do!