Lives Made Better
We take pride in both our clients’ amazing perseverance and hard work as well as our staff’s tremendous commitment to help those children and families to build better lives and reach their potential.
We invite you to learn more about our impact:
Meet Malissa: Achieving Independence
Malissa enrolled in Emerge in August of 2016. After moving into her apartment, she met with her ChildServ case manager, Kimberly Jackson-Miller, to establish personal and professional goals that would allow her – after completing the program – to support herself and her children. She also started counseling with her ChildServ Therapist Jaleesa Pirtle to work through the trauma of homelessness, improve her social and emotional skills and better navigate family issues.
Malissa’s first step toward self-sufficiency was to earn her high school diploma. With Kim’s help, she registered at Sister Jean Hughes Adult High School in Chicago, taking classes four nights a week in computers, language arts, and math. Once she had settled into school, Kim helped Malissa create a resume so that she could apply for jobs. She went on a few interviews before finding part-time employment at McDonald’s.
She regularly attended Emerge’s monthly meetings where she became friends with other clients and learned life skills like financial literacy and the importance of savings for her future. After that meeting, she asked Kim to assist her in setting up a savings account at Chase Bank so that she could keep her paychecks from work in a secure place.
Malissa is on-track to graduate from the Emerge program in 2018 with stable housing and the knowledge and skills she needs to be independent. She earned her GED certificate in June of 2017 and plans to continue her studies at Malcolm X College in Chicago, pursuing a career in healthcare. She has made great progress on her treatment goals in her counseling sessions with Jaleesa, identifying emotions and using coping skills to break the cycle of trauma and improve life for her family.
“I want to thank the entire Emerge team for giving me the confidence to help me believe in myself. Kim and Jaleesa have motivated and encouraged me to push for the stars and work hard so that my family and I have bright futures.”
Meet Justine and Michael: Reaching Developmental Milestones
Justine and her three kids, including her two-year-old son Michael, were homeless and living in a women’s shelter in Waukegan when they enrolled in ChildServ’s Lake County early childhood learning program in January 2016. She had recently ended an abusive relationship and needed help finding a new, safe place for her family to live, as well as make sure Michael was ready for school.
In their first visit, Justine and Vanessa, her ChildServ Parent Educator, discussed a plan to find the family housing. Justine also explained that Michael’s language skills weren’t developing as quickly as other siblings and asked Vanessa to bring activities that would jumpstart his speech.
Within a few months, Justine and her family had moved into a new apartment, and she had even enrolled at College of Lake County. Vanessa connected them with summer enrichment programs through the Boys and Girls Club of Lake County and Mother’s Trust to ensure that the kids had somewhere safe to play while Justine went to class.
During their bimonthly, in-home visits, Vanessa, Justine and Michael continued to work on language activities – singing nursery songs, playing with puppets and rhyming – and Vanessa encouraged Justine to read to Michael as often as possible to increase his vocabulary. Michael also loved playing with blocks and memory cards to improve his motor and early math skills.
Both Justine and Michael are on-track to graduate in 2018: Justine with her Associates Degree and Michael into a local Head Start program.
“In my time with ChildServ, I have learned so much about how to become a better mother and parent. The program has given me a voice and empowered me to be a better woman, and without Vanessa, I wouldn’t have had the things I needed to take care of my children.”
Meet the Morales Family: Building a Healthier Life
The Morales Family – Anna, Marc and Lena – live in Chicago’s south suburbs. They entered ChildServ’s early childhood learning program for kids ages 3-5 in 2015, when Lena was four, to ensure that she was ready to succeed in school.
During their weekly in-home visits, ChildServ’s Family Educator Lisa noticed that Lena was vomiting regularly. She talked with Anna and Marc to ensure that the family had health insurance and Lena was connected to a pediatrician, both of which they did through Marc’s insurance as a construction worker. Lisa then referred the family to Barb, Healthy Homes Coordinator at ChildServ, for additional support.
Barb started working with the Morales Family on ways to supplement the pediatrician’s medical advice by teaching them about nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep and the importance of having a primary care physician, relating each back to Lena and the family’s health.
Anna, Marc and Barb first discussed incorporating new, healthy foods into the family’s diet and including Lena in the hands-on meal preparation to encourage her to eat well.
Anna and Lena began to exercise with yoga as well as walking five miles per day to and from preschool and daily errands.
In 2016, Lena underwent several operations at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to address her health issues, incurring more than $10,000 in debt. The surgeries improved Lena’s daily life, but the medical bills increased Anna and Marc’s stress.
Knowing the Morales’ significant financial burden, Barb researched payment assistance programs at Lurie Children’s Hospital and found one for which the family qualified, helping to retire the family’s debt.
The Morales Family continue to use the information they learned from Barb in their daily lives to improve their health and well-being, and Lena is now six and succeeding in kindergarten.