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ChildServ Success Stories
Our success comes when kids and their families are put first. Read how your gift to ChildServ is creating better lives.
Timothy* is, in many ways, a typical college student. At 20, he is finishing up his sophomore year of school, and he spends virtually every minute of his day in class, studying, or at his job. He works as an information technology specialist at a local university and is getting his bachelor’s degree in computer science.
But Timothy’s background is far from typical. As one of 12 siblings, he was a ward of the state from age 7 to 14. Timothy says he is proud that his mom attended every court appearance and counseling session necessary until he was reunited with her. Still, as he neared his high school graduation in 2010, he struggled with having a regular place to sleep within his mother’s house due to the number of rooms and beds in the residence and the number of people living there. At 17, he was shot in an episode of neighborhood violence. Concerned for his safety and in need of a bed within a stable home, he called his foster mother and asked her for her help.
His foster mom contacted Emerge, a program formerly run by Hull House that ChildServ began operating in Spring 2012. Through Emerge, Timothy receives an apartment, counseling and assistance with life skills, like creating a budget and developing a career path.
“ChildServ gave me stability, and with housing, you can focus on what you need to do,” Timothy says about the benefits of the program. “It’s [good] to know that somebody cares. It helped me out.”
Since joining Emerge, Timothy has thrived as a student and as a person. He helps his sister with her children and acts as a role model to his nephew, who is 14. Last year, he was a member of the Freshman Honor Society. Timothy has kept his grades up this school year despite a terrible loss: his brother was shot and killed in February.
“He’s very commendable, says Felicia, Timothy’s caseworker. “He’s diligent. Even with his loss, he got through school.”
Timothy considers his stable housing to be a huge factor in staying in school.
“There were 30 guys who I hung out with in high school. Most of us were living house-to-house. Only two of us graduated,” he says. “There should be more programs like this. When people care about you, it helps. If you feel like nobody cares, you may not care or take care of yourself.”
This fall, Timothy will graduate from Emerge and begin paying for an apartment by himself, with his budget intact. He looks forward to completing his undergraduate degree in 2014, getting a job at a large technology company and eventually pursuing a master’s degree.
“I want to be successful and live a less stressful life,” Timothy says. “I want to be a role model. I’d like to do the same thing for others that this program did for me.”
*For the client’s privacy, his name has been changed.
It’s been a tou
gh road with many hardships for Rachel, but with the help of ChildServ, this loving
mother has overcome many obstacles. Rachel started to build her life from th
e ground up with a parent educator from ChildServ’s Parent Empowerment Progr
am: Liljana Patzke.
Before she came to ChildServ, Rachel was struggling to find a house she could call home. She had tragically lost one of her young children and began to struggle emotionally. She became pregnant and had health complications that caused her to lose her house and eventually seek a homeless shelter. Because most homeless shelters all have a certain time limit of allowed stay, Rachel had difficulties finding a place to live before her time expired. Her circumstances became too much to handle by herself, and without a permanent residence, she lost custody of her two older children. Rachel knew she needed to get her life back on track, and she wanted to get back custody of her children. She found help in Liljana and ChildServ.
With Liljana’s encouragement and research, Rachel found a transitional apartment. The apartment gave Rachel hope and happiness, and represented her first step to getting back custody of her children. Liljana has helped Rachel with parenting her new baby, who was born prematurely. She connected her to a specialized program for children with developmental problems, and she also referred her to counseling so that she could work through her feelings about her past and the loss of her child.
Last, Liljana assists Rachel through the formal parent empowerment process provided through PEP, which ChildServ operates in Elgin, Carpentersville, Waukegan, Zion, Beach Park, Mundelein, neighborhoods within the city of Chicago, and Harvey and its surrounding communities. PEP works with parents to help them become better advocates for themselves and their children in the areas of education, health and social services. Through individual home visits and group activities, parent educators like Liljana work with parents on the best ways to nurture their children through a national, evidence-based early childhood curriculum. Staff educators also help families build an active social support network. Last year, 86% of the children in ChildServ’s PEP program were on-target for kindergarten, according to a national developmental assessment tool.
Today, Rachel is focused, empowered and working to get custody of her kids. She has become a political advocate for mothers who have been homeless, and continues to improve her life.
It's been a long road with many unexpected turns, but with the help of
ChildServ, one Chicago teen has finally found the path to success.
Eighteen-year-old Grace first came to ChildServ in December of 2011. After being put into state custody at the age of 6, she experienced difficulties before finally being placed into a ChildServ group h
Having been disappointed in previous placements, Grace believed her new home would be no different.
“I expected the worst for everything, everyday,” Grace said. “So when I arrived at the home, I was expecting staff who where only there for the money and broken kids that fought and yelled all day.”
Much to her surprise, the ChildServ home turned out to be anything but what she expected.
“[They] really cared,” she said. “They made sure I made it to my appointments and always asked if I was okay.”
However, even with the help of caring staff, Grace kept resorting to her old habits of drug and alcohol abuse.
“Both the school and staff were worried,” Grace said of her struggles with substance abuse. “One staff in particularl cooed over me. She cried and said that she was scared about me out there.”
With the help of a residential rehabilitation program, Grace was finally able to kick her addictions and return to ChildServ.
“I came home with a maturity and a new perspective on my own life,” she said. “I am worth more than I gave myself credit for. I have sisters that love me and adults that have stayed by my side through everything.”
ChildServ Success Stories
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