Hope does come in all shapes and sizes and Marillac St. Vincent (MSV) is finding big benefits through the ‘small scale’ of its partnership with Hope Houses Workshop, Inc., a nearby toy maker. The workshop builds dollhouses and treehouses and publishes imaginative companion storybooks. The sale of a dollhouses enables the delivery of a second ‘Hope House’ to an agency partner already serving children experiencing a break in their family circle.
Deanna Hallagan manages the Hope Jr. program at MSV, a year-round extra-curricular program for youth and teens creating positive experiences that will inform positive choices later in life. “In Hope Jr. we always say we’re a family, and it’s important for these kids to know family can grow through love whether it’s more kids, volunteers or even people we don’t know who express love by connecting through businesses like Hope Houses Workshop. We love the mission and we love seeing another delivery of Hope Houses.”
MSV began placing Hope Houses with Hope Jr. children last year and already there are stories of inspiring hope in children. Hope Houses come assembled with a doll family, furniture and a companion storybook. “Open ended play grows young minds, stretches the imagination and these toys help kids play out a life they see for themselves”, says Lefko. Deanna and her team hear the stories of imaginative play, family time together, and even one child inspired to learn to read because a storybook was dedicated to her. “We exist to love children, and to connect customers to the hopes and dreams of children who don’t know life and love with intact family. Yes, it’s working with Marillac St. Vincent”, says Lefko.
The partnership has created other opportunities for sawdust and connection as well. This past summer youth from the Youth Crossroads, Youth Leadership Program of Berwyn, IL built 15 dollhouses at the workshop and presented them to 15 Hope Jr. kids at a ‘House Party’ hosted by MSV.
“It’s truly inspiring to see the joy on the faces of our children in Hope Junior when they get to go home with their very own Hope House and this partnership is helping us achieve our mission of building vibrant communities in Chicago,” said Hallagan.
For more information about Hope Houses Workshop, visit http://hopehousesworkshop.com.