Letter from Maureen Hallagan, May 2016
Teacher appreciation week and MSV updates!
From Chief Programs Officer, Maureen Hallagan
First thanks to all of our wonderful teachers and youth workers for making spring break fun for all of our children. The school age children were able to visit together, play sports and lunch together. This was the beginning of being able to get our children to get to know each other and both centers. Thanks to our Director of Youth Services Albert Richardson, School-age Program Manager Michelle Brown and the school age staff for making it possible. Also a special thanks to Dominique Mickens for working with the children to give them confidence to be part of a wonderful fashion show! The school age staff are working with Albert on developing more activities for our children including: STEM (Science, technology engineering and math - Art has also recently been added). These changes are being developed now, so we will keep you all updated.
Hope Junior spent the week involved in active activities including, swimming, skating and bowling. To start out, 70 children participated in a Peace Circle with 6 Chicago Police Officers. On Friday the neighborhood police had a BBQ that many of our children participated in. The police did their role call on Jackson. Project Hope participated in a wonderful site visit from Augustana Henze and were featured in Bethany Advocate's Annual Report. Marketing and Communications Manager Stephen Barker, just finished a beautiful brochure for Project Hope, and he'll soon have brochures ready for all programs.
The Early Childhood Department, at both centers, celebrated the Week of the Young Child invited families to join in in Music Monday, Taco Tuesday, Work together Wednesday, Artsy Thursday and Family Friday. The hallways and classrooms show how hard all of the teachers worked at making the week special not only for our children but for our families.
The Family Support Specialists are busy with our families. A few wonderful examples of them meeting our families where they are include: Massage groups for parents, parent-child activities including activities parents can do at home like play dough. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Both teams are focusing on ways to help parents distress and deal with chronic stress. These are just a couple of examples of their interventions with families.
Community Outreach Services are extremely busy working with clients on a variety of critical issues. They are truly offering basic services like food, CEDA and case management services that are really helping people move forward.
Senior Services are busy with home visits, goal setting, Take Charge, and in February alone they made 193 visits to seniors homes. These critical services assist seniors to stay in the living situations they are in.
The Associate Board’s House of Cards was Saturday April 23rd and it was a tremendous success! Thank you to everyone on the board that helped.
The alumnae from Marillac High School, which closed its doors in 1993, have reunited in an effort to give back to the Daughters of Charity Chicagoland missions, Marillac St. Vincent and St. Joseph's Services. On Saturday April 30th over 500 classmates, former staff, and Daughters of Charity came together at Techny Towers in Northbrook to kick off this initiative. We are so excited to see such a large group of passionate individuals come together to support the families we serve.
The Operations Department has been working hard to prepare both centers for spring. Lots of painting and fixing of classroom issues. They have been working with program staff on what is needed.
Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) is still being worked on behind the scenes. We are working with the Chicago Benchmarking Collaboration and discussing the possibility of joining together with seven other local agencies. You will be hearing much more about this in the weeks to come. IT Coordinator Stephen Kaiser, has been working behind the scenes on this project.
On Monday May 2nd, The Catholic Conference held their conference at St. Vincent. They were thrilled with the space and the opportunity to see our programs. Thanks to Lisa Haggard and the kitchen staff for their help.
Last but not least, Thanks so much to Sandra Aza and her team in Admissions and Client Services. Because of the high quality of work they do on client services and admissions we had a visit from 3 upper level IDHS staff and 3 federal high level officials. They picked one place in the state and it was St. Vincent. Joanna gave a great tour in which she was able to incorporate all of the amazing things that go on daily in the classrooms. I was so proud that we were not only chosen and that they were so impressed, but I am also proud because it also reinforces all of the great things you all do for our children and families. We were able to teach them many things from the ground level and we also learned from them and understand the systems a little better.
Again, this is only in the past few weeks. I haven’t even addressed the amazing things that go on in all three of our facilities every day. Thanks for living out the mission even in difficult times. Of course tough times are when it is extremely important to have such a wonderful mission and the people who understand it and really believe in the need to live it in all the things we do for each other and the people we serve.
Chief Programs Officer
Marillac St. Vincent Family Services