A long-time local favorite, and LemonAid’s first recipient in 2002, Hephzibah is Oak Park’s oldest social service agency—founded in 1897 when a village resident named Mary Wessels opened her home to two young boys. Later, when a local orphanage was destroyed by fire, Mary took in more than a dozen orphans and made it her mission to care for “society’s most vulnerable children.”
Today, more than a century later, Hephzibah’s mission is a multifaceted one. They offer short- and long-term group homes for children traumatized by neglect and abuse; child welfare and family services; foster care and adoption programs; Head Start and Early Head Start programs to give infants, toddlers and preschoolers from low-income families the best possible start in life; and award-winning day care on a sliding scale for families of all income levels.
WHAT WILL HEPHZIBAH DO WITH THE LEMONAID FUNDS THEY RECEIVE?
Lemon-Aid hopes to provide critical funds for Camp HepSIBah which mends broken sibling bonds due to children being placed in different group, foster or adoptive homes. Sadly, seventy-five percent of all neglected and abused children are separated from one or more of their siblings when they enter the child welfare system. The effects of this separation can be devastating for children who are already mourning the loss of their parents, their familiar home and school environments, their peers and their communities. Each summer, more than 50 siblings enjoy traditional camp experiences while creating shared memories that will last a lifetime. Learn more about Camp HepSIBah
Lead by local favorites, Executive Director Mike Powell and Director of Operations Cathy Yen, this dynamic team brings new energy to a powerful organization that has been improving the lives of children for over 20 years. Beat the Streets Chicago has helped hundreds of Chicago’s youth build character, discipline and self-esteem through their participation in the great sport of wrestling. With the objective of making wrestling and all it has to offer accessible to youth throughout Chicago, Beat the Streets Chicago is growing its network of wrestling programs in partnership with Chicago Public Schools schools, private schools and the Chicago Park District.
WHAT WILL BEAT THE STREETS DO WITH THE LEMONAID FUNDS THEY RECEIVE?
Our fundraising goal for Beat the Streets Chicago is to provide funding for much-needed vans to safely transport the young wrestlers to practices and events. In some neighborhoods, a few blocks feels like a world away as violence prevents youth from getting to an after-school sports activity. A van helps meet that daily challenge while making existing programs accessible to children in other neighborhoods as well. Transportation also allows Beat the Streets Chicago to broaden perspectives as children travel both within the City and beyond to participate in wrestling clinics, camps and tournaments on weekends and during school breaks.
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