All posts by Judith McLean

The energy was high as we danced the night away to the Motown sound by The Moods at our Naperville gala on April 12, 2019. Guests were treated to a fun and memorable experience by Co-Chairs Sheila Gallagher and Yonhee Gordon, and their talented committee, and inspired by the extraordinary commitment of event honorees, Neuco and Kathy Wennerstrum.

Paige Richards eloquently shared her family’s experience with Almost Home Kids and reminded everyone why their support matters. CBS2 reporter and news anchor Mai Martinez served as host and together with Marion Valle (auctioneers) encouraged the 340 attendees to raise almost $150,000 in much needed funds for Almost Home Kids.

Thank you to our sponsors and everyone who helped make this a fabulous and very successful evening! #UPS #NEUCO #MULLARKEYASSOCIATES

Our Naperville gala is this week, and promises to be a fabulous evening, with a nod to the Motown era and an opportunity to thank two very deserving awardees, learn more about Almost Home Kids and have a very fun evening raising much needed funds.

Join us at I’ll Be There, a Motown Affair!

This year we are honoring long-time volunteer Kathy Wennerstrum as Share the Care Champion, and NEUCO as very deserving Distinguished Donors.

Here is just a bit about both –

Kathy Wennerstrum, Share the Care Champion.
Kathy traded in her corporate ID many years ago and has since taken full advantage of a wide range of opportunities to volunteer. As a result, Almost Home Kids has benefited greatly from  Kathy’s willingness to serve our organization in many different capacities. Kathy enjoyed a successful career which concluded in Sales & Marketing at Van Kampen American Capital, where she worked with the company’s Wholesalers and external retail Brokers, before retiring from corporate life to become a stay-at-home mom and driver for her three sons Matt, Dan, and Tom.

Since then, Kathy has freely offered her time and talents to several worthy organizations. She served as the President of the Western Springs District 101 School Board, as a Board member and President of the Western Springs Little League, Board member of the Western Springs Foundation for Educational Excellence, as President of the local PTO, and as a Commissioner for the Village of Western Springs’ Recreation Department. Kathy has also been active in the local and global mission activities of her church for the last several years, actively supporting several projects addressing hunger, homelessness, and community sustainability. Kathy presently works to broaden Chicago partnerships within the Presbytery of Havana and supports her congregation’s own partnership with a Cuban congregation.

Most importantly, during the last nine years, Kathy’s been affiliated with Almost Home Kids as a Recreational Volunteer and has spent more than 230 volunteer hours engaging with the children at AHK. Kathy has been part of the Planning Committee for the Naperville Gala since 2011 and served as Chair for two highly successful Naperville galas, and she considers it an honor to be just one small part of the greater team working to expand AHK’s reach and services.

Neuco, Distinguished Donors
Neuco became involved with Almost Home Kids (AHK) in 2009 when Bill Neustadt, retired President and current Chairman of NEUCO, was introduced to Almost Home Kids by his neighbor and former AHK Board Member, Mike Busse. Bill was instantly inspired by the mission and children, and in 2010 joined our Board of Directors, serving as Board Chair from 2013 to 2016. Bill also encouraged the company to adopt Almost Home Kids as a beneficiary of their corporate charitable endeavors. Since 2010 NEUCO has sponsored countless Almost Home Kids events, from our past golf outings, to the galas in both Chicago and Naperville. For several years Neuco has had a foursome of golfers headed by Brian and Billy Neustadt in the AHK Golf Marathon, and Neuco employees have personally supported AHK — encouraging their friends and families to also become involved.

In 2013 Neuco employees began an annual tradition by hosting the Holiday Party for the children & siblings at AHK Naperville, recruiting musical entertainment from Neuco employees, providing lunch for family members and staff, and even donning the big red suit and beard to make sure the children at Almost Home Kids have a visit and pictures with Santa, AKA Bill. In addition to Almost Home Kids, Neuco has dedicated significant time and resources to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the Marfan Foundation and Sharing Connections Furniture Bank in Downers Grove.

Neuco is the premier master distributor of HVAC/R controls in North America, providing excellent service, technical knowledge, and support to wholesale distributors by serving as an extension of the manufacturers. The origins of the company date back to 1907 when John M. Neustadt started his hay, coal and grain business on the west side of Chicago. Today, Neuco stocks over 54,000 replacement parts from top HVAC/R manufacturers such as Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Carrier, Trane and Lennox at their new location in Bollingbrook, IL. Amid the evolution of the company from the early 1900’s to today, one thing has remained the same: Neuco’s commitment to customer service and satisfaction is second to none.

Join the Young Associates Board of Almost Home Kids at Porter Kitchen & Deck for their fifth annual No Place Like Home event on May 3, 2019 from 7:00 – 10:00 PM.

Grab your friends and enjoy drinks, apps and music for another night to remember benefiting Almost Home Kids Chicago.

Advance tickets are $85 (price goes up to $95 after April 20, 20119), so get your tickets now at https://give.almosthomekids.org/event

 

Masses of thanks to our amazing runners at this years Shamrock Shuffle! You guys raised a ton of much needed funds for AHK and helped spread the word, and a bit of orange in a sea of green!

Over $3,000 was raised thanks to Steve Tziforos, Cory Eigenschenk, Bec Williams, Adam Polywka, Liam Brady, Jaclyn Kaminski, Briley Kellison, Noah Placzek, Audrey Smith, Jenn Splinter, and Angie McNeil. Special shout out to the Grant Thonton Team and  Team Tziforos.

There is still time to donate to a runner: http://team.almosthomekids.org/2019Shamrock

Swoon’s 5th annual Silent Auction Fundraiser benefiting Almost Home Kids was a fabulous success! 

Masses of thanks to AHK Board Member and Swoon CEO Michelle Baker, Jessica Henry’s Swoon’s Fundraising Committee Chair and the Swoon Fundraising Committee for hosting the most amazing event!

The main fundraiser and the several other fundraising efforts including a cool Valentine’s Day card drive and Penny Fundraiser have combined to make Swoon one of the leaders in company fundraiser initiatives, and we can’t thank them enough for making such an amazing difference at Almost Home Kids.

About Swoon
Swoon was founded to create a new standard in staffing. Our job isn’t about filling seats. It’s about connecting people in a way that helps careers and businesses grow.
In 2010, we launched an agile, client-focused team that’s not only savvy in our core industries, but elbow-deep, every day, getting to know the strongest talent in technology and professional fields.

We know the best and brightest can’t be found on job boards (they don’t need to be there). We need to know them! So, we do. Swoon hosts events. We sponsor activities. We go to the meetups and socials they already attend.

Why put in the extra legwork? Because it’s personal. Because it makes a difference—for our clients and our contractors.
Today, Swoon is the 20th fastest-growing staffing company in the U.S. with an expanding client roster of Fortune 1000 companies, best-of awards and legions of talented people in our network. Let’s talk about how we can make your company swoon, too.

Almost Home Kids began 20 years ago as the dream of two mothers who longed to create a place in the community, where families of children with medical complexities could turn for care to avoid prolonged hospitalization or long term care institutions. With the grassroots support of the community, and generous donors like you, today Almost Home Kids has homes in Naperville, Chicago and Peoria with more locations on the horizon.

Become a Sustainer Donor – Consider $20 a month to mark our 20th Anniversary!

Your financial support makes an impact. Here are a few examples of how your monthly gift changes lives:
$10: Your support helps to ensure daily essentials such as diapers, supplies and formula are always available for the children in our care.
$20: Safe, reliable transportation gives families one less thing to worry about. Your gift helps to provide gas cards, parking vouchers or public transit passes for those with no access to a motor vehicle.
$50: Therapy tools such as art and craft supplies, adaptive toys and sensory books allow children to express themselves through art and play. Our Child Life Specialist and volunteers use these supplies as part of their interaction with the children in our care and their siblings.
$100: Adaptive equipment like positioning wedges, mats and chairs are vitally important to help provide the most comfortable positioning assistance to each child. Your gift helps us provide this much needed support.

Please help us sustain the lives of the children we serve by providing them the essential medical care and supplies they need.

There are 3 secure, easy ways:

  • Log on to http://give.almosthomekids.org/sustainer and set up monthly giving on a credit card.
  • Log on http://give.almosthomekids.org/sustainer and set up monthly giving automatically from your checking account by choosing “direct debit” (this option saves us transactional fees).
  • Use your bank’s website to set up a monthly transaction (this option saves us transaction fees).

Set it and forget it – but we won’t! You’ll receive a year end summary to help with your taxes, and periodic updates on how your gift has made a difference. The most important benefit is knowing that your contributions are improving the lives of amazing children.

If you have any questions, please call Raeann Olsen-Jackson, Director of Development at 312.282.7081 or email at rjackson@almosthomekids.org

We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help make each Almost Home Kids feel like home. Individual volunteers, volunteer groups and the community make a difference allowing Almost Home Kids to provide a better quality of life for children who are medically complex, and their families. Volunteers are an integral part of the daily functioning of Almost Home Kids and we always welcome individuals who would like to be a Recreational Volunteer  with the children as well as volunteer groups to our home!

Volunteer Opportunities Include:

  • Recreational Activities with the Children – Opportunities are available 7 days a week
  • Administrative Tasks – NAPERVILLE & PEORIA – Opportunities are available on an as-needed basis
  • Gardening/Yard Work Tasks in NAPERVILLE & PEORIA
  • Coordinating of Fundraising Events benefiting Almost Home Kids
  • Coordinating Donation Drives benefiting Almost Home Kids
  • Event Support Volunteer
  • Corporate Volunteer Days

Recreational Volunteers engage the children with play activities such as reading, puzzles, sensory toys or simply holding a baby.  It is important you feel you would be comfortable volunteering with a child who has complex medical needs. We require a volunteer commitment of a minimum of 4 volunteer hours  every month for the 4-5 month time period following your Orientation.   If you are interested in becoming a Recreational Volunteer with the children here are the guidelines:

  • Volunteers need to complete an online application & then will be invited to register and attend the next available monthly Volunteer Orientation
  • Volunteers need to be able to commit to a minimum of 4 hours per month in the 4- 5 month time period following your Orientation*
  • Volunteers need to submit a printed COLOR copy of a photo ID
  • Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age to be a Recreational Volunteer
  • Volunteers need to be up to date with all vaccinations
  • Volunteers need to submit documentation  of a TB test (administered within last 12 months)
  • Volunteers need to  submit documentation of a seasonal Flu shot during the Flu season months of October – April
  • Volunteers 18 years old and older will be asked to complete a Background Check form at Orientation
  • Volunteer shifts are available 7-days a week from 10am to 7pm
  • Volunteers will choose their own 1 to 2 hour shifts based on calendar availability each week
  • AHK is not an appropriate site for court mandated service hours
  • A Note for Students: If you are volunteering to meet a class requirement or are a Service Learning Student, the process is the same and you must attend an orientation. Contracts or other paperwork requiring a signature cannot be signed prior to the volunteer attending an orientation.

The first step to becoming a volunteer is to  complete the online NEW CHICAGO & NAPERVILLE VOLUNTEER APPLICATION FORM or PEORIA VOLUNTEER APPLICATION. Once your application is approved and you have confirmed your documentation is up to date for your TB & Flu (during Flu season) ~ you will be invited by the Community Outreach Coordinator; Lisa Snow via email, to register for the next available Volunteer Orientation.  However, please note we invite volunteers in order of submission of their application and it can take several weeks to get through this process. 

Orientations are typically held once a month at each location on Thursdays & are approximately 1.5 hours in length.  They do fill up quickly because we limit the number to 12 in attendance.   Please be sure and indicate in your email which location you are applying for.

We love the original hand-painted mural that was created for us at Almost Home Kids by madly talented artists from TracyLocke Chicago Office. There are so many fun elements that combine our animal theme from the kids doors, iconic Chicago emblems and imagery  with quotes from our nursing staff and from our healing garden in Naperville. It truely is a one-of-a-kind.

Special thanks to Kelsey who spearheaded the project and Chris and all the artists who not only painted but also read to the kids during a story hour and stuffed envelopes for us!

Thank you all for donating your time and creative energy to bring a lot of joy to our home. 

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Hard to believe it by looking outside, but Spring will be here before you know it, and with it, the annual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K!

Please consider joining our Team for this year’s Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, March 24! To sign up for the AHK Running team*, or donate to a runner please click here: http://team.almosthomekids.org/2019Shamrock

Members of Team AHK receive a dri-fit orange running shirt emblazoned with “Running for a Cause” on the back. You just need to commit to raising $40 or more for the children at AHK via our easy to use online fundraising platform.  Your commitment helps AHK provide transitional and respite care in a home-like setting and training for parents of children with medical complexities.

To join Team AHK for the Shamrock Shuffle*,  email elarsen@almosthomekids.org as an Individual, or select to Start a Team and recruit friends or family members to make a difference along with you.

We look forward to seeing you once again at The Bean on March 24!

*Don’t forget to register at the main Shamrock Shuffle race site first.

Thanks a million to all of you for supporting Giving Tuesday – [drum-roll] we raised nearly $50,000!!!!

These contributions include matching gifts from the Coleman Foundation and Skender Foundation. The impact of these donations is far reaching and we are most grateful for each and every gift.

THANK YOU for making a difference!