All posts by Judith McLean

Join our Young Associates Board (YAB) for their annual fundraiser “No Place Like Home” at Hubbard Inn in Chicago River North neighborhood, for a fun night of drinks, apps, music, raffles prizes and silent auction, all benefiting Almost Home Kids.

No Place Like Home
Where: Hubbard Inn, 110 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654
When: May 1st 2019 at 7 – 10 pm
Tickets: $90 early bird/ $100 after April 15th

Join friends of Almost Home Kids as we run for a cause at the 2019 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K on Sunday, March 22,2020.

Runners for Team AHK will receive a dri-fit orange running shirt (after raising a minimum of $40).  Suggested fundraising goal for each participant on Team AHK is $100.

Make sure you sign up for the official race first at: 

Then sign up to fundraise for AHK at:

Join us for the annual west suburban gala benefitting AHK Naperville! This year we celebrate the legendary rivalry between Chicagoland baseball fans at the Crosstown Classic at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook on Friday, April 24, 2020.

Hosted by the renowned entertainer and National Anthem singer, Wayne Messmer, AHK’s Crosstown Classic will feature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auction, dinner and live music rom Standing Room Only, as well as lively ballpark-themed activities!

We encourage cocktail attire with a nod to your favorite Chicago baseball team’s colors!


Save the Date!

Medical Education Conference

Thursday Apr. 23

Management of Medical Complexity in a Transitional Setting

8:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Location: Lurie Children’s Hospital
225 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
7th Floor-7309

Click here to register

Among the topics presented will be:

  • Current state of health system that influence the care of CMC
  • What you need to know about CMC
  • Case Studies: Children with medical complexities
  • What you need to know about Tracheotomy Care?
  • What you need to know about G-Tube care?
  • Managing vented patients from an outpatient perspective
  • Videos: Provider and Family Experiences
  • Community Therapies (ST, PT, OT, DT, SW & Other)
  • Brief review of children on site
  • Q & A and closing remarks

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the workshop attendees will be able to do the following

  1. Describe the challenges that confront the families of children who are medically complex.
  2. Explain from the providers’ perspective, the obstacles encountered as well as the opportunities with treating children with medical complexities in the community.
  3. Demonstrate how the current health system influences the care of children with medical complexities.
  4. Recognize the role of the medical home within the larger system of care (medical neighborhood) for children with medical complexities.
  5. Apply concepts learned to example case studies
  6. Demonstrate appropriate tracheotomy, G-tube, and ventilator care.
  7. Apply the interdisciplinary health care model required to treat children with medical complexities in a community-based health center.

The course is designed for primary care clinicians (physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants).

Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Almost Home Kids.  The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement
The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

For More Information
Please email Ponda Barnes

Child Life Program: Our Child Life Program is an integral part of the overall care and well being of each child that comes to Almost Home Kids. By facilitating play opportunities, at the bedside and in playrooms, their continued growth and development is greatly enhanced.

The Child Life Specialist benefits our program by:

  • Creating a sense of routine by helping children maintain independence, self-esteem and confidence.
  • Minimizing stress by encouraging positive coping behaviors.
  • Helping children prepare for and understand medical procedures and experiences.

Child Life Practicum at AHK 
The Child Life Practicum provides students interested in entering the field of Child Life, a practicum opportunity to work with children of various developmental levels in a pediatric transitional and respite home-like facility while being supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist.

If you are interested in learning more about the program please contact Alex Schober at:

Click here for Child Life Practicum Application Form

Application Postmark Deadline
March 15th, 2020

Practicum Dates
Summer: Mid-May – early August (time frame flexible depending on student’s schedule and AHK location)

Mail to: Almost Home Kids, c/o Alex Schober, 7S 721 Route 53, Naperville, IL 60540

The approaching New Year brings energy to the work we do. It is in this spirit of renewal that we reflect on our progress and reaffirm our commitment to providing excellent community-based care.

Our performance shows that we have an innovative model that successfully prepares families for life together in the community.  In FY 2019, Almost Home Kids:

  • Provided transitional care for 100 children, respite care for 48 children and training for over 270 parents/caregivers
  • All children at AHK for transitional care and respite care received physical and speech therapy
  • Celebrated our 20-year anniversary
  • AHK at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria celebrated a very successful 1-year anniversary
  • Over 80 engaged community, civic and corporate groups collected and donated much needed in-kind items from our wish list
  • Continued our efforts to bring our model of healthcare to multiple states and children’s medical centers around the country
  • Added video chat to allow families to remotely attend important meetings regarding their child’s health
  • And much more!

Here is our Annual Report for 2019.

Thank you for your dedication to our mission of providing a bridge from hospital to home for children with medical complexities.

With Gratitude
Deborah A. Grisko
President & Executive Director

P.S. If you haven’t had a chance to make your final gift in 2019, please consider including Almost Home Kids.

We have an awesome new opening at Almost Home Kids!

Development Coordinator Job Description

The Development Coordinator would serve as point person for AHK fundraising and special events, database management, as well as, communications and digital-communications by performing the following functions:


  1. Plans and coordinates special events, facility’s fundraisers and supports events of the Young Associates Board of AHK (examples currently include two annual galas, golf marathon, Parties with a Purpose, campaign events, etc.).
  2. Secures and coordinates sponsorships, silent auction items for events, as well as, collaborates on mailing lists internally and externally.
  3. Administers and manages Raiser’s Edge database, enters gifts, coordinates acknowledgements, adds and facilitates entry of new records. Maintains accuracy, prepares reports, assists Development Director in implementing strategies through segmentation. Prepares accurate donor recognition and other lists.
  4. Implements electronic fundraising appeals through Online Express and other mailings in connection with annual and special event campaigns, working with mail house, post office and other vendors; track results.
  5. Provides support to Director of Development and Director of Marketing & Communications in preparing for and following up on President’s Council and Event committee meetings. This includes organizing PC and Event Committee meetings, preparing minutes, booking donor appointments, including preparing for and following up on meetings.
  6. Builds and maintains electronic database to support Internet fundraising and e-mail communications.
  7. Takes lead initiative to design and layout newsletters 4 to 6 times per year with collaboration from Development and clinical staff members.
  8. Coordinate and create legislative and clinical status card production on a monthly basis.
  9. Coordinates records with finance department and Community Outreach coordinator, including monthly reconciliation and integration of donor and volunteer records.
  10. Demonstrates a great enthusiasm for the mission and attends networking events as requested.
  11. Works independently with limited guidance and direction.
  12. Perform other duties as required to accomplish the mission of the Development and marketing & Communications Department and Almost Home Kids.


  1. Bachelor’s degree preferred.
  2. Minimum of 5-7 years relevant experience required.
  3. Experience working closely with professional, donor or client constituent groups vital.
  4. Knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel.
  5. Experience with Raiser’s Edge NXT or other similar software.
  6. Java script/HTML editing knowledge preferred.
  7. A strong command of the English language and the ability to compose, edit and proof written language and to communicate effectively on a verbal level.
  8. Strong organizational skills and the ability to establish priorities essential.
  9. The Development Coordinator should have qualities of integrity, industry, and curiosity. They must have an energy level that ensures high quality productivity on a timely basis. They must be capable of exercising good judgment and confidentiality in dealing with volunteers, donors, and staff and must have patience and understanding of the needs of others.
  10. They must be independent, accurate, and reliable. Must be able to perform effectively under the pressure of demanding deadlines, and work with limited supervision/instruction. In addition, he or she must be able to make decisions quickly and react in an appropriate manner to solve problems.
  11. A team attitude is necessary to work with internal and external constituencies.
  12. Ability to work independently in a deadline-oriented environment required.
  13. Duties as assigned.

You all are such caring and generous people! Thank you so much for all the love, support and gifts for Giving Tuesday. More than $56,000 was donated, surpassing our goal and breaking our records from 2013.

The Coleman Foundation and Jet Brite Car Wash have matched your donations which clearly inspired everyone to dig deep. All gifts, large and small, make such a difference.

With so many worthy non-profits in the area, we are simply thrilled that you support us in such a big hearted way. If you missed out, you can visit us on-line anytime.

#GivingTuesday #ShareTheCare #OurDonorsAreTheBest #CityofBigShoulders

Thanks to Stephen Grisko at Guaranteed Rate, we have a brand new video to share featuring one of our amazing families – The Browns.

Stephen Grisko is a talented marketing professional who creates and produces commercials and ad campaigns for the mortgage company. He turned his talents to a pro bono project documenting some of our AHK families, the first ones being the Brown’s, for what we hope will be a series of several AHK family stories.

Josie Brown came to AHK Naperville for transitional care and parents Laura and Jeff have been instrumental in helping us with a parent testimonial during the rate increase sessions in Springfield and gave the parent testimonial at our most recent gala in Chicago – they will speak again in April at our Naperville gala. They are an amazing family, and we are really grateful to them for all their advocacy and for opening up their home and allowing us to film them.

Since filming this segment, they have learned that their son Robbie has also been diagnosed with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS), the same diagnosis as Josie – it’s a very rare condition afflicting only 1,200 people worldwide. They know that Almost Home Kids is here for them, and ready to support the family as their safety-net in the community.