To expand our services to women, children and families in Illinois, we are excited to introduce the Empowering Women, Strengthening Families program! 

Beginning in October 2017, with funding from a generous gift from Wayne and Nan Kocourek, the Empowering Women, Strengthening Families Program will provide counseling services, funding and trained advocates to help expectant mothers or new families in crisis stay together.

For qualifying applicants, the Empowering Women, Strengthening Families Program will help provide bridge funding for housing, educational scholarships, medical care and more so women who wish to parent their child will have the support and resources they need to make a parenting plan instead of an adoption plan.

Holt-Sunny Ridge works with dozens of women each year who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. For women who want to parent, but lack sufficient support, parenting skills, job skills or permanent housing, there are few resources outside of decentralized public assistance.

The Kocoureks want to help raise awareness about the need to empower women who wish to raise their children and they encourage others to join in supporting them as well. The Kocoureks feel there are some women who just need a boost up to get started in their new lives as mothers.

Women in the Empowering Women, Strengthening Families Program will have a dedicated counselor who determines the best way to use the program’s funds to help them overcome hardship. The counselor will work to identify, contact and solidify a team of ongoing support, which may include addressing issues such as food insecurity, the need for stable housing, vocational training, daycare or more.

“Empowering mothers to parent their children will meet such a huge need in Chicagoland and Illinois,” says Nancy Crouch, Holt-Sunny Ridge’s director of domestic adoption and birth parent services. “We are so grateful to the Kocoureks for this opportunity to expand our services.”

In the first year, the Empowering Women, Strengthening Families Program hopes to serve 20-25 women and over 30 children, with a plan to increase services in subsequent years.

Holt-Sunny Ridge began over 90 years ago as the “Sunny Ridge Home for Children” in Chicago. Over the decades, as adoption and child care policies changed, the organization transitioned from an orphanage to an adoption agency. In 2014, what was then “Sunny Ridge Family Center” merged with Holt International to further expand their services to children, becoming Holt-Sunny Ridge. Today, Holt-Sunny Ridge is a respected international and domestic adoption agency and post-adoption resource for families, dedicated to the mission of finding loving, secure homes for children and strengthening families both here in Illinois and around the world.

For more information, contact