Jasmine and her three young children were homeless in Chicago, moving from shelter to shelter every day. But then she joined Holt-Sunny Ridge’s Empowering Women, Strengthening Families program, and her life has drastically changed.
Today she is a stable, motivated and empowered mom.
A single mother in Chicago — alone and suffering from a traumatic past — Nina thought placing her three children for adoption was her only option. Then she heard about Holt-Sunny Ridge, and their new program to empower single moms in Chicago.
In September, seven women graduated from the Empowering Women, Strengthening Families program! We honored them during a luncheon at a wonderful Italian restaurant. In order to graduate from the EWSF program, women need to successfully meet the goals they have set in order to achieve self-sufficiency and keep their families together.
We are so proud of these amazing women and all they have accomplished!
Because every mother should have the option to parent her child…
The Empowering Women, Strengthening Families Program exists to empower mothers to independently care for their children through:
• Housing Support
• Educational scholarships
• Medical care
• Day care assistance
• Case-managed support and guidance
To enroll in this program, a woman must be:
• An Illinois resident
• Age 18 or older, or under 18 with guardian’s permission
• Currently pregnant and/or parenting, but considering adoption due to lack of resources — women who, if not for the lack of resources, would choose to parent.
• Available to participate in our intake process
Partnering Together to Serve Women
If you are working with a woman who is currently parenting and/or pregnant, who would like to parent her child(ren), but lacks the resources to do so, we invite you to refer her to us. Our compassionate, professional staff will empower her with the guidance and resources she needs to achieve stability and independently care for herself and her child.
Every year, we work with dozens of women who make the most difficult decision to place their child with an adoptive family — solely because she doesn’t have the resources to parent her child herself. 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.
If you have questions, or would like to refer a woman to the Empowering Women, Strengthening Families program, we’d love to talk with you. Contact Loann Tan, our birth parent and resource social worker, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630.754.4510.
In March we hosted a luncheon to celebrate the accomplishments of women in our new Empowering Women, Strengthening Families program. After six months strong, these amazing women have reached some major milestones! Including:
Nine women are currently enrolled in our Empowering Women, Strengthening Families program, and we are so proud of the amazing progress they are making!
In October, we launched a brand new project that had been a dream of ours for years: to empower mothers in Chicago, who are considering adoption solely for lack of resources, to independently care for their children.
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.