May 18, 2022
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Project HELP hosted its 6th Annual Community Begins at Home Breakfast. More than 230 attendees joined the event, which Nicole Robinson, the YWCA’s new CEO, kicked off with the following statement:
“As you might have noticed – we’ve launched a new brand for this work. We’ve changed from Project HELP to Strong Families – a brand which clearly demonstrates the impact we seek.”
Peggy McGuire, Director of Child and Family Development at the YWCA further explained the rationale for the brand transition. Due to the past two challenging years dealing with COVID, Strong Families expanded services to help support families and the brand transition represents consolidation of similar services already offered by the organization. She shared metrics that underscore the impact of Strong Families:
- 203,288 touchpoints for outreach, education, information distribution and vaccine clinic participation in DuPage and Kane Counties
- $7,500 in PPE and cleaning supplies distributed
- $2,000 in cash assistance distributed to Strong Families clients
- 200,000 meals to community members, including Strong Families clients
Not only were the services amped up to support families, the families seeking help were already experiencing a crisis or a major hurdle before the pandemic hit; the pandemic only added to their challenges. Strong Families client, Maria, shared her story about how she lost her job due to COVID, leading her to seek the help from Strong Families which provided the resources she needed to help her and her three boys get back on their feet. McGuire stated, “We’ve changed our name to better reflect our desire to support families in becoming stronger – working from a strength-based approach, not deficit-based.”
With the new approach of Strong Families, Jeanne Naughton, Advisory Council Member, put into perspective the urgent need of monetary support for the program presenting the following information:
- It costs approximately $2,000 to serve each family over the course of a year with our Parent Mentor program.
- 80 + families on our wait list means we need an additional $160,000 just to meet the current demand for our parent mentor services.
- Many of the families on our wait list have many challenges, coming to us through DCFS referrals.
- The parents and children we serve are often living with violence, sexual abuse, isolation, and poverty, waiting for our services.
Guest Speaker Tim Grove provided his expertise, developed over more than 25 years working in a variety of direct care and administrative positions. He shared insights about the pervasive and significant impacts of trauma, the pandemic, and how we can collectively move forward. As a highlight at the culmination of the event, DuPage Foundation was awarded for their community leadership for their commitment to support our community’s nonprofits and fostering key partnerships to address critical issues affecting DuPage County.
In the event you couldn’t make it to the breakfast or didn’t get a chance to maximize your impact by making a tax-deductible contribution, you can donate now by texting “strongfamilies” to 844-240-8442.
Special thanks to our sponsors,
Exchange Club of Naperville
Crown Community Development
DuPage Foundation and Bright & Early DuPage
IntentGen Financial Partners
Christine Furie & Family
Clark Dog Media
Duly Health and Care
Judge Robert J. Anderson