NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | April 24, 2017
PNC Visits Wentzville for Great Day Celebration
The PNC Foundation recently announced a partnership with DonorsChoose.org to fund pre-K classroom projects. In celebration, local PNC representatives visited Youth In Need’s Wentzville Head Start and Early Head Start Center earlier this month to present gifts to Head Start staff, including $6,000 in DonorsChoose.org gift cards for program supplies and five iPads! PNC staff spent some time reading and making puppets with the children while they were there as well.
Pat’s Chat: Family
Family is defined not only by blood relationships, but by being a part of each other’s lives with caring and support. “Family” was a theme at our Celebration of Youth gala, where we honored former Board member and longtime supporter Don Kalicak and his wife Linda for their roles in helping to start and grow Youth In Need, and where we raised more than $560,000! To further illustrate how Youth In Need is a family in so many ways, former Youth In Need therapist Linda Litschgi shared the very real story about a wonderful human being, Shelly.
Shelly had nowhere to go when she came to Youth In Need at the age of 13. Her mother had passed away when she was four. She was taken in by a very caring but elderly family friend, who Shelly came to think of as her grandmother, but eventually she just wasn’t able to take care of Shelly day in and day out. She was put in foster care in 1996 and placed at Youth In Need's Cornerstone group home, because no other placements would accept a child with diabetes. Shelly stayed at Cornerstone until she was 19, and then was the first youth to be served in an Independent Living apartment through Youth In Need! Shelly has fond memories of her time at Youth In Need and her relationships with the staff, saying, “They taught me how to love and how to be loved.”
In 2007, two things happened that changed Shelly’s life dramatically: She became pregnant, and her older sister died. Shelly, at the age of 24, got custody of her sister’s three young children and became a single mom of four. She never considered not taking them in. Like Shelly herself all those years ago when she found Youth In Need, those children had nowhere to go. Shelly credits the “family” she experienced at Youth In Need with her ability to provide a family for her niece and nephews, becoming not only “Auntie” but “Momma” in the process. They have faced plenty of challenges over the years, but through it all they have remained strong. Shelly says that the five of them learned how to be a family together, and I imagine the kids are beginning to understand just how much Shelly has sacrificed for them over the years to keep them strong. Freddie, Shelly’s oldest “nephew-son” recently graduated from basic training in the National Guard, and Linda took Shelly to see him graduate. He presented Shelly with a plaque that thanks her for being “the parent who stood by, watched over, comforted and guided me,” which says it all. We’re so proud of Shelly and happy that her family will always be part of our family.
Shower of Love Raises Baby Care Items for St. Charles County’s Tiniest Residents
The Community and Children’s Resource Board of St. Charles County will hold its annual Shower of Love collection drive on April 27. Shower of Love is a collection drive for new, basic baby-care items (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) for moms and babies from nine agencies in St. Charles County, including Youth In Need. Youth In Need staff will be collecting supplies at the Dierberg’s on Zumbehl Road throughout the day.
The drive, which has raised more than $768,000 in donations over the past 10 years, is designed to help prevent child abuse and neglect in young families by providing them with necessary baby supplies and decreasing stressors associated with trying to provide these items to their families. Volunteers will be on site at Shop ‘n Save, Walmart and Midtowne Market stores throughout St. Charles County. Visit online for a complete list of collection locations.
Get Racing for Youth In Need!
Love to run? We’ve got a race for you, and Youth In Need is proud to be the official charity partner! Race 13.1 returns to St. Louis for its second annual half marathon and 5K on May 21. Enter code “YIN” at checkout to have $10 of your registration fee go to Youth In Need. The race begins and finishes at Missouri Research Park in St. Charles County and features a course filled with scenic greenways and beautiful views of the Missouri River and conservation areas. Each racer receives a tech t-shirt, and all half marathon finishers receive a race medal. Learn more about the race or register here. (And don’t forget to enter code “YIN” to have $10 of your registration fee go to Youth In Need.) We’ll see you at the finish line!