E-news from The Baby Fold

Spreading love at Hammitt Schools

Sharing Valentine treats

We love the kids and families in our programs! Earlier this month, the teachers and staff at three Hammitt School campuses found special ways to spread some love, have a little fun, and celebrate Valentine’s Day with their students. 

At Hammitt Elementary, our family advocates worked with the school’s student council to design and distribute candy grams to all of the classrooms. The students were thrilled with the sweet surprises, and our student council members had the chance to practice their planning, preparation, and social skills while packing the candy grams.

Students in our Autism program at Hammitt Junior-Senior High School on Kays Drive enjoyed letting their creative sides shine as they crafted heartfelt sentiments for their fellow classmates. The students were excited to practice their communication skills as they exchanged cards and treats, and spread some love throughout the school.

The Vocational Department and Counseling Department at Hammitt Junior-Senior High School on Oglesby Avenue collaborated on Valentine’s Day festivities for students in the Hammitt Hurricane Café. The Café is a vocational space where students not only serve delicious beverages and add-ons, but build their hospitality and conversational skills. Their special Valentine menu included delicious coffee, cocoa, homemade waffles, and a whole lot of smiles!

Hammitt School staff continually incorporate skill-building opportunities and lessons into every aspect of their students’ school day—even during our beloved Valentine’s Day celebrations. How sweet it is!

Staff and a student get creative
Students and Valentine treats

A month of LOVE for children in need!

Our hearts are full of love for children! Throughout the month of February and beyond, your special gifts will bring children the expert care they need to become whole and healthy!

video screenshot

Fostering stability and love for kids

For over 30 years, The Baby Fold’s Foster Care team has worked tirelessly with local families and state agencies to provide love, care, and stability to children when they have been removed from troubled homes. While always striving to do what’s in the best interest of the children involved, team members balance the needs of biological families, foster families, the court system, and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

The dedicated 20-member team truly has a heart for helping children, serving as their advocates and champions. The staff understand that every child has a story to tell, and they strive to help children make their stories healthier and happier.

As a testament to the hard work of the team, The Baby Fold’s Foster Care program was recently ranked #1 out of 48 child welfare agencies in Illinois. Our staff had the largest percentage of children moved from temporary, foster care situations to permanent, stable homes! 

With approximately 110 children in The Baby Fold’s Foster Care program each year, the important work continues, and local children need your help.

adults at the foster care picnic

Become a foster parent. 

The Foster Care Program’s licensing team works with individuals and families to help them become licensed foster families. Our staff has over 60 years of combined experience in child welfare, and they enjoy walking new families through the process.

There is always a need for families to provide a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for a child in care. (There is a particular need for foster families for older teenagers and children with behavioral needs.) Foster families provide unconditional love for children, and this love is complex because the children still love and need their birth families. 

The ideal foster family meets the needs of the child in their situation, remains flexible as the child’s needs change, and always puts the child’s best interests first because all children deserve to have a champion and a stable, loving home.

And The Baby Fold’s Foster Care workers are knowledgeable and supportive partners, walking alongside prospective foster families through every step of the licensing process.

For more information on how you can bless the life of a child by becoming a foster parent, contact the licensing team through this online form.

Join the Foster Care team.

If you have a heart for children and are interested in a career doing important, life-changing work, apply for one of the open positions on The Baby Fold’s Foster Care team. A variety of opportunities are currently open, including case worker and administrative positions. Visit our website for more information on how to join this amazing team.

Foster Care staff

Honoring Black History Month

Black History Month display

The sense of belonging that inclusivity brings is a strong, enduring force for good. The Baby Fold is committed to supporting and maintaining a diverse and inclusive culture because it benefits each of us and the precious children we serve. 

This Black History month and beyond, we encourage you to learn and celebrate more deeply the contributions and legacy of Black Americans throughout our history, just as our kids are doing at Hammitt Schools.

Baby Fold Clinical Director shares expertise across the nation

Dr Kathleen Bush

The Baby Fold has long been a leader in research and advancements in child welfare. Schools and organizations across the country regularly reach out to Baby Fold staff for training and consultations. 

When we share our expertise, we improve the lives of even more children and families. And when we can train others to share our knowledge, our impact increases exponentially.

Dr. Kathleen Bush, The Baby Fold’s Clinical Director, is frequently called to speak at the national level. Through Texas Christian University, she is also currently helping with a research project titled Leveraging Safe Adults.  

The research looks at ways for youth to calm fears through healthy connections with safe adults. The goal of the research is to determine if strategies used at The Baby Fold could also assist youth in juvenile justice facilities.

On our campuses and elsewhere, The Baby Fold wants to ensure that all children and young adults are poised for success.

Peer groups bring students together

Not only does Hammitt Junior-Senior High School offer personalized special education, but students also benefit from a variety of activities and events to round out their educational experience.

Optional peer groups give students the opportunity to meet with classmates and friends in similar situations and work together on skills such as peer interactions, self-esteem, mentoring, frustration/anger management, and more. 

The most recent additions to the list of available groups are two engagement groups that meet on Monday mornings to encourage and support students who struggle with attendance or engagement during the school day. At group meetings, students play games and participate in therapeutic group discussions led by our trained therapist teachers. 

Students now have an added incentive when they attend group meetings…snacks! The Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority at Illinois State University and Cana Cares assembled and donated a variety of snack packs for our students. The snacks will be enjoyed by students as they attend group meetings and work on special skills. Thanks to Sigma Gamma Rho and Cana Cares for providing our students with a sweet (and salty) surprise!

students shop for snacks
snack donations for students

Meaningful volunteer leader positions available

Volunteers at Festival of Trees

Each year The Baby Fold relies on hundreds of volunteers to raise essential funding for our life-critical programs and to help make the holidays brighter for the children in our care. We are currently looking for community members who are interested in helping fulfill our mission by partnering with us in volunteer leadership roles for our Festival of Trees.

For more information, please RSVP by March 6 and join us at our Volunteer Leader Recruitment Night.

  • Bloomington-Normal Marriott 
  • Wednesday, March 8 
  • 5–8 p.m.

The Baby Fold’s programs—from Hammitt Schools to Adoption Preservation and Support—are truly changing lives. We hope you’ll consider joining us to create a larger impact in the lives of our children.

Take a tour of The Baby Fold

Learn about our vital programs and the amazing children and families in our care by taking a tour of The Baby Fold!

Our next tour will take place on March 14, 4–5 p.m. at Hammitt Junior-Senior High School (612 Oglesby Avenue, Normal). You’ll have the opportunity to visit our historic campus at the former Illinois Soldier’s and Sailor’s Children’s School and you’ll be able to view our other sites. 

To join our tour and learn more about our important mission, RSVP by March 10 to Lori Bultemeier at lbultemeier@thebabyfold.org or (309) 550-1075.

Spring auction benefits our kids and families

Looking for some spring décor for your home or office? Don’t miss our Spring Auction! 

Over 40 lovingly handcrafted wreaths and centerpieces—perfect for spring and summer—will be available through an online silent auction in March. All proceeds from the auction directly benefit the children and families we serve.

The auction begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 27, and ends at noon on Thursday, March 30. Items will be available for pick-up from noon to 7 p.m. on March 30.

More information will be available in March. Bid high to help local kids and families!

spring cross decor
spring decor
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