Easter Celebration at CCO

Spring is such a lively time and often reminds us of newness: flowers sprouting up, birds chirping away, a departure from an oftentimes blustery winter.

Here at Cornerstone Community Outreach, we embrace spring’s arrival after a long Chicago winter. And a highlight of spring is EASTER!! We shelter over 35 families at any given time, so there are always kids around, just waiting to experience a CCO Easter celebration.

It’s so fun for us as adults to be able to let kids experience a piece of childhood, sometimes it’s for the first time! It’s such a privilege for us to be an agent of JOY for these children, passing out Easter Baskets to them. The kiddos are excited to celebrate a holiday at Cornerstone Community Outreach and we are so excited to get to watch a happy memory unfold.

Thank you everyone who donated candy and Easter Baskets for the kids!

Remembered and Cared For…

 

Thank you to all the Christmas elves who worked day and night gathering, sorting, wrapping, and organizing donated toys so that everyone at Cornerstone felt remembered and cared for this Christmas. Thank you to all the staff, volunteers, and CCO Board Members who helped make everything come together for the families and nearly 150 children sheltered at CCO.

It’s not too late to give! Please consider making a donation that will provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and individualized supportive services to the families and singles sheltered at Cornerstone.

Outpouring of Generosity

A tiny segment of one Cornerstone Christmas list…

We are so grateful for each of our Christmas donors. We have had an outpouring of generosity this Christmas. Thank you to everyone who has purchased new toys or made a financial donation toward Christmas gifts and parties for our shelter guests.

We all experience the holidays but your generosity ensures that our shelter guests feel remembered, cared for and appreciated this Christmas. Thanks for thinking of others this holiday season!

If you haven’t made a donation toward this Christmas feel free to visit our Donation Page by clicking here. Once there, be sure to choose “Christmas” in the designation box. If you would like to donate toward fulfilling the day-to-day mission of CCO by providing shelter then choose “where most needed.”

Thank you!

Families Experiencing Homelessness

It is our privilege to welcome families of all descriptions who are experiencing homelessness. CCO operates two shelters for families, Sylvia Family Shelter and Hannah House Shelter, both welcome families who are homeless and provide them with individualized wrap-around services. These services are a personalized approach to assisting our shelter guests in moving from homelessness to permanent housing. It includes housing referrals, subsidized databases, job training, employment referrals, educational enrollment, counseling, medical referrals, information regarding life skills, after-school tutoring, individualized advocacy, nutritious meals, safe shelter, and more. These services look different for each individual and family we shelter because each person’s experiences, strengths, and needs are different.

Consider making a donation today that will assist the families sheltered at CCO to move from homelessness to housing!

Learn more about wrap-around services here.

 

Thank you, Coat Angels!

Coat Angels Give the Gift of Warmth!

We want to say a very special thank you to the Coat Angels! The children sheltered at CCO have been blessed with the gift of warmth thanks to this fabulous group of volunteers and donors! Each year the Coat Angels visit CCO and deliver new coats, hats, gloves, and other winter wear accessories to our children. Thank you, Coat Angels!

To learn more about the Coat Angels and all the good work they do click here.

Back-to-School Bash Photo Album!

CCO’s Annual Back-to-School Bash was a huge success! Families sheltered at CCO enjoyed dancing, music, pizza, cake, prizes, face-painting, and more. All school-aged children chose a new backpack, from a wide-range of styles, provided by the Northeastern Illinois University Alumni Association (NEIU). NEIU has provided and distributed backpacks and school supplies at the Back-to-School Bash for years. Thank you, NEIU!

Student volunteers from Uptown Christian School (UCS) set-up the room, served food, decorated, cleaned, and reassembled the dining room. The teens were willing, fun, and amazingly helpful. Thank you, UCS!

Education is a critical stabilizing force in the lives of homeless children. We are privileged to partner with our area school teachers and administrators to ensure that the children sheltered at CCO have the best education possible.

Consider making a donation today that will directly support the families sheltered at CCO. Thank you!

Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to you! Did you know that CCO staff and volunteers bake, ice, decorate and deliver a birthday cake to each child who has a birthday while sheltered at CCO? It’s true! And mom and dad are given wrapped gifts for the birthday boy or girl. It’s a truly sweet way to encourage the kids at CCO.

We need your help! We are looking for CCO supporters who would like to purchase new cake mixes, icing, and decorations (candles, sprinkles, etc) to make sure the birthday elves are never short of supplies. If you are interested in giving in this way contact Eve at eve@ccolife.org. Thanks!

Permanently Housed Up 29 % at CCO

Every person who moves from homelessness to housing is a cause for celebration. We rejoice with every one of our residents who are able to turn a key and enter their home, whether it is a mom or dad with children, single senior citizen, couple with children, three-generational family, or young adult. Finding home is the next step in a new phase of life.

While staying at Cornerstone the case-management staff work hard to make sure each person receives the assistance and services available. The work with the residents is tracked closely to be able to monitor what works and what areas can be improved on. One area tracked is how many people who come to Cornerstone homeless, successfully move into permanent housing.

We are glad to announce, that the number of people that have been housed this year so far is up by 29 percent! Already 24 families and their children, and 51 single men and women, all of whom stayed in one of CCO’s shelters moved from homelessness to permanent housing. That’s 9 more families and 16 more men and women than this time last year.

All of this can only be accomplished by your support, the hard work of the people finding home, and Cornerstone’s staff. Please consider donating today to help this wonderful work continue, and more people find home.

A donation of $4 per day can provide these wonderful, successful services for the homeless in Chicago. Donate Today!

Jakil’s “Blessing Bags”

“It speaks volumes about the character of the children and I appreciate it!” said one CCO shelter guest. An exceptional 9-year-old has visited CCO for the second time to bless those experiencing homelessness. Jakil Jackson, came to CCO to give encouragement and hygiene bags to the families and single adults sheltered with us. Jakil organized his friends and family to sort, fill, and distribute the bags.

Jakil may be one of the youngest philanthropists to bless CCO. Jakil told one news source, “In a perfect world, I would buy every homeless person a house. But since I can’t do that, I will try to help as much as I can.” He certainly does. Bags are filled with everyday items such as toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, shampoo, soap, lotion, water, shaving cream, and a crisp white t-shirt. He has encouraged us with his smile and generosity! Thank you, Jakil!

Watch a Windy City News video segment featuring Jakil distributing his “Blessing Bags” at CCO, by clicking here.

The Joy of Giving: CCO 2016 Christmas Album

“Never get tired of doing little things for others.
Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.”
– Unknown

What a festive Holiday Season! It was a joy to watch the children and parents sheltered at CCO receiving and unwrapping Christmas gifts. CCO wants to say a huge “Thank you” to our generous and thoughtful donors, who made the 2016 Holiday Season extra special. Our shelter guests gushed with gratitude. Parents enjoyed watching their children tear open gifts and felt comforted in the knowledge that they would not have to go ‘without’ this year. Each present showed that this Christmas, they were remembered. They were valued. And they were not alone.
Chicago Bear, Jimmy Staten, volunteered to play Santa this year. Thank you, Jimmy! You made every single family and child feel truly special. You brought an exciting boost to our holiday gift giving. Thank you for your time, patience, and sweet attitude!
And thank you to our very own Santa, Stewart Brown. Check back for a CCO special video featuring Stewart coming soon to CCOlife.
Thank you to all the Christmas elves who worked day and night gathering donated toys, sorting, wrapping, and organizing so that everyone felt special. Thank you to all the staff, volunteers, and CCO Board Members who helped make everything come together for the families and nearly 150 children sheltered at CCO.
Special thanks and photo credit goes to Juan Carlos Garzon. Thank you for the fabulous pictures we can all enjoy, including the families, who received copies as keepsakes of their Christmas at CCO.
Your thoughtfulness and encouragement last long after the wrapping paper is swept up and the toys are well used. It is truly a blessing to give and we are grateful to all who did!