Operation New Start forms new collaboration with HCS Family Services

Heather Laughman and Phyllis Young 
Operation New Start has given its first six kitchens to HCS Family Services, a compassionate not-for-profit organization which has been 
serving the residents of Southeast Dupage County since 1937. Formerly Hinsdale Community Service, its goal is to prevent homelessness and food insecurity, help low-income individuals achieve their dreams of sustained economic self-sufficiency and to create an improved quality of life for themselves and their families - a perfect fit for Operation New Start kitchens. 

"You are awesome!!" said Kim Stephens, Elites Case Manager.

Read what Stephens has to say about the Elites program and the unique way our kitchens are used. 

 The Elites Program empowers individuals and families dependent on community and government supports to achieve self-sufficiency within a three-year period. Through extensive case management, advocacy, educational workshops and support services, we provide participants with the tools that allow them to become independent from assistance. Each participant defines their goals and builds a reasonable strategy with their case manager in the following areas:  Education, Job Training, Employment, Housing, Finances, Health and Wellness. 

In meeting with our clients, I was hearing (all too often) the same thing, “I could really use some tips on how to be a better parent. It is so hard”.   

HCS Family Services, through the Elites program, fills this gap for our clients.   In January 2011, the HCS Family Services Parent Mentor program was born.  We recruited volunteers from the community to donate their time to becoming a Parent Mentor.  Six highly motivated Elites clients were selected to participate in the one-year program.  Before the volunteers were paired with their families, they attended a two-day training workshop on what their roles and responsibilities would be with their families.  The clients attended an evening discussion on what was required of them as well. 

The mentor and the client attend a mandatory eight week Nurturing Parent class together for two hours each week.  It is important for both the client and mentor to be together in this part of the journey.  It is a big commitment for both the mentor and client and is a true testament of their dedication in wanting to be better parents.  At the end of the eight week class, the clients have a graduation ceremony where they will receive their reward for attending the classes…the Kitchens that are generously donated by the Assistance League of Chicagoland West.
If you want to read more go to HCS Program works to strengthen families
Barb Keller, ALCW member and HCS Family Services
Board Member with Mentor Ann Hickey 

Mentor Karen Rooney