A Safe Place is the sole provider in Lake County exclusively addressing domestic violence. Through behavioral health programming, A Safe Place provides individual and group counseling/therapy, art therapy, and supportive services to adults and children who have been impacted by domestic violence. HPCF’s grant is used to support these services for members of our community. Using therapeutic interventions to address multiple Issues that include safety planning, re-establishing boundaries, reinforcing roles and healing the impacts of trauma, A Safe Place has connected Highland Park and Highwood residents with many kinds of supportive services including case management, civil legal advocacy, education, employment and economic assistance, housing, transportation and other types of advocacy.
Big Brothers Big Sisters develops high-impact mentoring relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people facing adversity. Mentors (“Bigs”) work with children (“Littles”) in the community, workplaces, their schools, and many places in between. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides ongoing professional support to volunteers, children, and parents/caregivers throughout the life of the match. 100% of the grant funds from the Highland Park Community Foundation directly supports the Highland Park Neighborhood Mentoring Program through which Highland Park and Highwood youth are paired in one-to-one relationships with caring mentors. Mentoring matches meet in a group setting and also on their own. Bigs and Littles spend several hours together each month engaging in activities focused on improving outcomes in the following areas: educational achievement, avoidance of risky behavior, and socio-emotional competency.
Blessings in a Backpack is designed to feed school-age children whose families qualify for Federal programs and have little or no food at home on weekends so every school-aged child in America has the nourishment needed to learn and grow. As a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger, Blessings strives to ensure children don’t go hungry on the weekends by empowering individuals and communities to take action. Funds from the Highland Park Community Foundation are used to purchase food that is used to assist NSSD112 students at Green Bay, Indian Trail, Wayne Thomas, Braeside, and Ravinia Schools who qualify for the Federal Free/Reduced Price Meal Program.
Cancer Wellness Center provides counseling, group support, educational lectures, classes, and workshops free-of-charge to assist cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones. While the Center’s primary demographic is over age 45, the Center’s clinical team includes a Child Specialist to serve families with young children. It also includes a Spanish-speaking therapist to provide services to the Latinx community in our area. HPCF’s grant partially funds the Center’s Support Services, which seek to reduce distress by providing participants with learning opportunities to cope more effectively with the mental and emotional impact of their diagnosis. Center services are provided by a professional clinical staff of psychologists, counselors, and social workers.
Collaborative Community Housing Initiative (CCHI) is grassroots collective made up of families with young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and community members who desire a community that is inclusive and diverse. CCHI envisions communities where individuals of all abilities live collectively, each determining their own path to a meaningful life. CCHI is about housing as well as inclusive opportunities in living, working, and socializing. HPCF’s grant funding supports activities for CCHI members from Highland Park and Highwood that promote self-directed social engagement, volunteer service, and community building.
Community Partners for Affordable Housing (“CPAH”) provides safe affordable housing services that residents can access including rental housing, affordable home ownership, home repairs, accessibility improvements, and financial counseling. CPAH serves families, individuals, single parents, those with disabilities, seniors, those facing a change of circumstances, and anyone else who needs help securing affordable housing or related services. The Foundation’s funding supports CPAH’s Community Land Trust program that develops safe, permanently affordable ownership and rental opportunities for members of our community who cannot afford decent housing.
Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. They supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities. New and nearly new children’s items are collected through grassroots community drives and corporate donations. Donations are then processed and packaged by volunteers in their warehouse, The Giving Factory. Packages from The Giving Factory are distributed to local children through a collaborative network of diverse service partners. HPCF’s grant supports the distribution of basic needs to children in Highland Park and Highwood.
Community – The Anti-Drug Coalition (CTAD) is a community coalition that is comprised of parents, local government, school officials, clergy, and health providers. CTAD’s mission is to generate conversation and provide accurate information about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use in our community. CTAD is a volunteer-led organization, which strives to build and sustain a safe and drug-free community in which our youth feel protected, confident and empowered to make healthy choices. They bring together input and contributions from all sectors of the community—schools, parents, youth, government, healthcare, faith, law enforcement, youth-serving organizations and more—to transform the environment around our youth so that the drug-free choice is the easy choice. The grant from the Highland Park Community Foundation supports CTAD’s “You Got This!” drug prevention campaign that will be implemented in District 113 in the 2021-2022 school year. The purpose of the campaign is two-fold: 1) to celebrate the strength and resiliency of HPHS and DHS students during challenging times and 2) to strengthen the association between drug-free choices and values important to our students.
Curt’s Café provides unique work and life skills training, social-emotional support, and job placement for young adults 18-24 living in at-risk circumstances. Since Curt’s opened in 2012, the organization has served over 450 young adults. Over 80% have completed Curt’s program and entered the food service and restaurant industry and/or stayed in high school to graduate. Curt’s original café in Evanston serves Cook County and Curt’s Highland Park Café serves Lake County young adults. Curt’s is excited to reopen the Highland Park café for the students it serves as well as the community by offering a meeting place to strengthen the connections between diverse residents of the community. Students are referred or learn of the program from current and former participants as well as probation officers, city police, social service agencies, State’s Attorney’s offices, teachers, and counselors. Curt’s breaks the prison pipeline and builds a stronger foundation for the students and their families. HPCF’s funding provides general operating support for the Highland Park Cafe including expenses for training, stipends, and mental health services for Highland Park and Highwood students.
Direct Giving Lab (DGL) provides unrestricted cash transfers to low-income working households that are looking for a path out of poverty. A direct cash transfer program aims to alleviate poverty by bridging the minimum wage-living wage gap. A living wage is the household income necessary to meet basic needs: rent, food, utilities, childcare, health care, transportation, income taxes. In Illinois, the living wage household income for a family of four with one adult working is $56,000. The living wage gap for DGL families can be as significant as $20,000 annually and traps families in poverty. DGL’s Cash Transfer program conducts unrestricted cash direct cash projects, varying the monthly cash amount and duration of program enrollment, and collects feedback on financial security and health outcomes. To date, DGL has provided families with $100/month and $150/month cash transfers, and families have participated for 12 or 24 months. DGL’s current group of families were selected using the free and reduced meal (FARM) program at Highland Park High School to identify families with children struggling to make ends meet.