Monday, December 10, 2012

Can You Help These Kids?

I received a call this morning and as a parent this just breaks my heart... The Villages' Northeast Region does not have a sponsor this holiday season and the staff in those offices have been working diligently on trying to find community partners to help provide gifts for the kids that they serve.  Sadly, they can't find anyone which means that nearly 100 children could go without Christmas.  Can you imagine your child waking up on Christmas morning and not having a single gift under the tree?  I'm hoping that the power of social media will help us collect some much needed toys, games, books, etc. for the kids served by The Villages in Northwestern Indiana. 

Below are the kids names who need support and their ages.  We are looking for one NEW toy to give to each of these kids.  It doesn't have to be much...maybe $20-$25.  Our only requirement is that these gifts be new.  If you can help please pick up a gift and drop it by one of The Villages' offices in Elkart, Marion, Fort Wayne or Indianapolis (let us know it's for the Northeast Region and we'll make sure it gets there!) 

Thank you in advance for your help.  I know that this weekend when I'm finishing my Christmas shopping I'll pick up a few extra toys...and I hope you will too!


(Name, Age)
Anthony, 10
Ashtin, 11
Austin, 4
Blaine, 7
Bradin, 3
Braeden, 9
Breion, 4
Christopher, 7
Dakota, 13
Dathyn, 11
Devarious, 2
Devin, 4
Dylan, 9
Eddie, 14
Elijah, 4
Elijah, 8
Ethan, 4
Greg, Jr., 12
Illario, 4
Isaiah, 2
Ja’Vionne, 12
Jayden, 4
Jayden, 7 months
Jayden, 8
JD , 8
Jeremyah, 2
Jerrimiah, 10
Jordon, 9
Julian, 10
Kani, 3
Keeian, 15
Koen, 7 months
Kyle, 14
Kyren, 7
Lukus, 13
Martin, 1
Mathew, 5
Nathaniel, 6
Nathaniel, 9
Noah, 3
Octavio, 5
Paul, 16
R.J, 3
RJ, 10
Roman, 1
Ryan, 11 (medically fragile, non-verbal/mobile)
Sean, 6
Therron, 5
Zackary, 3
(49 Total Boys)

(Name, Age)
Akasha, 5
Alexis, 5
Aliyah, 1
Amberis, 15
Angel, 18
Audreauna, 8
Azaria, 4
Brianna, 5
Cherish, 15
Courtney, 12
Cynthia, 15
Donetta, 16
Elizah, 1
Emma, 6
Evealynn, 1
Jaquanna, 13
Jenna, 5 months
Kala, 18
Kaniya, 7
Kim, 18
Kristina, 3
Kyanna, 5
Layla, 6
Madalynn, 1 ½
Madelyn, 3
Maikala, 16
Marinna, 15
Meika, 14
Myasia, 6
Nakkita, 8
Nevaeh, 2
Nevaeh, infant
Raven, 9
Razioa, 3
Tanisha, 10
Taylor, 12
Thallia, 7
Tlijah, 7
Tomya, infant
Troie, 15
Ty’Shay, 1
Whitney, 11
Xyann, 11
Yahida, 14
(44 Total Girls)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Staff Spotlight: Nancy Yeakle

Nancy Yeakle is an Administrative Assistance in The Villages’ Marion-Anderson Office and has been with The Villages for seven years. Nancy manages, organizes and prioritizes the operation of her office while assisting direct-care staff. She works with the foster families in her region to ensure their licensing is current, plans trainings for staff, and organizes support groups for clients. Nancy also fosters relationships with outside companies who support the Marion-Anderson foster children and families. We recently ask Nancy a few questions about her job assisting The Villages in their mission of championing families and children.

The Villages: Why did you choose a career in child welfare?

Nancy: I love working with families and children.

The Villages: Please share one inspiring experience you had in the last year?

Nancy: Last summer our region had a support group for pool safety. The party was at the city pool and we were the only ones there! All of our foster parents and their children (foster, adopted, and biological children) and staff from our office were there. We had a pitch in and it was awesome…just like one big family.

The Villages: What can the community do to help you, and The Villages, better serve vulnerable children and families?

Nancy: Be aware that we are here to help children and families.

The Villages: What is your wish for The Villages and/or the children you work with?

Nancy: For The Villages to continue helping children and families to become happy and bonded!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanks for Helping us CHAIRish Children

The 2012 CHAIRish the Children event and auction, presented by the Mac Fehsenfeld Family Foundation, was once again a success! Many of the guests to attended the November 9th special event said that this year’s chairs were the best they’ve ever seen. The Villages’ and Prevent Child Abuse Indiana raised over $13,000 that will help support our child abuse prevention programs and services. 
CHAIRish the Children is an annual event where ordinary wooden chairs are transformed by local artists into unique works of art. This year, there were owl-themed benches and table/chair sets, adorable doll chairs, elegant arm chairs, and an Indiana Pacers autographed rocking chair. In its 5th consecutive year, The Villages’ and Prevent Child Abuse Indiana’s CHAIRish the Children event has become a much anticipated event in Indianapolis, and a model for other chair-themed events across the country.

On behalf of the children and families we are privileged to serve thank you to everyone who show support of this important event by generously bidding on the 2012 CHAIRish the Children collection; to our generous sponsors who made this event possible – especially the Mac Fehsenfeld Family Foundation; and to the 35 artists who donated their time and talent to create the amazing chairs featured in our auction. Our next CHAIRish the Children event is already being planned so check our website often for updates!


The Faces of Hope ... Results That Matter

Each and every member of The Villages’ family … our dedicated staff, our invested Board Members, our gracious volunteers, and our heroic foster and adoptive families … share a passion for helping those we are privileged to serve achieve great results! Despite the drastic funding reductions The Villages has experienced during the past four years, we’ve "defied the odds" and made certain that we continue to help every child, youth and family we serve fulfill their potential --- while The Villages help them heal!

ERICKA is a remarkable young woman you’ll learn about on these pages, whose determination and energy charges our batteries daily! Despite a very traumatic childhood, Ericka has graduated from high school, is immersed in her college classes, and has selflessly taken on the responsibility of being the guardian and caregiver for her younger brother --- a young man who was recently discharged from a residential care center. As if all these roles aren’t enough to fill each busy day, Ericka also holds down a job! What a testimony Ericka, and the other 1,400 children served through The Villages, is to our organization’s commitment to results for each child!

JASON, ANDREA and their twin brothers, MARK and MICHAEL are among the 482 children served by The Villages in only ONE foster home while they were with The Villages! Of the 581 children cared for by The Villages’ heroic foster families in 2011, 83% FOUND STABILITY BY BEING IN ONLY ONE FOSTER HOME … an outcome which is among the best in our nation for children who have been abused or neglected by their parents and must be removed from their family of origin. The Villages has a relentless commitment to "matching" each child we are honored to serve in foster care with a foster family which reflects the same ethnicity, geography, and spirituality of the child. The outcome of this intentional, child-centered approach is STABILITY for those nearly 600 children!

The story for Jason, Andrea, Mark and Michael underscores, once more, The Villages’ "passion for permanency" … for they were all ADOPTED by that ONE foster family with whom they lived for nine months … creating a FOREVER FAMILY for these siblings!

It was with trepidation that JEREMY agreed to attend the DADS INC. FAIRY TALE BALL last November with his ten-year-old daughter, Aniya! Why? Because Jeremy had just been released from prison for stealing and had not had any one on one time with his daughter for over two years. Determined to be a better father, Jeremy agreed to create a new beginning with Aniya --- and that is exactly what happened! Thanks to generous DADS INC. and VILLAGES’ DONORS, Jeremy and Aniya had a magical evening … complete with a tuxedo for Jeremy and a new dress for Aniya! Now, they are seeing each other every week … creating a newly established father-daughter bond which will last a lifetime!

Perhaps one of The Villages’ former youth best described why STABILTY, PERMANENCY and RESULTS are so integral to our work when she responded recently on The Villages’ Facebook page!
"I wanted to send a small note telling you how wonderful your organization is. As a child I lived in your Bedford Indiana home. I never knew what a real family was until I lived there. I was taught a lot. I had never felt safe or loved by an adult until I was placed there. It changed my life, and the values I learned there as a child I have carried into my adulthood and passed onto my three children not only made my life better but gave me the skills I needed to make a loving safe environment to raise my own children. Thank you and god bless everyone involved with your organization! You really are changing lives and making a difference!!! God Bless!"

Children, youth and families are vulnerable in every neighborhood and community! But thanks to each of you, The Villages is able to respond to those vital needs! Lives are changed … futures are brighter … and, yes, RESULTS MATTER!

Our deepest thanks for ALL you do to help transform helplessness to HOPE!

With Deepest Gratitude,
Sharon Pierce
President and CEO, The Villages

Sponsor a Villages' Child for the Holidays

Every year, The Villages conducts a holiday support campaign to collect gifts for the 1,400 children served each day throughout Indiana…and each year they are humbled by the generosity of their donors and community partners. In 2011, EVERY Villages’ child and their families received some form of holiday support: 
  • The Murphy family was adopted by a local church who shopped off their wish list and got each child in the family everything they asked for!
  • K’Shawna, who recently aged out of foster care and is living on her own, received a Walmart gift card so she could buy groceries and household items. 
  • Brandon’s name was selected from a Giving Tree hosted by a local business and he opened a Nintendo DS on Christmas morning!
Today, we are asking you to help us spread holiday cheer to The Villages’ children and their families. You can make someone’s Christmas brighter by shopping from one of The Villages’ children’s wish list … by providing gifts and a meal for one of our Kinship Care families … or by purchasing a gift card to give to a Villages’ youth who is living on his or her own and needs help buying groceries, household goods, and personal items.

If you are interested in providing holiday support to the hundreds of Villages’ children in need, please contact Brandi Freeman at or call 1-800-874-6880.  We have the opportunity NOW to let these special kids know that someone cherishes them … and to show these heroic families that they will continue to have the support they need to care for their children. In many cases, it truly takes the "whole village" to raise a child, and you are a very important part of the amazing team that willingly rises to the occasion!

Empowering Families

The Villages and the Children’s Museum are celebrating the role of nurturing adults in the lives of children, and raising awareness of the importance of fostering in the newly redesigned Take Action area of the Museum’s humanities gallery space, The Power of Children: Making a Difference. "Being a partner with the Children's Museum is an invaluable opportunity for The Villages to recruit dedicated foster parents who will make a life-changing impact on the abused and neglected children The Villages is so privileged to serve", said Sharon Pierce, President and CEO.

Thanks to a generous gift from the LDI, Ltd. and the LDI 100th Anniversary Celebration Cultural Partnership Gift Program, the Children’s Museum will be opening a redesign of the Take Action area of The Power of Children: Making a Difference permanent exhibition. This exhibit shares the extraordinary stories of Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White; and engages children and families to explore issues of isolation, fear and prejudice throughout 20th century history and today.

In the newly redesigned Take Action area of the gallery three local organizations will be featured to promote mentoring (Big Brothers, Big Sisters), fostering (The Villages), and adoption (Indiana Department of Child Services). The area will encourage families to think and discuss ways to get involved in positive community action. The Villages’ provided stories of children whose lives were transformed by receiving love and stability from their foster families. "Caring adults CAN and DO make a difference in the lives of the children they serve," commented Sharon. "We hope that the stories we are sharing out foster children will inspire families to become foster parents with The Villages."

We hope you will all visit the Children’s Museum soon and take a moment to learn more about The Villages’ Foster Care Program. If you, or someone you know, is interested in fostering please have them call The Villages at 800.874.6880.