For my daughter Rebekah, The Herald-News’ Herald Angels campaign is synonymous with oranges.
Hold that thought.
For about 23 years, the Herald Angels campaign has provided an opportunity for our readers to help people in their own community.
Any donation amount is welcome, helpful and needed. And it goes directly to United Way of Will County, the Herald Angels’ beneficiary for the past few years.
Why United Way?
Because United Way of Will County funds programs to help residents obtain and maintain self-sufficiency, health, education, success and safety, such as Cornerstone Services in Joliet.
Cornerstone offers employment services, residential services, support services and behavioral health services, basic skills programs and advocacy to adults, and some adolescents, with disabilities.
In addition, Cornerstone provides social and recreational activities – such as 10 different Special Olympics sports, said Matthew Lanoue, coordinator of public relations.
“Because our agency is pretty large and has just a wide array of services, we’re able to serve most people with some sort of a disability,” Lanoue said. “We provide whatever sort of service they need that will help them live and work in the community as independently as possible.”
Cornerstone serves about 1,200 people every day and helped 168 clients find jobs last year, he said.
“If you’re able to work and want to work, we can find you a job,” Lanoue said.
Another United Way agency is the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, founded by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow in 1995, said Executive Director Lisa Morel Las.
The CAC provides hope, healing and justice for children (and nonoffending family members) who have endured physical and sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect and exposure to violence, Las said.
The most urgent funding need is for an additional trauma therapist and advocate, Las said.
Currently the wait time for individual therapy is four to six weeks, although families can start attending group sessions right away, she said.
Considering that the CAC is the only place in Will County that provides specialized trauma therapy as it relates to sexual abuse, Las said,
four to six weeks is a long time for hurting children and families.
“Not only has the child been injured through the actions of someone else that can have a negative impact, but it also impacts the family,” she said. “If we don’t take care of those children and really target the healing for the actual trauma they endured, then it can continue to cycle.”
A donation to Herald Angels may also benefit:
• Cancer patients, through the Cancer Support Center in Mokena and Homewood
• People struggling with addiction find recovery through Stepping Stones Treatment Center in Joliet
• The Spanish Community Center with food, housing, clothing and jobs
• Victims of domestic abuse find safety and a new life, free from abuse through Guardian Angel Community Services in Joliet.
• Young victims who can’t speak for themselves through CASA of Will County.
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties.
• Crisis Line of Will and Grundy counties.
Back to the oranges.
About 20 years ago, when I was writing Herald Angels campaign stories, the focus of the campaign, and the stories, was on low-income seniors.
I would interview past senior recipients to discuss how the donation personally helped them.
One senior said he spent part of his donation on oranges, which he loved and could not afford to buy.
Be a blessing in someone’s life this year.
Be a Herald Angel.