BY SANDY SINNETT
Spero Family Services
MT. VERNON – It’s a new beginning for the former United Methodist Children’s Home – recently renamed Spero Family Services.
The name change was made to help educate others in the community about the full range of services we provide throughout Southern Illinois. In addition to youth homes in Mt. Vernon and our newest site in Murphysboro (formerly the Masonic Children’s Home of Illinois), we operate 11 other programs and ministries to serve Southern Illinois – a few of which are: Counseling and Wellness Centers in five counties; Bright Start Childcare Center, YouthBuild of Jefferson & Marion Counties; Best Beginnings – a Nurse/family Partnership; Foster Care; Transitional Living and Independent Living Outreach programs; and Family Foundations – A free, in-home education program, and more!
Although our history as the United Methodist Children’s Home will always be part of who we are, we now begin a new chapter as Spero Family Services. It is a name that is rooted in God’s love and hope.
Spero is the Latin word for “I hope”, which speaks to our most core value and mission. It is pronounced like ‘sparrow’ (the bird) which reminds us of our individual worth and importance to our Heavenly Father.
We are grateful to say that the Lord has clearly directed our path through every step of this change –demonstrating His plan and provision for this ministry over and over again this past year. Today, we have grown to employ over 190 people working in eight counties and are now able to provide hope, help and healing to even more individuals and families who need care.
Over the last 12 months, we have opened a new Counseling & Wellness facility in West Frankfort, received contracts to expand existing programs, start a new Wraparound service, create a Mental Health Juvenile Justice program, enhanced the YouthBuild program through and Americorps grant, graduated a record number of students from Spero Academy, and have more Transitional Living students gainfully employed and moving into Independent Living Outreach than at any point in the last two years or more.
How is all this new energy and growth possible? The only explanation we have, is that the Lord hears our prayers and honors our faithfulness. We are privileged to provide these wonderful services and programs. We are also thankful to be part of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. We could not do what we do without their support and love of the churches throughout the area, along with the comradery and fellowship from our Golden Cross peer agencies. Thank you! We look forward to what the next year will bring.