Stories

  • 'We're here...to do anything that needs doing'
    The first-ever Youth Service Day put teens from the ELCA's Metro Chicago Synod to work cleaning and painting one of the LSSI's Head Start sites, while they learned about the importance and joys of serving people close to home.
  • A Great Home for Our Family
    Washington Place, a group home for Prader-Willi syndrome, helps residents with the genetic disorder lead independent, full lives.
  • Caregivers: In the Same Boat But Not Alone
    LSSI offers support groups for caregivers to help them deal with the problems and stress they face while caring for their loved ones. Through groups, caregivers share their experiences and get connected to community resources.
  • Head Start: Making a World of Difference
    At LSSI's Head Start sites, children from low-income families gain a critical leg up in preparing for the day they enter kindergarten. Emphasizing school readiness and a holistic approach, the program involves the whole family.
  • Love Gives the Power to Change a Child's Life
    Foster parents can make an amazing difference in children's lives, helping them grow and develop. In Illinois, there is an especially urgent need for individuals or couples who are willing to foster children with special needs.
  • Jovon’s Joyful Adoption Day
    While every adoption is special, the court proceeding at which Brad and Cindy Snoke of Groveland, Ill., became the legal parents of 11-year-old Jovon was particularly joyful and extraordinary by anyone’s standards.
  • Seniors Find Love, Care and Independence at Joshua Arms
    Sometimes love comes when it’s least expected. A case in point. When Mary Ann Bobak visited Joshua Arms, a senior housing program of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) in Joliet, four years ago, she was just looking for a change....
  • Making Life Easier for Caregivers
    When Marietta Hagewood, 88, had a stroke in 2010, her grandson, Thomas Stein, left a good job in Houston, packed up his apartment and moved back to Peoria to care for her.
  • Sprouting Hope at Buddy House
    Walking through rows of vegetables and fruits planted by residents of the Blackhawk Housing Complex, Ruth Fairchild can feel, breathe and see the magic two community gardens have created in the southeast Rockford neighborhood she serves.
  • Where the Church Meets the Public Square
    “Life is a series of choices and decisions, and our choices do shape how we feel about ourselves and where we’re headed in life. The choices are difficult, and we know that God does understand that.”
  • Helping Returning Citizens Grow Beyond the Past
    Ernest Hale knows something about how things grow, perhaps because he was a late bloomer himself. Now a 49-year-old father of five, Hale leans back thoughtfully in his chair as he recounts his early days on Chicago’s West Side, where he failed to not
  • Marvin Sykes: Stepping Up For Kids
    “Head Start is the best start. It’s our chance to make a difference in our children’s lives,” says Marvin Sykes. And for the past year, he’s been working to reach out to Head Start parents with that message.
  • Support Along the Road to Self-Reliance
    Jackie and Rodney are both Peoria-area single parents with very different stories, but each credits the Single Parent Program offered by Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) with helping them make life-altering changes on their path to a bette
  • One Mother’s Determination
    Hard work, persistence and help from LSSI enable a woman struggling with domestic violence and drug abuse issues to reunite with her daughter, who was placed in foster care.
  • ‘… Find Me a Place to Volunteer’
    As part of her participation in D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) at Gemini Junior High School, 12-year-old Patricia Schwed of Niles had to earn community service hours. A friend suggested volunteering at a nursing home, but Patricia – and h
  • Hello, I love you
    The last time 9-year-old Najee saw his father, Dustin, snow blanketed just about everything in Rockford.
  • An Adoption Journey Home
    Jody and Rose Baker decided to go home, to Rose's village in the Philippines, to expand their family.
  • Keeping Families Intact
    In the midst of turmoil, one southern Illinois family finds help through Intact Family Services. The program works with families in their homes, keeping children out of the child welfare system.
  • Linking Seniors to Resources
    Social service coordinators link residents of LSSI’s senior housing programs to services and benefits to help them live fully and independently.
  • LSSI Group Homes: A Place to Develop
    The goal of LSSI's group homes for people with developmental disabilities is to provide a living environment that is structured caring and also nurtures residents' independence.
  • Building Homes: Rebuilding Lives
    Building Homes:Rebuilding Lives, a partnership between LSSI, the Illinois Department of Corrections, Habitat for Humanity and School District 428, offers inmates the opportunity to give back to the community.
  • In the Comfort of Home
    Intouch Services in Peoria, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary, makes home care services affordable, enabling seniors to stay in their homes.
  • Keeping Adults at Home
    Intouch Adult Day Services provides older adults with the opportunity to maintain their residences in the community while providing peace of mind for their loved ones.
  • Making Their Own Wings
    Collaboration between staff members and clients enhances LSSI's innovative and effective mental health programs.
  • Putting the Pieces Together
    Lifebooks helps children in foster care preserve their life stories, embrace their strengths and make sense of loss, trauma and change.
  • Second Family: A Legacy of Hope
    For 12 years, Second Family helped HIV-infected women make permanency plans for their children and find support and a sense of community.
  • The Hands of Head Start
    At LSSI's six Head Start sites in Chicago, parent volunteers help out, providing invaluable support to teachers and staff and enriching students' Head Start experience.
  • A Positive Influence
    LSSI’s School-Based Program, offered at 15 public schools in north central Illinois, provides a variety of education and support services to students, freeing them to focus their energy on schoolwork.
  • A Spirit of Caring
    New awards highlight special volunteers throughout the state for their unique contributions to LSSI's work.
  • Adoption Day: Sharing The Joy
    In the late August, when Chris and Sophie officially became members of Shaun and Kim Bill's family, their loved ones and friends were there to celebrate.
  • All About Gratitude
    Graduates of the Men's Residence West, an LSSI substance abuse program, give back and help others nurture their sobriety.
  • Connecting With a New Life
    Incarcerated women frequently lack access to services that allow them to successfully re-enter the community, but LSSI’s Connections program is there to support and empower them and their families.
  • Corporate Lawyer to Cruise Director
    After taking early retirement last year, Scott Gierke began work as a volunteer activity coordinator with Journeys, a community-based program for adults with mental illness in Chicago.
  • Detox Opens the Door
    Sometimes the first opportunity to engage people in treatment, LSSI’s Detox program brings hope to those struggling with alcoholism and other drug addictions.
  • Dreams Do Come True
    In May, people gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the culmination of a dream called Shady Oaks, a program for adults with developmental disabilities.
  • Foster Parenting
    There's nothing better than to be a foster parent, says a southern Illinois woman who adopted a special needs foster child.
  • Healing Families: A Community Effort
    Family to Family works to keep children in their neighborhoods whenever possible and to speed reunification of families separated by abuse and neglect.
  • Home Is Where Your Heart Is
    The P.A. Peterson Center for Health offers a wide range of living options for seniors, as well as services to the greater Rockford community.
  • Internships at LSSI
    Eager to learn and contribute, students benefit from serving LSSI clients through the agency's numerous internships. And LSSI programs benefit, too.
  • The Womens Network
    The Women's Network, founded 25 years ago, has grown to be a group of more than 80 women who pool their collective skills and enthusiasm to make a difference in the lives of the people served by the agency.
  • When I Was In Prison
    Thursday Ministry volunteers reach out to Dixon Correctional Center inmates, bringing love and spiritual inspiration.
  • When You Need Extra Help
    In Rockford, LSSI offers a variety of living and care options for seniors. Jeannette Muehlemeyer and Shirley Lundgren, who live full lives at Peterson Meadows and P.A. Peterson Center for Health, receive daily assistance tailored to their needs.
  • A Refugee's Story
    A Vietnamese refugee finds a connection with other people in recovery at LSSI's Intensive Outpatient Group in Chicago.