Rockford Community Services
Buddy House Services – Buddy House is a resource center located in Blackhawk Courts, a public housing complex, where LSSI provides after-school activities, tutoring and snacks for children Monday through Friday. Adults also find Buddy House a quiet place of respite where they receive support, access to community resources and receive information about their incarcerated loved ones.
Many of the residents are involved with the Garden Project, a collaboration with Angelic Organics Learning Center and Heifer International that educates children and youth on how to grow their own chemical-free fruit and vegetables. The children and youth at Blackhawk Courts and other public housing sites tend the garden from spring through the fall. They share the food they have grown with their families and neighbors, and sell it at farmers markets.
Community Resources – LSSI staff members and volunteers meet with parolees at the Winnebago County Resource Intervention Center (RIC) and other community sites to connect them to resources, including employment, housing, counseling and more.
Multicultural Project – Partnering with Zion Lutheran Church, LSSI staff members and volunteers provide assistance with community integration for the growing immigrant Burmese population in Rockford.
Nutrition Support and Education – LSSI staff members and volunteers work at feeding programs and food banks to distribute healthy food and provide an organic gardening project at Buddy House and to the community through a partnership with Angelic Organic Learning Center.
Prisoner Visitation and Leadership Training – Volunteers and LSSI staff members visit individuals incarcerated in the Winnebago County Jail. They also participate in the “Lead Like Jesus” program that prepares incarcerated men and women to be leaders within their families and communities.
School Connections – At local schools, LSSI staff members and volunteers assist teachers in working with children who have been identified as having skill deficits and provide educational support for these children. They also work with school administrators to encourage parent involvement in school activities.
Storybook Project – Volunteers help incarcerated parents at Winnebago County Jail select books and make recordings of themselves reading to their children. The books and recordings are then sent to the children, along with loving messages of encouragement from their parents.
Youth Leaders – The teen-aged chemical-free gardeners, who work in the Buddy House gardens, are educated at Angelic Organics Learning Center, whose staff members train them in the community about organic gardening and are peer mentors to children receiving tutoring services at Buddy House.
Other community providers
LSSI has relationships with a number of social service providers in the community, including:
- Zion Lutheran Church, which offers two programs:
- “It’s in the Bag,” which teaches economical meal preparation, offers employment resources and provides spiritual and social support; and
- Zion Food Pantry, which provides hunger relief to the community.
- “Grounds for Life Breakfast,” which provides meals, case management and medical/dental care for individuals who are homeless.
- Patriots’ Gateway Center, which is a community facility that offers recreational activities for children; and educational classes and social services for returning citizens and their families. Patriot’s Gateway Center is also home to the Chicago International Charter School (CICS).
815/219-5231 (Buddy House)