Giving "Beyond Our Walls"
Giving "Beyond Our Walls"
Our "Beyond Our Walls" Collections
Once a month, funds identified as “Beyond Our Walls” (BOW) are donated to a charity or social service project that our Social Justice Team has identified as being in harmony with our mission to be “…a force for compassionate social justice.”
Click here to read recent letters from some of the organizations and causes we support.
This Month's Recipient
The Beyond Our Walls cause for January is Bridge Communities. The mission of Bridge Communities is to transition homeless families to self-sufficiency by working with partners to provide mentoring, housing, and supportive services. The Bridge program of housing, mentoring, employment and education counseling focuses families towards a goal of permanent housing and self-sufficiency. The problems Bridge Communities addresses are homelessness, underemployment, unemployment, skill deficiencies, lack of education, parenting issues and debt management. The Bridge program helps families improve employment status, therefore increasing earned income, reduce debt and improve their credit rating, learn how to better utilize resources through life-skills mentoring, improve children’s educational opportunities and secure permanent housing upon completion of the program. The goal of the two-year program is to enable families to achieve self sufficiency, sustain permanent housing, and to break the cycle of poverty within the family unit. Bridge Communities has helped more than 800 families achieve self-sufficiency and permanent housing.
This year UUSG’s donation will go to the Bridge Communities Founders fund that that prepares Bridge teens for independence with college preparation workshops, career assessment, ACT and SAT tutoring and scholarships.
Please give generously by the end of the month! Write checks to "UUSG" with "BOW" in the memo line. You can also give through Paypal.
In December 2018 we collected $1,177 for our Holiday Lights Fund which supports the Literacy Volunteers of Fox Valley Trivia Bee, and provides gifts to the YRUU Habitat for Humanity Family. We also raised $1,088 at our Christmas Eve Services for the UUSG “Make A Difference Fund” and the Humanitarian Service Project’s Senior Gift Bags".
In November 2018 we collected $781.00 for the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles, and $798 for the Blinded Veterans Association. The Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles is home to about 100 teenage boys who are involved in the juvenile justice system. Some are there for a few weeks, while some are there for years. The Center does include a school and some rehabilitative services, but life is fairly bleak. For over 20 years, UUSG has provided a holiday party in December and has purchased items ranging from things like toothpaste and shampoo to a popcorn machine or computers for the library. The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) came into existence shortly after WWII. It was important in encouraging the government to establish the first Blind Rehabilitation Center at Hines VA in Illinois. Blind rehabilitation is necessary not only for war injuries but alsofor treatment of impaired vision due to a myriad of diseases. The BVA serves as an advocate for programs in lobbying congress as for the individual veteran who is seeking service connected disability. Recent war injuries have increased the need for services with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) leading to accompanying vision deficits. In one study of 46 combat veterans, the blast injury itself led to 43% receiving eye injury without penetrating wounds. In addition, many TBI patients have accompanying hearing loss. The BVA has for over sixty years been advocating for the veteran as he comes home from war with enduring visual impairments.
In October 2018 we collected $595.00 for the Humanitarian Service Project and $585 for CROP Walk. The HSP Senior Gift Bag project supplies area seniors with hygiene projects, facial tissues, and other special gifts that meet their basic and emotional needs. CROP Hunger Walks help support hunger-fighting development efforts and are community-wide events that raise fund to end hunger at home and around the world.
In September 2018 we collected $1,096.50 for Lazarus House. Lazarus House provides safe shelter, food and a range of support services for men, women and children in need of help in St Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Western Kane county. In addition to shelter and food, Lazarus provides case management that helps people identify benefits that they are eligible to receive from other social service agencies in our area that offer support for employment, food pantries, low income housing, medical care, mental health counseling, addiction counseling and more.
In August 2018 we collected $961 for the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The NIFB provides nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships. It provides meals and hope to more than 71,500 people each week. Northern Illinois Food Bank has received Charity Navigator’s 4-Star rating since 2003 for its fiscal responsibility. Ninety-seven percent of the Food Bank’s resources go to programs that feed the hungry. The Food Bank can stretch every $1 donated into $8 worth of groceries!
In July 2018 we collected $1,352 for RAICES and the ACLU. RAICES is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Texas. The ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project is dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against them. Using targeted impact litigation, advocacy, and public outreach, the ACLU protects the rights and liberties of immigrants.
In June 2018 we collected $1,390 for the Jane Adeny Memorial School for Girls in rural Kenya. JAMS provides an education “good enough for the richest and open to the poorest.” Some of the students have parents who can pay at least some of their school fees; however, most JAMS students would not be in school if not for the support of generous donors. Some of these students are orphans, others desperately poor. By addressing the financial barriers that would normally keep girls from attending a secondary school, JAMS is answering the recommendation by the Global Campaign for Education to address financial issues to allow for greater gender equity in education.
In May 2018 we collected $860 for The Human Library of the Fox Valley. The Human Library of the Fox Valley is a nonprofit that engages the public in conversations about equality, diversity, and human rights, with the goals of reducing tension and violence and increasing social cohesion. Organized completely by volunteers, human libraries are events modeled after traditional libraries where visitors check out a range of titles. The difference is that ‘books’ are people, and ‘reading’ is a conversation.
In April 2018 we collected $1,427 for the Conservation Foundation. The Conservation Foundation is a non-profit land and river protection organization founded in 1972. With the support of more than 3,500 members and 500 volunteers The Conservation foundation preserves and restores open space and natural lands, protects rivers and watersheds, and promotes stewardship of the environment in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties. Learn more at http://www.theconservationfoundation.org/ .
In March 2018 we collected $1,023 for Youth Outlook, which is the first social service agency in Illinois solely dedicated to the support of LGBTQ youth. They work in 6 counties in the Chicago suburbs, offering drop-in centers for youth, parent support, and community education. The newest drop-in center was reopened at UUSG this fall after a summer break and is growing along with the new centers added in additional areas this last year. UUSG has proudly supported this work for years and the outreach has grown with our help.
In February 2018 we collected $2,075 for the YRUU and Young Adult Habitat trips! Thank you for your generous giving.
In January 2018 we collected $1,388 for Bridge Communities. The mission of Bridge Communities is to transition homeless families to self-sufficiency by working with partners to provide mentoring, housing, and supportive services. Bridge Communities provides free transitional housing to 131 homeless DuPage County families each year. During the two years that each family spends in the Bridge program, they are able to save money, learn budgeting skills, and obtain better employment, so they can live self-sufficiently once they graduate.
In December 2017 we collected $1,222 for the "Make a Difference"/MAD Fund, $1,000 for the Humanitarian Service Project (HSP) Senior Gift Bags, $400 for the Literacy Volunteers of Fox Valley Trivia Bee, and also provided funds to two YRUU Habitat for Humanity Families.
In November 2017 we collected $1,449 for the St. Charles organization called “Be A Hero To A Hero.” They provide up to 800 Christmas stockings filled with socks, a t-shirt, and toiletries for disabled and infirm vets at the big VA nursing home in Manteo, various nursing homes in Geneva and St. Charles, and many homebound vets in our area.
In October 2017 we collected $1,170 for Mutual Ground. Mutual Ground Shelter provides services in Kane and Kendall Counties for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. They provide shelter and services to approximately 1500 women and children each year. Their goal is to empower victims to make their own decisions when provided support, encouragement, and information. Their work has been severely hampered by deep budget cuts from the State of Illinois.
In September 2017 we collected $975 for Lazarus House in St. Charles. Lazarus House provides safe shelter, food and a range of support services for men, women and children in need of help in St Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Western Kane county. In addition to shelter and food, Lazarus provides case management that helps people identify benefits that they are eligible to receive from other social service agencies in our area that offer support for employment, food pantries, low income housing, medical care, mental health counseling, addiction counseling and more.
In August 2017 we collected $570.00 for the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The NIFB provides nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships. It provides meals and hope to more than 71,500 people each week. Northern Illinois Food Bank has received Charity Navigator’s 4-Star rating since 2003 for its fiscal responsibility. Ninety-seven percent of the Food Bank’s resources go to programs that feed the hungry. The Food Bank can stretch every $1 donated into $8 worth of groceries! Through support such as ours, the NIFB was able to provide a record 65,000,000 meals in Fiscal Year 2017.
In July 2017 we collected $1,050 for Re-Member and Pottawatomie Habitat for Humanity. Re-Member is a nonprofit organization which works with the Oglala Lakota Nation on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to improve the quality of reservation life through relationships, shared resources, and volunteer services. Each year Re-Member welcomes 1,200 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to the Pine Ridge Reservation for week-long work projects with a strong emphasis on cultural immersion. Working with the Re-Member staff, volunteers complete various projects across the Reservation, while learning about the culture and history of the Lakota people. Pottawatomie Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of the world-wide organization bringing people together to build homes, communities & hope. The vision of H4H is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Through shelter we empower! H4H partners with people all over the world to help them build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With our support, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, & independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families.
In June 2017, we collected $1,001.00 for Jane Adeny Memorial Secondary School (JAMS) for girls in rural Kenya.
In May 2017, we collected $621.00 for The Human Library. The Human Library of the Fox Valley has partnered with local volunteers from traditionally marginalized groups, human ‘books,’ to create safe, free opportunities for ‘readers’ to better understand those with whom they share their communities, during 1:1 conversations lasting up to 30 minutes. We’re challenging prejudice, one conversation at a time. Learn more at humanlibraryofthefoxvalley.org/
In April 2017, we collected $1,116.40 for The Conservation Foundation’s work in Kane County to increase individual and group conservation actions with emphasis in the Fox River corridor. TCF also supports the land preservation needs of Kane County park districts and the Forest Preserve, as needed. See theconservationfoundation.org.
In March 2017, we collected $1,143.00 for Youth Outlook which is the only agency in the DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb counties of Illinois dedicated solely to serving LGBTQ youth. In order to accomplish its mission, it provides wellness education on a variety of topics, leadership development, and social space. It also conducts community education programs in order to change the social atmosphere that imperils LGBTQ youth in the first place. Youth Outlook has four drop-in centers, one each in Naperville, DeKalb, Aurora, and here at UUSG for the tri-cities. Groups meet every week, and provide a safe social setting for youth to meet other LGBTQ teens and talk about a variety of topics.
In February 2017, we collected $1,762.00 for our church's active involvement with Habitat for Humanity. Our church has supported Habitat for Humanity for many years. At present, we have two groups that travel to out-of-state locations to work on H4H houses. In 2017, the Young Adult group will travel to Iowa in June and the YRUU will travel to Minnesota in July. The donations will be used to support the trips and as contributions to the local chapters with which we work.
In January 2017, we collected $1,184.50 for Bridge Communities. The mission of Bridge Communities is to transition homeless families to self-sufficiency by working with partners to provide mentoring, housing, and supportive services. Bridge Communities provides free transitional housing to 131 homeless DuPage County families each year. During the two years that each family spends in the Bridge program, they are able to save money, learn budgeting skills, and obtain better employment, so they can live self-sufficiently once they graduate.
In December 2016, we collected $1,761 for our Holiday Light Fund, which goes to Elba's Kids and our Habitat for Humanity families. Our Christmas Eve Collection raised $2,330 for the Make a Difference Fund, and $805 for the HSP Senior Gift Bag Project.
In November, we collected $886 for Be A Hero To A Hero and $793 for the Illinois Youth Center. Be A Hero To A Hero provides up to 800 Christmas stockings filled with socks, a t-shirt, and toiletries for disabled and infirm vets at the VA nursing home in Manteo, various nursing homes in Geneva and St. Charles, and also many homebound vets in our area. The BOW collection on November 20th and 27th funded gift bags for all 150 of the young men at IYC and a party for 30 of these young men who are most in need of visitors.
In October 2016, we collected $1,006 for the Humanitarian Service Project.
In September 2016, we collected $1,170 for Lazarus House. Lazarus House is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization serving persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
In August 2016, we collected $925 for the Northern Illinois Food Bank. NIFB is the source of nutritious food, innovative feeding programs, and hope for more than 71,000 people each week. NIFB is a nonprofit organization with a goal of solving hunger in their 13-county service area, NIFB relies on community partners like UUSG to contribute the time and money needed to see that no one goes hungry in northern Illinois. Please contribute and contact Kevin Beyer at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join our monthly NIFB volunteer team.
In July 2016, we collected $1,212 for the local Pottawatomie Habitat for Humanity. Pottawatomie completed its first home in 1997 and has completed a total of thirteen Habitat for Humanity homes, including their most recent project on 13th Avenue in St. Charles.
In June 2016, we collected $706 for room, board, clothing, essentials, and tuition for Varon Amondi Abonyo, a student at the Jane Adeny Memorial Secondary School (JAMS) for girls in rural Kenya. Like many of the students there, Varon is an orphan from an impoverished family. UUSG has already contributed money to pay for her first two years at the school, and continued fundraising can assure her that she can complete her education!
In May 2016, we collected $1,020 for Mutual Ground Shelter in Aurora, as well as an assortment of baby and childcare items. Mutual Ground Shelter provides services in Kane and Kendall Counties for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. They provide shelter and services to approximately 1500 women and children each year. Their goal is to empower victims to make their own decisions when provided support, encouragement, and information. Their work has been severely hampered by deep budget cuts from the State of Illinois.
In April 2016, we collected over $580 for the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership (FREP), was formed by Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) with the goal of preserving and protecting the natural, economic, and recreational resources of the Fox River Watershed. The vision is to balance needs, users and resources while preserving and enhancing the health of the river. One of FREP’s goals is to designate the Fox River as part of the National Water Trails System, a single, cohesive network of recreational waterways.
In March 2016, we collected $876 for Youth Outlook, the only agency in the DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb counties of Illinois that is dedicated solely to serving LGBTQ youth. They provide wellness education, leadership development, and social space at four area drop-in centers. They are also working to change the social atmosphere that imperils LGBTQ youth in the first place.
In February 2016, we collected $1,051 for the first Young Adult Habitat for Humanity trip. which will take place May 25th-May 29th, 2016. The trip is open to members of the UUSG community ages 18-30. For this first trip, they will be traveling to Boone County Iowa to frame a house for a family of 8. They will only be taking 20 people for this first trip so if you are interested in going or would like more information, please contact Lily Phillips. We also collected for our high schooler's Habitat for Humanity trip; final amount TBA.
In January 2016, we donated $1,381.40 our partnership with the DuPage UU Church, sponsoring and mentoring a new Bridge Communities family. Kirsten is a single mother in her early 30's with a daughter Zylah, nearly 2. Kirsten has had good jobs in payroll/accounting in the past but was laid off in 2009 from a job that was very stressful and contributed to illnesses which have continued to plague her. Thanks to the $1,000/month sponsor commitment, they have moved into a Bridge apartment, and Kirsten is taking full advantage of employment resources including job readiness classes, skills assessment, and wardrobe acquisition to boost her confidence in presenting herself well at job interviews.
Thank you to everyone who contributed our collections in December 2015 and on Christmas Eve to support various social justice causes. We raised $5,319, which went to provide a happy new year to “Elba’s Kids,” the Pottawatomie Habitat for Humanity family, the Habitat family whose house was built by our YRUU youth last summer, the Humanitarian Service Project Seniors Project, and the UUSG MAD (“Make a Difference”) Fund.
In November 2015, our “Beyond Our Walls” collections, totaling $2,234.53, supported the VFW National Home for Children, a 90-year-old, 600-acre facility located in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The facility consists of 53 buildings which include 40 "cottages" for families, an administration building, community center, library, museum, health & education building, fire barn, child care center, Scout cabin, and various other buildings. The Home helps active-duty veterans and their families, families of deployed service members, and descendants of veterans.
In August 2015, our “Beyond Our Walls” collections, totaling $519, supported the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program (tolerance.org), which works through educators to nurture a new generation that is more accepting of difference, more engaged in social justice, and more aware of themselves as global citizens with the capacity to work together for a fairer world. In addition, we sent $807 to UU Military Ministry Great Lakes.
In July 2015, our “Beyond Our Walls” collections, totaling $1,237, supported the Jane Adeny Memorial School (JAMS) for girls in rural Kenya, which admits indigenous young women, many of whom are orphans, and some of whom have been rescued from experiencing female genital mutilation and marriage before the age of 10.