ABOUT

WHO WE ARE

Hope, Help and Healing for a Brighter Tomorrow

Welcome to Spero Family Services, formerly known as The United Methodist Children’s Home.  As you can see, we have a new name, but our faith-based mission, vision and professional services will remain the same.   Not only that, but we will soon be expanding our services to reach even more people in need around this community and many others!

FAQ's

Q:  What does Spero mean?

A:  Pronounced \spā-rō\  – Spero is Italian for “I hope.” It is part of the Latin proverb “As I breath, I hope.”

Q:  What has changed?

A:  Our name is all that has changed. Our mission, vision and values remain the same. We still provide the same quality programs and services to the children and families we serve.

Q:  Why did your name change?

A:  To better reflect the nature of the work we do and those we serve. We have ten programs throughout the area that serve children and families in many Southern Illinois communities. We believe Spero Family Services better reflects this.

Q:  Do you still have a connection to the Methodist Church?

A:  Yes! Our affiliation with the United Methodist Church and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is not changing. Our commitment to being a faith-based, Christ-centered organization is not changing.

OUR HISTORY

The original children’s home was first opened for the reception of children on February 1, 1913, with its first location in Creal Springs, IL. On February 18, 1920, one of the main buildings was destroyed by fire, and a decision was made to relocate.

The Orphan’s & Children’s Home of the Southern Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was then relocated from Creal Springs, IL to its present location in Mt. Vernon, IL in October of 1921. The Jefferson County location consisted of 25 acres of land and a large two story home known as the Tanner House. The home was built in 1866 and at the time of relocation, housed all of the children and the superintendent.

In 1923, a dormitory was built providing ward-type sleeping arrangements. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, many of the children served were orphans. By the 1960’s both the youth in residence and the facilities changed as society changed. The reduction in the number of true orphans was the most significant difference in the children referred for care. In their place, an even more tragic type of referral, became prevalent treatment for young victims of physical and sexual abuse and neglect. Housing was constructed to provide “family” type living to replace the institution setting. Through the 1970’s and 1980’s, new concepts were introduced that emphasized the need for teaching social skills and appropriate actions administered by family teachers and assistants.

With the introduction of federal assistance into the child welfare system in the early 1990’s, the focus moved from family teaching to a mental health treatment perspective. While the child welfare system reached all time high case load numbers in the mid 1990’s, the late 1990’s saw the beginning of a drastic reduction in the number of children in care throughout the State of Illinois. We responded to this trend by focusing more programming toward community needs to fulfill our mission.

In 1996 the United Methodist Children’s Home Foundation was formed to both oversee the endowment fund and assist with fund raising to supplement the Home’s revenue. A capital campaign was undertaken by the Foundation in 1998 for a two phase building project. Phase one consisting of an activity room which also served as a Chapel and office space was completed in 1999. The William H. Dennison Chapel Complex, phase two, was completed in 2003 providing a beautiful Chapel and a versatile conference room.

UMCH has continued to address the needs of children, youth and families in our communities in Southern Illinois.  During the Fiscal Year of 2015-2016, services were provided to 850 youth, individuals, and families.

In 2007, United Methodist Children’s Home was awarded “Organization of the Year” by United Methodist Association, and in 2009, UMCH was awarded the “Innovation Award” along with the prestigious “EAGLE Accreditation” by the UMA.  Recently, UMCH was also awarded “2009 Agency of the Year” by United Way of South Central Illinois and “2010 Business / Industry Award” from the Greater Egypt Regional Planning & Development Commission. In 2014, UMCH was re-accredited by EAGLE.

OUR MISSION

Spero Family Services offers hope, help, and healing by providing Christ-centered human services to meet the ever-changing needs of individuals, families, and communities.

OUR VISION

Honoring God, we envision communities where people are physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy.

OUR CORE VALUES

Christian Principles
We serve others following the example of Christ Jesus.

Integrity
We are ethical, honest, transparent and accountable.

Respect
With an open mind, we value and honor everyone as a unique child of God.

Excellence
We are committed to lasting, life improving outcomes.

Family-Focused
We believe the center of a healthy life is a rich network of love and support.

FINANCIALS

Click the button below to view our Annual and Financial Reports.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

* Ex-Officio Members with vote
** Ex-Officio Members without vote

Not pictured are: Tony Wielt, Carol Eastin, Rae Delaeo, Bunny Wolfe, Mike Morris, Dick Deitz, Rose Straeter, Dr. Steven Scott, Cheryl Settle

Ms. Lisa Price, Board Chairperson

Mr. Tony Wielt, Vice Chairperson

Ms. Carol Hamerski, Treasurer

Rev. Victor Long, Secretary

Ms. Julie Webb

Dr. Steven Scott

Mr. Gail White

Dr. John Hatton

Rev. Mark Minor

Mr. Dick Deitz

Ms. Jamie Armstrong

Ms. Brooke Guthman

Ms. Rose Straeter

Rev. Carol Lakota Eastin *

Mr. Mike Morris

Mr. Brett Hall

Ms. Jeannie Mitchell

Ms. Cheryl Settle

Ms. Rae DeLao

Ms. Bunny Wolfe *

John Shadowens **

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

Contact us about additional information or questions you may have.