A Message from Spero CEO John Shadowens

Adversity is the truest test of one’s strength and character.  I believe that applies not just to us as individuals but to organizations as well.  This global pandemic is testing us all and I am very proud to say, that to a person, the staff of Spero has proven to be amazingly resilient and compassionate.  From the outset, I have seen our employees setting aside their own concerns and needs to focus on the well-being and support of their clients.  Whether volunteering to cover shifts for others who need to be at home, finding creative ways to engage clients over the phone or via video, to addressing complex and rapidly developing challenges, our team members have redefined professionalism and compassion in my eyes.

We are very aware that our clients need us even in the best of times. How much more are we needed now that the world is mired in isolation and uncertainty? For all of you who follow Spero on social media, pray for us, support us financially, volunteer your time, or participate in or sponsor our events, I say a heartfelt thank you!  I want you to know that our team at Spero is rising to this ‘once in a generation’ challenge as we remain a beacon of hope, help and healing in the lives of thousands of our neighbors throughout Southern Illinois. Our strength comes from your support.

John Shadowens- Spero President/CEO

Spero Amazon Wish List

We have made donating to Spero easier than ever. Just click on this Spero Amazon link for the most up-to-date items we need for various programs and families. Once on the wish list, add an item to your cart and it will be shipped directly to us. We will continue to add items as they are needed. For more information on how to support Spero Family Services visit our website.

YouthBuild Success!

We love to share success stories from our programs with the public. This week we would like to share a story of a former participant of our YouthBuild program.
Shaylyn Stover was a participant with the YouthBuild Program October 2017-April 2018. Shaylyn attained her GED in March 2018. She was in the Rend Lake College Bridge Program. When Shaylyn came to the Youthbuild program she had an unstable living situation. Her situation made it difficult to care for her child. Thankfully her family was able to take care of her child, so she could get back on her feet. Shaylyn showed great determination and did an exceptional job during her time at YouthBuild. Shaylyn’s drive and determination continues beyond YouthBuild. She is working a full time job, and has her own apartment. Shaylyn’s child is back in her care. Shaylyn also had a baby in October 2019. She is continuing to provide a stable environment for her family. Shaylyn is a strong independent women and it was a privilege to work with Shaylyn during her time at YouthBuild. Shaylyn shared some words of wisdom to help current and future YouthBuild participants.
“There will be people who tell you that you wont amount to anything. I know, I did, but I always remember two quotes.”
“When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom, or criticize you, remember they’re telling you their story, not yours.”
-Cynthia Occelli
“The future belongs to those who believe in the future of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
“Don’t listen to the haters. You got this!”
If you or someone you know are interested in our YouthBuild program, visit sperofs.org/YouthBuild or call 618/533-5288 or 618/242-6723.
They are accepting applications until March 2nd for the next cohort, so now is a perfect time to get started!
#YouthBuild #EarnAsYouLearn

Pause, Ponder, and Pray

Pause: Breathe in deeply, feeling your breath spread through your body. Breathe out, and relax. Repeat. Repeat.

Ponder: Many people hate to ask others for help, having a strong “I can do it on my own” mentality. It is difficult when we have to rely on someone else during illness or injury, a new baby, a new job.

At times like these it’s important to let go of feeling that we should be able to do it all by ourselves and accept the help of others. Too often we make things worse by trying to do more than we should or by slipping into a feeling of uselessness. It does take strength and insight to accept that we, just like every other human being, have limitations.

Actually though, a deep feeling of gratitude can develop as we ask for and accept help. We can learn aspects of God’s heart through others that we simply can’t learn alone. Accepting our limitations leads to humility, gratitude, and a deeper understanding of being human; which enables us to be that much more compassionate in the world.

Pray: Where or how do you need help? Have you considered the possibility that God is trying to help you through others? Talk to God about this.

 

It is foolish to be too confident. Those who ask for advice are wise and will escape disaster.     Proverbs 28:26

Spero Counseling and Wellness Center offering Play Therapy for children

Play Therapy? What is it? Play is essential to human growth, development, learning and cultivating relationships. Play therapy is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges. Professionals therapeutically use play to help clients better process their experiences and develop more effective strategies for managing their worlds. This can be used for clients who have behavioral issues caused by: bullying, grief/loss, divorce/abandonment, physical/sexual abuse, or crisis/trauma. It also helps those with mental health disorders such as: anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, academic/social impairment, physical/learning disabilities, and conduct disorders.
Did you also know, that our Counseling and Wellness Center now offers play therapy for children ages 3-10. For more information, contact our office at (618)242-6944, or visit us online at sperocwc.org.

Spero Staff Feature

Today’s staff feature is Amanda Flanagan, an HR Generalist here at Spero.

We wanted to share her story, because she is the epitome of what Spero stands for, and truly believes in the mission.

“I love what I do. I love recruiting. I love meeting new hires. I love my boss. I love that this job allows me to be a mom first. I’m not a social worker, but I love that I get to support the work they do in my small way.” -Amanda Flanagan
#LoveWhatYouDo
#SperoFamily
#StaffFeature

 

Pause, Ponder, & Pray

We are so happy our Rev. Deb Pollex is back with her Pause, Ponder, Pray. We have missed it! This is a great one for February!

Pause: Breathe in deeply….breathe out. Breathe in deeply…..breath out. Repeat as much as needed.

Ponder: We don’t usually think of Valentine’s Day as an explicitly Christian holiday like Easter and Christmas. But there are many passages in the Bible that specifically speak of LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.

1 John 3:18
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

The Bible is actually a whole book about Love, and since we’re entering the month of February (the month of Love), I thought it would be good to revisit a few love scriptures and then pray in a fun LOVE-ing way!

Pray: Let’s pray using the word LOVE. Grab your phone. Look at the first name in your contacts that starts with the letter L. Say a short prayer for them. Now pray for the first name in your contact list that starts with O. Now do the same for V. And now the same for E. Amen!

Brain Maladaptaion/Generational Poverty Training

Join us for the next Professional Development Training on March 25th at Spero Mt. Vernon Richview Road campus. This training will cover the topics of Brain Maladaptation and Generational Poverty. This session focuses on what happens to this vital area of the brain which is responsible for problem solving, goal setting, impulse control, and abstract thought when it is affected by trauma and/or substance use. Attendees will learn why traditional approaches to learning, discipline, and reasoning with at-risk teens often fail with this population. The session covers alternative strategies for engaging youth whose cognitive functioning has been limited by problematic life experiences as well as how the cycle of poverty affects thinking and decision-making, use of language, habits and relationships that cement a worldview and drive self-perpetuating behavior. Many professionals that work with high risk children and families from poverty, themselves grew up in the middle class. Workshop attendees will learn the fundamental differences between the mindsets and cultural shaping that inherently drive an invisible wedge between the well-intentioned middle class helper and the poverty clients we have pledged to serve. This wedge is seen in our frustration, the language we use and the lack of meaningful outcomes with clients. Purchase your tickets here.

Spero Great Egg Race 5k Announced

Spero Great Egg Race 5K run/walk and kids Bunny Hop fun run to be held March 28, 2020. Beginning at SPERO Main Campus this race takes you around the quaint neighborhoods surrounding our main campus. Over 100 men, women, and children compete in their own age category. Overall winner for each age and gender category. 1st and 2nd place awards given to 8 other age and gender categories. There is also an Easter egg hunt, vendor fair, and pancake breakfast at this fun filled event! To register for the even please go to http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=pvyuymkab&oeidk=a07egujf0gm76ddc511

#GreatEggRace2020