Almost Home Kids provides short-term, community-based transitional and respite care in a home-like setting for children with complicated health needs.
The organization’s 120-day transitional care program bridges hospital and home for a child who is clinically ready for discharge from a hospital yet has factors that must be considered for a safe transfer. Respite care is a short-term stay (24 hours to two weeks) for a child who has medical complexities and/or may be technologically assisted.
Licensed by the Department of Public Health, Almost Home Kids brings together medical professionals, recreational volunteers, community providers, sponsors and donors, family and friends, and corporate and civic partners in serving and caring for the children.
Skender Foundation learned of the organization when an Almost Home Kids board member recommended it as a good fit with the foundation’s efforts to enhance education and wellness in Chicago. The board member works for an architectural firm that has a relationship with Skender Construction.
A personally guided tour of the facility drew Skender Foundation representatives even closer to the Almost Home Kids mission.
“We were intrigued by the site,” said Skender Foundation Chair and President Cheryl Skender. “We were especially interested in their high level of treatment in such a skilled, non-institutional setting. We saw how children were living and being served there. It was very touching to see it firsthand.”
Together, Skender Foundation and its Builders’ Board involved themselves with Almost Home Kids by committing to fulfill its annual holiday wish list for toys for the children. Almost Home Kids’ two facilities—in Chicago and in Naperville, Illinois—have provided the foundation with the lists each year since 2013.
Each list is placed as tags with the children’s gift requests and personal bios on a ‘giving tree’ at Skender Construction. Staff members choose gifts to purchase for the kids by taking the tags from the tree. A volunteer committee from the foundation then personally delivers the gifts to Almost Home Kids in attractive felt bags. To date, Skender Foundation has fulfilled 100% of each year’s wish list.
Almost Home Kids also provides the foundation with a general wish list that includes other items, such as an Apple® iPad®, for longer-term application and use at the two facilities.
“Skender Foundation’s gifts help us make the holidays even more meaningful for the children,” Almost Home Kids President & Executive Director Debbie Grisko said. “Many of the kids are living with challenging health conditions or difficult home situations. The toys bring them joy when they need it, and the impact of that resonates well past the season.”
Grisko finds the spirit that drives Skender Foundation just as inspiring.
“What is so special about Skender Foundation is that you can see how much they feel connected to something worthwhile, especially when it involves a community effort,” she said. “Giving is receiving to them. They have a vibrant sense of social commitment and responsibility. We appreciate them and hope our bond continues to strengthen.”