10 for 10 Anniversary Projects

It’s hard to believe, but the Community Foundation of Grundy County (formerly the Morris Community Foundation) is celebrating our 10th anniversary this year!


What started in 1999 with the reclamation of the old Com Ed property on Illinois Avenue (now Canal Port Park) has expanded into much more than just planting flowers along the canal.  To highlight how far we’ve come, we are introducing “10 for 10 – Ten impact projects to celebrate the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary.”


For the remaining ten months of 2009, we are highlighting one of our projects each month.  Our project for March is “Jump Start.”


In the early days of our research into the status of early childhood care & education in Grundy County, we were introduced to a great program run through the Education Service Network (ESN).  Jump Start provides in-home services to at-risk families with young children ages pre-natal through five.


While in the home, Jump Start staff work with both the parent and the young child to promote child development and improve parenting skills so both parent and child are able to build those skills to last a lifetime.  Research shows that early intervention is key to preparing children for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning.


However, as of a couple of years ago, this program was only being offered in Will County.  In 2008 the Community Foundation of Grundy County gave an incubator grant to ESN to accept a few Grundy families into the Jump Start program.


The initial program was a great success and the need for this service was quickly apparent, so in 2009 the Foundation has fully funded Jump Start to provide these services in Grundy County on a full-time basis.


The Jump Start coordinator is Barbara Terhall and the direct service staff is Stacy Clauson.  Both ladies do a fabulous job with the program and should be commended for their high levels of both energy and professionalism!


Jump Start works with a wide range of caregivers and children, including teen parents, single-parent families, two-parent families, and grandparents raising grandchildren.  Referrals can be made at any age, including pre-natal.  Stacy is often called to the hospital to meet with newborn families who need interaction before the baby goes home.


Jump Start staff visits with families in the home or at other locations that encourage this one-on-one interaction, such as the hospital or Premiere Academy.  In addition, Jump Start hosts two group events each month to give their families the opportunity for fellowship, learning and peer interaction.


For more information about Jump Start, to make a referral, or to access their services for yourself or a loved one, please call Jump Start at 815-941-3191 or visit their listing on https://www.815941HELP.com under “Children & Youth” “Ages 0-3.”