2021 Fall Newsletter


“My name is Jocelyn. As a child, I attended Onward House when it was located at 600 N Leavitt. I’ve had family members who have worked for the agency and I currently have my two-year-old son attending Onward House. It has truly been a positive experience. Onward House has helped us in so many ways. They provide childcare for low-income families, they have support services that help with pretty much everything.

They have even helped us find a therapist for my daughter. Onward House has played a crucial role in my son’s development. The improvements that I’ve noticed in my child’s vocabulary and speech are significant. His social skills have also improved. The teachers, learning environment, and security are top-notch. Safety is a priority at Onward House, and that makes me comfortable leaving my child at school.

I’ve been impressed with the level of communication from the teachers and staff which makes this whole experience that much better. Onward House has given us the opportunity to have our children in a great learning environment. For that, I’ll forever be grateful!” – Jocelyn, Parent

“My family and I give thanks to Onward House. Also to our teacher Carmen, Santia, as well as the supervisor. Thank you for your help.

A month and a half ago we moved from Arizona, we arrived with a relative, my aunt, she helped us. She gave us a small room, we five slept in it, she also helped us financially and food for a month. Thank God we found an apartment where we had no furniture, no bed, no dining room. Thanks to you we were able to get help, we are very happy and happy we already have a place to sleep and eat, my children are super happy to get things. We thank you for helping families in need.”


Letter from the Executive Director


Thank you. Because of you, your support, connections, volunteerism, and donations, Onward House remains a resilient organization that continues to grow.

In my last newsletter, I outlined our plans to expand in the area of health. I am proud to say that we have made progress toward that goal. In August we worked with our new partner CommunityHealth to host a well-attended health fair that provided vaccinations and many health resources to community members.

We are continuing to strengthen our support for children with special needs. We recently hired Dr. Kimberly Thier as our Director of Special Education, with a goal to build a program that streamlines Special Education services for parents and teachers and ensures that children are provided support in a timely manner.

The Special Education initiative is one of many expansions coming to Onward House in the next few years. We are beginning to undergo a strategic plan that will lay a roadmap for the next 3 – 5 years. One thing we know is that we are running out of space! The expansion of our Early Childhood Education program, Immigrant and Refugee Welcoming Center, CommunityHealth clinic, and food pantry have pushed Onward House to use every square inch of our facilities to capacity.

We look forward to the exciting challenges that come with growth and hope that you will continue to support the Onward House staff as we expand. We invite you to come by for a tour, volunteer at our food pantry, make connections, and support our fundraising and awareness initiatives.

Thank you for your support,

Mario F. García
Executive Director
(773) 622-3215 | mfgarcia@onwardhouse.org

3 Questions with Our Support Team

How did you choose to be a support worker at OH?

Roxana: I chose to be a Support Worker at ONH because I felt in love with its mission to help communities in need, especially Belmont Cragin which is a neighborhood with a growing Latino/Hispanic community that is looking for better opportunities and access to resources available for all; I believe I can contribute to the mission and make good social impact by supporting those in need and help them to achieve their personal and professional goals through the programs and services provided by the Illinois Welcoming Center at ONH.

Rosemary: I started working as a home visitor after college for 3 years. After 3 years I did a teen program with the state but decided my passion was working in Head Start. I applied to ONH as a family support worker to continue my passion in Head Start. My goal was to continue to service families in need and advocate a free program for the community.

How are you clients navigating the pandemic? what are their needs?

Rosemary: Families are slowing adjusting on returning back to work and enrolling their children to Head Start. Most of their needs are job resources such as resume building and job fairs. Overall, their needs are providing their children a more “normal” routine again but with health protocols.

Roxana: Most of my clients were impacted by this pandemic, their finances were affected, and their mental-emotional health was affected as well. Consequently, it has been hard for families to find the right resources they need especially when there is too much misleading information and SCAMS out there. Most of the needs presented in our clients are economical, educational and nutritional. Here is where ONH plays an essential role by providing those resources to families with children and people in need.  

What is something you’d like to do in the next year for your clients? How do you see your positive growing?

Roxana: I would like to expand the current Support Services department by bringing the Public Benefits program and adding more educational programs such as nutrition, family budget and personal finances, and GED in Spanish. I’m optimistic to see a huge expanding to my current department this upcoming year.

Rosemary: I hope to increase family engagement activities for our families especially male involvement. My position will continue to grow by learning from others interests, customs and cultures. Currently, I am in the process of looking for Latino Organizations to join so that I may network with others in Chicago. I hope this allows me to have further opportunities to bring back to Onward House.