Throughout 2018, we are celebrating 135 years of meeting every child, every family, where their need is greatest. Doing whatever it takes so children and families can thrive. We are proud of our legacy of meeting the changing needs of vulnerable families throughout Illinois and inspired by the children and families we serve and their stories of resilience. The stories of our staff, volunteers and supporters are building bright futures and crafting new stories for those we serve. Their passion and dedication act as a springboard to new opportunities, new connections and new successes for every child and family.

In her nearly 24 years at Children’s Home & Aid, Karan, who oversees our statewide training initiatives, has never received a call quite like the one she did in early 2017. A woman named Tiffany called Children’s Home & Aid’s Belleville office asking if someone named Karan still worked there. She said Karan was her former case manager and that she had helped Tiffany through her pregnancy and the birth of her child 18 years prior.

Karan recalls the moment she received the voicemail and immediately called Tiffany back, “It was a wonderful surprise to hear from Tiffany. I remember working with her and her son, Chris, like it was yesterday.” Tiffany updated Karan on her life. Since their days together nearly 20 years before, Tiffany put herself through college with the help of her sorority sisters, who watched Chris so she could attended classes; and after, graduate school.

Now living in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with a career in neonatology, Tiffany reminded Karan of the letter that Karan had written to her son so many years before.

When Karan began at Children’s Home & Aid in 1994, she worked as a case manager in youth services, primarily with pregnant and parenting teens. In the late 1990s, Tiffany, 16 and pregnant, was connected with Children’s Home & Aid after Tiffany’s mother found out that she was expecting. At the time, Tiffany attended a behavioral school in Belleville and was at risk of being locked out by her family.

Karan began providing home visits to Tiffany, connecting her with prenatal services, and working with her at school and with her family on anger management issues.

When Tiffany went into labor, Karan met her at the hospital and stayed with her until after the baby was delivered. “Tiffany had a very quick delivery so her mom and I were the first people to see the baby after he was born. We were already so close anyway, but Chris’ birth sealed the deal on our relationship,” Karan recalls.

Two years after Chris’ birth, Karan joined Tiffany and her family at Tiffany’s high school graduation. “I was so proud to watch Tiffany walk across the stage that day, knowing that she and Chris had a bright future ahead of them. Afterward, I congratulated Tiffany and handed her a card to give to Chris on his 18th birthday,” Karan adds.

Karan and Tiffany are happy to be reconnected and keep in touch despite living in different states. In January of this year, Tiffany and Chris came back to the Belleville area for a visit and met up with Karan for the first time in over a decade. “Both Tiffany and I cried. It was amazing to see Chris, who is now a very polite, very intelligent young man. When he gave me a hug, he told me that he’s heard about me his whole life, which was the most touching part of this entire experience,” Karan offers.