If you’ve ever wondered if your gifts to Children’s Home & Aid truly make a difference, look no further than our Jerri Hoffmann Child & Family Center in Carpentersville. Thanks to you, lives are being changed and futures are becoming brighter.

In my role as a member of Children’s Home & Aid’s fundraising team, I recently had an opportunity to visit the Hoffmann Center. It was an unforgettable experience.

I felt the positive energy as soon as I stepped through the door. Bright and airy, the Hoffmann Center makes visitors feel welcome and at home, right away. The teachers and staff knew each and every parent and child by both first and last name, greeting them as they arrived. There were no acquaintances here, just one big extended family.

As I made my way through the hallways, I saw smiling faces and heard children laughing. It set the tone for an enriching experience of learning and growing.

In the Infant Room, Boppy pillows and babies were arranged on the floor in a circle, so they could see each other and take in everything around them. The storybook collection was impressive, and the toys were plentiful. A comfortable rocker was available should a nap or bottle feeding be in order.

I was in luck! It was a water play day, and the teachers carefully prepared each of their young charges with a layer of sunscreen and the appropriate clothing. Outside, a small play area and water fountain beckoned in the sunlight. There was a sensory play area, a short slide and plenty of outdoor toys. But most of all, there was an overwhelming sense of caring and kindness. The devotion and concern felt for each child was clearly evident.

In the Pre-K room, I was greeted with an undeniable buzz of excitement and energy. Though the day’s project featured dinosaurs, the conversation centered around back to school.

“I’m getting a Green Lantern backpack,” one little boy told me, excitedly. “I know all my letters, now I’m going to learn to read,” a little girl exclaimed to me. She added proudly, “I’m going to have homework!”

The day with these energetic youngsters wouldn’t be complete without meeting their class “pet”…a tiny caterpillar that the boys clamored around. “He’ll change into a butterfly,” one youngster explained to me, wide-eyed and breathless.

Teachers and staff at the Hoffmann Center set children up for success with love and caring, building the foundation for a lifetime of learning. I know, because I saw it with my own eyes…and felt it with my own heart. Because of your generosity, the Hoffmann Center offers an oasis of love and learning to every child passing through its doors.

We’re always happy to offer donors the chance to visit one of our child care and education centers. If you’d like to schedule a tour, please contact Lori Neumann at lneumann@childrenshomeandaid.org.