A Night to Imagine: Hoyleton Honors Local Volunteers for their Partnerships

Hoyleton President and CEO Chris Cox (right) with the Waters family.

Imagine a world where every youth has the opportunity to thrive. At the 2024 Hoyleton Honors Night, held Feb. 23, themed “Imagine,” Hoyleton Youth & Family Services in Fairview Heights, Ill., took steps towards making dreams imagined into reality. The event was an extraordinary celebration of progress, partnership, and potential. 

This year, Hoyleton recognized several local people and organizations, including two UCC churches, during its honors night.

Ameren Illinois was recognized with the Community Connection honors. Ameren Illinois’ corporate commitment to enriching the communities where its employees live and work is evidenced by their partnership with Hoyleton.

Ameren Illinois also was recognized.

One of its standout initiatives involved its invaluable contribution in preparing one of our therapeutic foster homes for a new family. This endeavor not only ensured a welcoming and safe environment for those in Hoyleton’s care but also underscored the tangible impact of community partnerships supporting efforts to bring about better outcomes.

During the celebration, Hoyleton honored two UCC congregations — St. John United Church of Christ of Maeystown, Ill., and Zion United Church of Christ of St. Joe-Waterloo, Ill. — as Mission Companions. The two congregations have been pillars of support for Hoyleton, exemplifying what it means to be mission-driven partners. Their dedication spans decades, with both youth and adult members actively engaging in volunteer work and providing crucial donations.

The involvement of these church families extends beyond mere financial support; they’ve been hands-on, helping to organize and run events for Hoyleton youth. Activities have included preparing sack lunches for youth field trips and orchestrating Easter activities, which not only provide immediate benefits but also weave a fabric of community support and love that our children deeply need. Their sustained efforts highlight the profound effect of community involvement in furthering Hoyleton’s mission, demonstrating the collective power of compassion and action to make a tangible difference that stay with our youth forever.

Fire & Iron Station 168 was honored.

Fire & Iron Station 168 Southwestern Illinois was named Hoyleton Enthusiast because of its inspiring commitment to community and service. This brotherhood, known for its passion and energy, has been a beacon of hope and support for our foster care program.

“Knowing we can make a difference in someone’s life motivates us,” said Jesse Dykes, the group’s Sergeant at Arms. In recent years, the station has provided a plethora of toys and games, bringing smiles and joy to the children Hoyleton serves. It also raised significant funds through a Poker Run event. Fire & Iron Station 168’s donation of $5,000 to Hoyleton’s General Operating Fund has been instrumental in advancing our mission. The station plans to continue its tradition of donating toys and increasing its support. 

Cox with Kathleen Habermehl.

Hoyleton named Kathleen Habermehl as this year’s Empowerment Champion. Habermehl has been a beacon of support and advocacy for Hoyleton since her journey began with Hoyleton through St. Paul UCC in Columbia, Ill. Her unwavering commitment as a volunteer, donor, and advocate shines brightly, while her optimistic outlook and active engagement provide essential resources and encouragement, ensuring Hoyleton’s young people have the support needed to turn their dreams into realities.

Finally, Daniel Waters was celebrated as Client of the Year. Since becoming a licensed foster parent in 2015, Waters has opened his home and heart to numerous children, ensuring they feel part of a family regardless of how long they stay. His advocacy for family reunification has made significant positive impacts, prioritizing the well-being and familial connections of the children in his care.

Daniel Waters addresses the audience.

Waters’ approach extends beyond the immediate needs of the children; he actively fosters relationships with their siblings and relatives, promoting a holistic approach to foster care that emphasizes love, stability, and connection. His dedication to creating a nurturing environment for these children, coupled with his commitment to keeping families connected, showcases the profound difference one individual can make in the lives of many. As Waters says, “Being a dad is the best thing I’ve ever done!”

Join Our Mailing LIst

Follow on Facebook

Quick Links