Expressions Winter 2022

Volume XX • Number 2 • Winter 2022

IN THIS ISSUE: The Power of Family The Power of OPTIONS

As we prepare for the end of another year, I think more and more about how little moments of happiness add up to something even more meaningful than we could have imagined. Our work here at DePaul is built on those moments, and I am thankful to be part of this family. These smiling faces and so many more are possible because of your generosity and commitment to uplifting children, families, and individuals with disabilities. There are many more in our community who continue to face barriers to accessing necessary services and support—but with you by our side, we are ready to tackle the challenges that lie in the year ahead. Thank you for standing with DePaul and investing in our mission of hope and belonging. Sincerely,

Beverly Binner Chair, Board of Directors DePaul Community Resources

T hank you for making Bridge to Hope possible.

Your generous support for the Bridge to Hope Fund continues to help meet unmet needs in your community. In the first two years, your contributions helped 21 children, 11 individuals with disabilities, and 26 families access critical supplies, equipment, and services when all other potential funding sources said “no.” This year, your support changed the lives of two sisters, Zoe and Maya. Their mother abruptly dropped the girls off at their paternal grandparents’ home then proceeded to leave the state. Zoe and Maya’s grandparents, who already struggled to make ends meet, could not afford essential items needed to care for the girls, especially on such short notice. The Bridge to Hope Fund provided groceries for the family until they could apply for supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits to support their grandchildren. The fund also provided clothing, toiletries, and a bed so Zoe and Maya could be comfortable and cared for in their new living arrangement. Without the Bridge to Hope Fund, these children may have entered the foster care system —a costly outcome for this family and the community. Your support kept these sisters together in their family home and avoided unnecessary trauma from entering foster care. Your gifts changed their life trajectory and will forever impact their lives. There are 57 more stories of life-changing support from the Bridge to Hope Fund—and we have more work to do. With your help, we can keep bridging gaps and saying “yes” when it matters most.

Total Raised: $37,252 Funds Used to date: $19,627 Fund Balance today: $17,625

The Power of Family Story by Alison Wickline-Burns | Photos by Eichner Studios

DePaul foster parents Andrea and Matt Zimmerman understand the strength of stability, support, and connection for children in foster care. “It’s about adding more support and love into their life, rather than trying to replace anything,” said Andrea. This summer, Andrea and Matt opened their home to siblings, an 8-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy. It was a foster to-adopt placement, meaning if nothing were to change, then the Zimmermans’ home would become the children’s forever home. They felt called to make that commitment, and the journey began. So far, the journey has been a learning process for everyone. The children have learned to communicate more clearly, as have Andrea and Matt. The children have also learned that it’s okay to openly feel their emotions, and they are working on learning to better regulate their emotions, too. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have room to go,” said Matt.

Andrea and Matt have also worked hard to maintain connections with the children’s biological family and friends. Through phone calls, video chats, and visits, they have provided them with the opportunity to keep important relationships and have a wider network of support. “It’s their family, and I think that’s what we’re supposed to do as long as it’s safe and healthy for them,” said Matt. “Everything they knew completely changed, so we wanted to give them some stability and connection to people they knew. We hope they see that the love didn’t stop once they got here,” said Andrea. Together, this new family of four is navigating new connections, challenges, and learning experiences. Every day is a new adventure— not always easy, but always worth it. When you donate to DePaul, you ensure that children in need have a safe,

supportive, stable, and loving home where they can dream and grow.

Volume XX • Number 2 • Winter 2022


It’s about adding more support and love into their life, rather than trying to replace anything. ANDREA

Volume XX • Number 2 • Winter 2022


Day support is more than a business—it opens a new world for our individuals to explore and thrive. CONNIE

Volume XX • Number 2 • Winter 2022


The Power of OPTIONS Story by Alison Wickline-Burns

When DePaul paused operations at its OPTIONS day support centers due to the pandemic, Dave did his best to wait patiently. But he struggled. His engagement with the community became limited, his days slowed down, his world became a bit smaller. Then, OPTIONS was reopened. Dave returned to the program in Madison Heights and the twinkle returned to his eye. It all came flooding back to him—the relationships he had built, the places he had been, the memories he had made. He was ready to do it all again. And so, he did. With OPTIONS staff at his side on that first day, Dave visited the library and spent some time sitting outside soaking up the sunshine and the world that was opening around him again. His curiosity returned. What other places would they visit? Would he make new friends in the community? Would he learn new skills? Soon, Dave was visiting more places like the bowling alley and the local park. He began volunteering for Meals on Wheels. His conversation skills came back, along with his laughter.

“Hearing that belly laugh and seeing the light in Dave’s eyes again is priceless,” said Connie Boley, day support case manager. It wasn’t just DePaul that saw the change in Dave. His sister, Carol, saw it too. “I’m so grateful that Dave has had the opportunity to return to the day support that he loves so much,” said Carol. Dave’s story illustrates the power of DePaul’s day support programs for individuals with disabilities. These programs in Madison Heights and Fishersville immerse participants into their communities, encourage them, teach them life skills, and help them make friends. “Day support is more than a business—it opens a new world for our individuals to explore and thrive,” said Connie. When you donate to DePaul, you make it possible for these programs to exist. And when these programs exist, Dave and so many others are given a chance to belong in their communities and to live better, brighter lives.

Volume XX • Number 2 • Winter 2022


Give a Gift from the Heart this Holiday Season There is more work in the coming year and many more in need of hope and belonging. With you by our side, we are ready. Your year-end gift will make the difference in accomplishing incredible things in 2023. Here are examples, taken from real Bridge to Hope requests, of how your donation could make a lasting impact: ❤ $50 could provide gear needed to begin karate lessons for a young child who is struggling with confidence in her new foster home and new school.

❤ $75 could provide an assistive drinking device for an individual with a disability to help them drink safely. ❤ $100 could provide groceries to grandparents struggling to feed themselves and their grandchildren.

❤ $500 could provide life-saving therapy for a teenager who feels alone, unwanted, and has expressed suicidal thoughts to his foster parents. Our work remains possible because you believe in what we do. May you be blessed in 2023 with love, opportunity, and health. To make an impactful year-end gift, please find the envelope enclosed, scan the QR code below, or visit

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