Mobile Farmer's Market Helping the Hispanic Community

With the help of Beet Box volunteers, Puentes de Esperanza: Bridges of Hope is providing healthy options, social opportunity, and something the community can look forward to. Puentes uses the ecologically-oriented CARE principle by meeting our Hispanic community members where they are physically and situationally.

Since the start of last summer, Puentes de Esperanza has partnered with the Land of Goshen Community Market located in Edwardsville, IL. Through this partnership, the community served by Puentes can receive fresh produce from local farmers at a low cost. The volunteers of the Goshen Community Market drive to Fairmont City the “Beet Box.” This food truck attracts the attention of the community, and the word is spread on produce being sold. The members of the community can walk down the street from their homes to choose their produce. Clients can choose from a variety of vegetables, fruits, and nonperishable items to take home for 25 cents. Everyone in the community is welcome to choose their own produce.

Famer’s markets have increasingly become a staple in most towns, and they continue to expand as years go by. With the use of the Beet Box, the community of Fairmont City can have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, without having to travel far. In Fairmont City there are not many grocery stores that can provide fresh produce. This results in members of the community turning to unhealthy options of food. Within the Hispanic culture, many individuals from their country of origin are used to choosing their own produce and knowing how fresh it is. In most Hispanic countries the use of mercados is an essential part of living. Mercado in English means market. Mercados are not just a place where people buy and sell produce, but they also provide a place where social events occur. They bring joy and liveliness to a community and create a sense of belonging.

Farmworkers In the United States contribute to the production and distribution of crops. They play a key part in the nation’s economy. Migrant farmworkers have helped feed America and have faced obstacles throughout the years. At times, when people grocery shop, they seldom forget the backstory behind the farmworkers who work long hours to provide us with produce. Within the Puentes family there are many migrant farmworkers who work long hours in the fields to provide for their families. The clients even think of Puentes and if produce is in abundance, they bring them some as well. Team members have been happy going home with fresh corn to enjoy with their own families. Puentes de Esperanza is thankful for the clients they serve and continues to support them and provide resources to better suit their family needs.

With the help of Beet Box, they proudly can continue to provide produce and something to look forward to for the community. They also take into consideration the opinions of the clients and look for more produce available that they may prefer. Mothers of the families are thankful that they do not have to leave their homes to buy produce but rather can get it at a low cost right outside their doors. Puentes de Esperanza will hope to continue to continue this partnership for years to come and continue to expand their resources.

Learn more about our Hispanic community support here:

Career Assistance Scholarship

Hoyleton strives to build stronger communities by providing support and service to youth and families in the southern Illinois region. In an effort to help individuals reach their full potential, Hoyleton Youth & Family Services is proud to offer the Career Assistance Scholarship, an  opportunity for any recipient of Hoyleton Youth and Family Services and Puentes de Esperanza to benefit. We will start accepting applications beginning April 1, 2024.

To qualify, the applicant must be a recipient of services provided by Hoyleton, currently or in the past. This includes the Residential program, Counseling, Foster Care, Therapeutic services, Puentes de Esperanza, Prevention, and community programs.

Closing date for scholarship applications is August 1, 2024.

The Career Assistance Scholarship supports career goals and may be used for:

  1. Tuition assistance and fees required for the enrollment for attendance of the student at a qualifying institution (General Education Diploma, training school, trade, career based school, vocational school or another institution of the same type).
  2. Fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction
  3. Room, Board and transportation.

Applicants must provide the following:

  1. Completed application form
  2. A statement of less than 100 words of how the career assistance scholarship will help you to achieve your career goal.
  3. One letter of recommendation from a professional educator, counselor, or clergy


Program Application

Applicant Information


Education History

School Attended(Required)

Career Assistance Desired

Select all that apply.

Certification and Signature

We acknowledge that we have read the eligibility requirements in the attached brochure. All of the information furnished in support of this application is true and complete. If requested, we will submit proof of the same. Failure to do so shall invalidate this application and shall result in termination of scholarship. By signing this application, you have given Hoyleton Youth and Family Services the right to release the scholarship recipient name in a press release and social media.
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    Reminder to Applicant: This application becomes valid only when all items have been submitted to the Career Assistance Committee at Hoyleton Youth & Family Services. Mailed applications should be addressed as: Hoyleton Youth & Family Services Career Assistance Committee| 8 Executive Dr, Suite 200 | Fairview Heights, IL 62208
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    It Takes A Village

    The volunteer commitment looks different for everyone. Some people give their time, some people give monetary or planned gifts. Some people have been volunteering for years across different programs and others come for specific programs. Whether it’s been passed down through family generations or becoming a new tradition, the hope and sense of community our volunteers provide youth is irreplaceable.

    “Just knowing that this is directly helping my community, seeing the results in my community, make volunteering worth it. Helping people I hadn’t known were struggling and making the neighborhood better,” expressed one frequent volunteer.

    Hoyleton takes a holistic approach to meeting the physical, mental, and emotional needs of youth and families, which provides numerous opportunities for volunteers to lend a helping hand. Below is a selection of ways to get started.

    Clerical/Office Assistance

    Staying organized is a priority for keeping an office running smoothly. Volunteers assisting with filing, phone calls, bilingual assistance, and general office duties help our staff work efficiently and effectively.

    Hike & Bike and Trivia Nights

    Churches and community organizations across Madison, St. Clair, Clinton, and Washington counties hold events throughout the year and give the proceeds to Hoyleton. The annual Hike & Bike is a 5K, 10K, and half marathon that donates earnings to fund specialized programs for our youth. Trivia Nights are an option that let groups have fun while volunteering and meeting new new people. Various events are shared on social media and our events page.

    Back to School

    Each year, kids pick up their new backpacks stuffed with pencils, notebooks, markers, and more just in time for the new school year. Our volunteers help us ensure that every child has the supplies they need to be successful in school by donating supplies, stuffing backpacks, and helping with the picnic for kids and parents.

    Hope for the Holidays

    For most, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but for some of the youth and families we serve, the season can be difficult. HYFS makes it our goal that every child in our care has a gift to open during the holidays. Our annual Hope for the Holidays drive urges our donors and volunteers to get involved by donating, shopping from the wish list, and wrapping presents. Join us in helping those we serve.

    It Takes a Village

    Over 127 years, our team members, programs, and locations have changed, but our mission has stayed the same: to help children and families build brighter futures so our communities can improve and become stronger for everyone. We cannot achieve this mission without the compassionate efforts of all our volunteers and donors. If you are searching for a way to get involved, check out our volunteer page or contact Christy Schult at

    LGBTQ Youth Resource Guide

    Gain a better understanding of the lgbtq youth in your care with this compiled list of local resources, including support groups, affirming care centers, and guides for supporting youth to the fullest.

    Hoyleton CEO Chris Cox Discusses Self Care on Fox 2 News

    Our President and CEO, Chris Cox, joined Fox 2 Now's Studio STL to discuss the importance of self care. You can't pour from an empty cup, and you don't have to feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Watch below to learn more:

    Self Care is the practice of actively nurturing one's happiness and well being, and it's not as hard as you would think. Self care can  be as big as tackling your bad habits, or as small as making a cup of tea. Taking a small amount of time for yourself can help find balance in other areas of your life, too. Holistic wellness can be put into 8 dimensions that focus on different aspects of everyday life. By taking care of one dimension, we often see the others improve. Read more in depth about SAMHSA's 8 dimensions of wellness.

    Give STL Day 2021

    Since 2019 Hoyleton has participated in Give STL Day. Give STL Day is a day set aside each year to allow people and businesses to come together in unity and support their favorite non-profit organizations.  

    People give for several reasons. Most  give to support the causes that are near and dear to their hearts. Some give to support their community and find giving to Hoyleton allows them the opportunity to assist in more ways than one.  Others give simply to support their friendsfamily and community in regards to the passionate work done here at Hoyleton. Regardless of the reason, the funds collected though Give STL Day provide general operating funds which allows Hoyleton the opportunity to change lives on a daily basis.  

    We are in the midst of celebrating our 125th birthday this year and joining us this Give STL Day, May 6this a great way to show your support and continue Hoyleton’s mission for another 125 years and longer!  

    There are two ways you can participate in Give STL Day. The first way is to go to and donate. The second way to participate is to host a fundraising drive of your own through the Give STL Day website! Simply go to the donation site,, and click on the BIG blue circle with a “+” sign that says “Create a Fundraiser for this Non-Profit” and the website walks you through the easy to do process! 

    All funds collected during Give STL Day will makes a huge impact on the community in several different ways, Hoyleton’s services include Therapeutic Residential Care, Foster and Adoptive Care, Emerging Adult Care, In-community Care, Puentes de Esperanza and Forward Counseling Care, by Hoyleton.  Hoyleton Youth and Family Services is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible up to the extent of the law. 

    Learn more about our 125th birthday celebration and the activities throughout the rest of this year at:  

    For other donation and volunteer opportunities, please visit us at 

    The Long Journey Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The Long Journey Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    As we celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s life today it helps to revisit the journey taken to formally honor his legacy. A holiday was first proposed after King’s death in 1968 and 11 years later a vote failed in the House of Representatives despite support from President Jimmy Carter. But the King Center and supporters continued to educate about the need to honor his vision. Musician Stevie Wonder joined by writing “Happy Birthday” in 1981 to further awareness and was among 500,000 who marched to Washington and presented a petition signed by 6 million. In 1983 the holiday became law and was first celebrated in 1986. Some states resisted adopting but sustained action made it happen. For example, when a vote failed in Arizona the NFL made good on a threat to move the Superbowl. The last states approved the paid holiday in 2000.  It took 32 years for a national holiday honoring a leader who fought to eliminate injustice, and it was a difficult journey—but many believed in his vision and worked to make it a reality. As we reflect on his legacy, let us reflect also on the actions of those he inspired and the barriers they surmounted to support his dream.

    2020 was a year of surmounting—during a pandemic exposing racial, wealth, and health disparities in communities of color, and calls to end anti-Blackness, we also witnessed the actions of those who want to maintain injustice to preserve privileges. In the midst of so much what should we remember about Rev. Dr. King and his vision? His words help:

    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

    Racism, discrimination, and dehumanization remain threats to justice and as witnessed last year voices across racial divisions are calling to eliminate the systems of privilege and power that support injustice. Those calls for change are supported by many but also met with resistance, hostility, and even violence from others. It is not always easy to see what injustice looks like and even harder to accept your own role in it. The fear of what one might have to give up for others to be treated with dignity and respect fuels the contention we are witnessing today. Dr. King reminds us:

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." 

    Great change comes from individual actions. When honoring Dr. King today, remember his vision and those who faced physical attacks, arrests, and even death to fight for the right for all to be treated with respect and fully valued as human beings.  We must also remember that his dream requires we each take action to make it real. As you remember the legacy of Dr. King today, recall also his challenge:

    Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others’?

    Dr. Karla Scott
    Chief Diversity Officer
    Hoyleton Youth and Family Services


    Health Navigators

    Puentes de Esperanza | Health Navigators

    2020 brought many challenges to the entire world. Across our organization we have discovered new ways to communicate and support our clients. Hoyleton seized the opportunity to show our clients they are not alone, regardless of current circumstances. The Puentes de Esperanza staff was remarkable in responding to the changes and moved forward to assist those in need during these unprecedented times 

    This year, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) piloted a program to assist those in minority and underserved communities across the state. The Public Health and Health Navigator Project is funded by the State of Illinois and is segmented by regions as defined by COVID-19 guidelinesPuentes de Esperanza serves several minority and underserved communities in the Region 4 area. There are several key objectives for the program including, but not limited to healthy lifestyle education, COVID-19 safety, assisting with communication with health care providers where there may be a language barrier or income-related challenges. 

    Funding from the Health Navigator program allowed  25 program participants from the Hispanic community to partner with the Puentes de Esperanza team to provide health education and COVID-19 related needs to the Spanish speaking community. While these Health Navigators are not directly employed by Puentes de Esperanza, they do work very closely with our team member Jovany Otero, one of Hoyleton/Puentes de Esperanza’s Bi-lingual Family and Community Advocates. 

    Through the Health Navigator program, Puentes de Esperanza has been able to reach over 3000 individuals in the Region 4 area alone. These Navigators took part in distributing PPE in rural areas and during food drives. Participants have also developed videos and flyers for distribution throughout the community. The Navigators have provided information and activities beyond COVID-19 prevention and have shared information about living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining mental health.  

    Erika Hernandez, one of the Navigators states “...I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate and be part of a team in which I can contribute all my knowledge and, at the same time, help people within our community. Personally, I feel that it helps me to stay informed of what is happening as well as in the aspect of mental and emotional health, which I can use for the well-being of my family.”  

    It is through partnerships such as the one we have with IDHS and the Pandemic Health Navigators that we are able to continue serving those in our community and work toward equal and fair access to services across the local community and state. 

    For more information on Puentes de Esperanza or Hoyleton, please visit us online at 

    Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services. 

    Hope for the Holidays | Making Seasons Brighter

    We had an opportunity to speak with one of our donors recently and talk with her about why she is so passionate about being involved with our annual “Hope for the Holidays” program.

    Sitting in her home in Mascoutah, Samantha relaxes on her couch as what sounds like a thunderous herd goes by. “Those are my three babies,” she says. She’s talking about her three dogs, each weighing over 100 pounds. “It’s non-stop action around here.”

    Samantha was born in Maryland but has lived in numerous locations throughout her childhood, including southern Illinois. “I’m the daughter of a military dad. Moving is part of the deal,” she explains. She and her sister moved back to the southern Illinois area in adulthood and made it their home to be close to each other and other family members.

    Samantha’s dad was adopted, so she learned a lot about the challenges and ordeals of foster children through his experiences. It’s that understanding that led her to give back to organizations like ours.

    “I worked in nonprofit myself at one point,” she says. Now a wedding planner, she still likes to give back when possible, especially for causes focused on children. “I learned about Hoyleton when my sister, Alex, started working for you at the Lehre Haus,” she says. Lehre Haus is one of our residential homes located in Belleville, IL, for intellectually disabled young men transitioning from foster care.

    “Alex loves working for Hoyleton and being a part of its mission to enable all people,” says Samantha. “Seeing her passion and understanding the programs they have for youth, both young and old, made me want to get involved in a different way.”

    “It can’t be easy when you can’t fully help yourself,” she goes on. “I felt for them and wanted to get involved to bring a little joy into their lives, especially around the holidays, which can be even tougher on them.”

    This is why Samantha decided to get involved in our “Hope for the Holidays” gift program.

    “Hope for the Holidays” allows people to choose a youth and/or family to purchase gifts for them to have on Christmas. Whether it’s using a wish list that was created for them or simply providing gift cards, “Hope for the Holidays” is a way for people to make someone else’s season bright.

    “I ask Hoyleton to simply choose a few youths for me, regardless of age,” Samantha explains. “I can then pick out some gifts and know their Christmas will be a little merrier. We sometimes take for granted that all children are afforded the same joys. This brings some perspective and helps those who need it most.”

    Samantha plans on making “Hope for the Holidays” a tradition in her family, and she looks forward to finding other ways to support our mission in the future.

    To learn more about ‘Hope for the Holidays’ and donate to help those we serve and make the holidays special for them, please visit:

    Hoyleton | Engaging Youth in a Time of Crisis


    The world has spent most of this year learning to live in a new normal. Mollie Dale, Program Manager at Hoyleton’s Koelling Cottage, is experiencing exactly that. Every day Mollie works with children on the autism spectrum and must find ways to deliver educational changes that do not hinder their growth and ability to develop life skills.

    Koelling cottage is home to 10 boys between the ages of 13 and 21, all who have moderate developmental delays. “These kids thrive on schedules, so any kind of change in their schedule can be difficult,” she says. “When COVID hit, we really had to make the best of it and be as consistent as we could be as we found a new normal routine for them.”

    Schools in for the summer

    Koelling is one of five cottages located on the main Hoyleton Campus. Like the other cottages, it is set up to provide the children with life skills training, access to ongoing education and the opportunity to develop social skills with their peers. 

    A typical day for the children included getting up, attending to personal hygiene, cleaning up their rooms, heading off to school and interacting during social time back on campus. The schooling part of the day now takes place entirely at the cottage. “The schools will send packets to us, and we’ll help instruct the classroom assignments each day,” explains Mollie. “Then they end the afternoon with free time to do activities either inside or outside.”

    One of the biggest challenges has been the limited socializing among the boys. Typically the children across the five cottages could interact with each other during campus-wide games and activities. “They have lost some of those close connections,” says Mollie. “But we also know that we need to take this seriously and keep taking precautions for the health of the residents and staff.”

    New ways to stay engaged and active

    In the past, the staff at Koelling would also take the kids out to go shopping or see a movie. Each received a small allowance and enjoyed getting away from campus. Now they have to stay safe and find ways to entertain themselves in or around the cottage grounds. Thus far, keeping the boys close to home has kept everyone safe with no COVID cases being reported. 

    “Our staff has been outstanding with coming up with creative activities to keep the boys engaged,” says Mollie. “Whether it’s making tie-dye shirts or spin art, we do our best to keep things fun and active around here.”

    Like most young boys, the staff works to burn off as much of their energy as they can. “One night we decided to turn on some YouTube videos of different dances to see if we could do them,” says Mollie. “The boys had so much fun that it became a weekly dance party!”


    As the staff comes up with new ideas for activities, sometimes there is a delay before they can do them. “WIth the need to maintain the staff to youth ratio onsite, we can’t just run out to the store at a moment’s notice notice,” explains Mollie. :But again, the staff is great and will volunteer to get things to bring in the next day for us.”

    A surprise donation to lift up spirits

    Mollie was surprised one day when an anonymous donor reached out and wanted to lift up the spirits of the boys. They wanted to provide a picnic and some fun for everyone, so Mollie was told to get on Amazon and order what she needed. 

    “Since we can’t go to a waterpark or pool, I asked if I could get a giant tarp,” she says. “We created our own slip and slide, which was the big hit of the summer.” Along with the supplies came a gift card for a fried chicken dinner and matching shirts for the boys and staff. “We are really big into matching shirts,” says Mollie. “They seem to bring everyone closer together.”

    Moving forward in the new normal

    As COVID precautions continue, Mollie and team continue to keep things in perspective. “We really have learned not to take everything so seriously,” she says. The team takes things one day at a time and are thankful for a group of kids that are resilient and understanding. “If you stopped by and didn’t know any differently, you wouldn’t think anything was going on,” says Mollie. “That’s a testament to the kids and this great staff.”

    How you can help

    When asked how people can help, Mollie was quick to respond. They are always looking for activities to keep everyone entertained and busy, whether it’s games, DVDs, crayons, party favors or any other types of indoor activities, especially as winter approaches. 

    “We truly appreciate our partners and donors for all they have done to help these children, especially this year,” Mollie says. “It’s that type of support that allows us to see the boys thrive and continue to grow with their life skills here at the cottage. Hoyleton supporters are giving them futures they deserve.”

    To learn more about Residential Care and how you can help, please visit: