Hoyleton Youth and Family Services has been serving the community since 1895 and this year we celebrate 125 years in community service. Since Hoyleton’s inception as an orphanage it has been our mission to enable all people, young and old alike, to realize the wholeness of life that God intends. Since then, the culture of our community has changed, and therefore, the needs of the community have changed. Enter: Puentes de Esperanza.
Realizing the changing needs of our community and the continuing shift of culture, Hoyleton implemented the “Bridges of Hope” program, or more commonly known in the Latinx community as, Puentes de Esperanza. Since 2014, Puentes de Esperanza has been assisting those in Southern Illinois with several different socially based programs which focus on self-sufficiency. Puentes offers assistance to our southern neighbors by helping navigate through tough situations they may face while journeying through the citizenship process.
Many times individuals coming from other countries face uncertainty, fear of persecution, and anxiety of starting a new life in a foreign land. Puentes de Esperanza’s mission is to transform the lives of Latinx children and families in Southern Illinois through community-based ministries and serve. Programs such as the Fairmont City Welcome Center, Immigrant Family Resource program, Community Outreach, and Hoyleton’s translation services ensure these needs are able to be met. As truly a community program, all of these services operate through a combination of Puentes employees and community volunteers. Director, Kristen Shinn, states, “As the Director of Community Support Services, I have seen first-hand how Puentes assists clients in times of need. The Puentes team looks for new and creative ways to connect with families through technology and communication. We want our families to know that they are not alone and we care.”
• The Welcome Center, located in Fairmont City assists individuals and is a one-stop human services center that allows individuals to access services that may be difficult to obtain due to language barrier issues.
• The Immigrant Family Resource program plays an integral role in assisting families to help them apply and receive human health services such as SNAP and Medicaid benefits. Other direction comes in the form of child care for working families and obtaining resources for entitled child support.
• The Community Outreach program offers a variety of programs aimed at assisting Latinx immigrants overcome obstacles that may prevent or discourage them from receiving available benefits.
• The Puentes de Esperanza Translation Services have, and continue to provide migrant newcomers the ability to interact with iDCFS staff to report abuse or child neglect investigations.
One family that is very grateful for the role Puentes de Esperanza played in her life is Araceli Cruz.
“I was very appreciative for the translation services and support I received. Puentes was there during a very tough time in our lives and very helpful in getting the assistance I really needed.” ~Araceli Cruz
She highly recommends anyone who may be in need of assistance and has difficulty navigating the English speaking centric social programs, should reach out to get help.
Puentes de Esperanza exists to make life easier for those coming to our community that may be anxious, fearful, or unsure of what next steps to take after arriving in our little part of the world. With a team dedicated to serving, Puentes can help comfort, support, and direct those seeking a better, more fulfilling life for themselves and their families.
If you, a friend, or other loved ones are needing help, please reach out to us at 618.398.0557, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on social media at facebook.com/PuentesdeEsperanzaHYFS.
We are always accepting volunteers. All volunteer opportunities may be inquired about by contacting Meghan Murphy at email@example.com or by calling 618-688-7092.