From LifeSet to Police Officer: Fryday Catch-up

Fryday holding a 2019 Impact Report where he was featured on the cover.

If you were part of Hoyleton in 2020 you may have met or heard a story or two about former client Fryday Nelson. This young man, and his son Zai'den, stole the hearts of many when they were special guests at our Hoyleton Honors banquet back in February of 2020.

After completing the ILO program, Fryday got a job in the trucking business. The trucking job helped him make money to secure housing and pay his bills but Fryday did not like the long days on the road and he knew he had a calling to do something else, so in late 2021 Fryday took a leap of faith and applied to the St. Louis Police Academy.

Fryday shared his story of being removed from his home and placed in foster care right before he started kindergarten. He spent his childhood moving in and out of different family members' homes as well as a few foster homes. Fryday shared that even when times were difficult he had the ability to rely on himself and his faith in the Lord to keep him going. When Fryday reached adulthood he became a client of Hoyleton's in our ILO program. It was there, with the support and guidance of his caseworker, Nikki Klienik, that he gained the knowledge and skills he needed to support himself and his young son Zai'den. Fryday and Nikki worked together to establish a plan with priorities and attainable goals. "My caseworker Nikki made me feel like the sky was the limit for me! She was so supportive and always did what she said she was going to do which helped me stay on the right path," Fryday said.

Nikki remembers meeting Fryday for the first time because she said there was an instant connection. “My first visit with Fryday happened because I was covering for another caseworker who was on vacation, but after that first meeting I knew I wanted to have Fryday on my caseload,” Nikki said.  “We were able to talk so easily about everything he was going through at the time and I could see the potential in him and knew I could help,” Nikki added.

Officer Fryday with Nikki

Officer Fryday with Nikki

"The physical training was grueling and the written exam was the longest test I had ever taken but I passed them both," Fryday said with a big smile! In September of 2022, with his case worker Nikki in the crowd, Fryday graduated from the St Louis Police Academy and is now a night patrolman in the city of St. Louis. He loves his job but already has a new goal of becoming an Illinois State Police officer! When he encounters a troubled youth out on the street he makes sure they know they have choices and he lets them know there are places to go where people will help them get their life straightened out. He says he shares with everyone what Hoyleton did for him.

 

Fryday says he is thankful and feels very blessed to be where his in in life. He is appreciative of the support he received at Hoyleton, especially from his caseworker Nikki, and believes that support helped him get to where he is today.

Fryday's son Zai'den is a smart, happy eight year old boy and Fryday is engaged to a lady who just graduated from nursing school so the future is look very bright. "My faith in God, belief in myself and Hoyleton's support really made a difference in my life!"

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 cschult@hoyleton.org

How One Foster Family Is Making a Difference in the Life of a Youth With Disabilities

Hoyleton Youth and Family Services provides specialized resources and support during extenuating circumstances. Nicole and Nick Nolte quickly became aware of these opportunities when they were contacted by DCFS regarding a friend’s daughter, Ariana, who at the age of 11 was placed in protective custody and admitted to Cardinal Glennon Hospital suffering from signs of severe neglect.

The Noltes were referred to Hoyleton Youth and Family Services and formed a plan to bring Ariana home. Getting home would be a long transition and require planning as Ariana suffers from cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, epilepsy and neuromuscular scoliosis. She requires constant care and assistance as she is non-weight bearing, has a G-tube for feeding and cannot use words to communicate.

The foster care staff at Hoyleton were specialized case workers who utilized relationships with other agencies to ensure Ariana had all the necessary medical equipment to be home with her foster parents in a safe environment. She received specialized bedding and a wheelchair, and case workers guided Nicole and Nick through financial services and other necessary paperwork.

Cortney Walker, the Hoyleton Staff Nurse, provided feedback and talked through several scenarios with Nicole during difficult situations. Cortney’s knowledge of specialized services and her caring attitude were a comfort to Nicole. She became a medical advocate for the family and provided resources to make certain Nicole and Nick had the techniques, medication and equipment they needed to manage Ariana’s health. According to Nicole, “Cortney became my sounding board for feedback and helped through some trying times.”

With the support of Hoyleton Youth and Family Services, Nicole and Nick gave Ariana a fuller life. After three days of being home with them, Ariana showed emotion for the first time in their care. Whether a smile, frown or tear, they knew in their hearts there was a purpose to making a difference in Ariana’s life. She was formally adopted on January 9, 2020, and became a part of their blended family. The Noltes didn't stop there; they recently adopted Ariana’s three siblings and became a family of eight. Three of the six children have a passion to help others and aspire to pursue careers in social work.

Hoyleton is truly blessed to have families like the Noltes who have a passion to help others. To learn more about our foster care program, visit https://hoyleton.org/programs/foster-care-placement/

Hoyleton CAREs About Our Clients and Team

By Stephanie Seaton, Director of Project Implementation

In 2017, we began implementing the CARE model, a comprehensive practice model that guides everything we do at Hoyleton. We are one of only 50 agencies nationally, and the only one serving youth in southern Illinois, that follows this model. It guides how we interact with the people we serve in the community and also our own goals and values and how we treat each other internally. It shapes every facet of our organization’s culture.

What is the CARE model?

The CARE model was developed at Cornell University and is rooted in six core principles:
Developmentally focused
Family involved
Relationship based
Competence centered
Trauma informed
Ecologically oriented

Why CARE works

These principles have been applied agency-wide since the CARE model’s adoption, particularly when interacting with our youth, many of whom have a history of trauma, CARE has shifted how we think about disruptive youth by changing the conversation from “What is wrong with them?” to “What has happened to them?” It shifts from the behavior to the story behind the behavior, which allows for more focused conversation instead of reactionary measures. It can be easy to take certain behaviors personally, but recognizing that it’s coming from a place of trauma response not only makes conversations possible but humanizes clients in meaningful ways.

CARE has also given our organization a common language to speak with clients and each other. Our staff has a wide range of education levels in terms of social work, psychology, therapy and other backgrounds. What may seem like common language to one of those groups may be new to another because of its clinical nature. CARE helps keep conversations consistent and understandable for all people involved because it gives us a shared vocabulary rooted in understanding and trauma care.

CARE at Hoyleton

What’s amazing about the CARE model is that it spills into the overall work/life relationship of our team as well. Thinking in terms of events that influence behavior instead of behavior itself helps team members have more grace with one another. It helps us remember small gestures go a long way to show care and encourages us to think about what little things we can do for one another. People forget how embedded the CARE model is in our culture because of how second nature its principles come to us.

This is what a good practice model does: it embeds itself. It becomes so much a part of the culture that CARE becomes the norm. CARE and its principles are so powerful because it strengthens the possibility for empathy. This is what Hoyleton is all about when it comes to our interactions with clients and each other.

Learn more about our approach to CARE by visiting our approach page.

Hoyleton | ParentSmart Program

Hoyleton Announces ParentSmart Program

Due to a 40% increase in infant deaths through 2018-2019, Hoyleton Youth and Family Services started its ParentSmart initiative in September, 2019. The ParentSmart program takes aim at educating young parents and guardians of infants on the dangers and risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or commonly known as SIDS. SIDS became a common term in 1969 to bring national awareness to unexplained deaths in infants that shared common characteristics in their passing.

The ParentSmart program is headed by Haunah Vanlaningham. Haunah works and is a volunteer at Hoyleton Youth and Family Services Prevention Department, and is the administrator and moderator for the growing ParentSmart community on Facebook. Haunah is currently in the process of obtaining her Master’s degree. As a mother of one, and with another child on the way, Haunah brings with her a passion for children, a desire to take an active role in the prevention of infant death, and is an advocate for the safety of all children.

The ParentSmart program focuses on topics such as the ABCs of Safe Sleep practice. The ABC’s are that the child should sleep Alone, on his/her Back and in a Crib. ParentSmart coordinates speakers for safety seminars, and provides a variety of resources for SIDS awareness. ParentSmart takes an active role in the community via social media with its primary focus being on education, communication, and plans to introduce interactive classes with partners in the community.

There are a variety of ways to become involved with ParentSmart. Follow their page on Facebook (@ParentSmartCDITF) to learn more about what Sleep Safe for infants and children includes, how you can educate on the prevention of infant deaths, and more importantly, how you can help other young couples and new guardians of infants keep children safe.

If you have questions about Hoyleton’s ParentSmart program, please reach out via Facebook messenger or you can email Haunah at cditf@wordpress.compu-type.net. If you witness the mistreatment of a child or have concerns about the safety of an infant, please reach out to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services 24 hour hotline immediately at 1.800.25ABUSE.

#Hoyleton125 #ParentSmartCDITF #HoyletonCAREs

Informational: ParentSmart is part of a cooperative with the Illinois Child Death Investigation Task Force of which Hoyleton Youth and Family Services is a fiscal agency thereof.