1/1/2018 - Donate to YSB through Amazon


Easy way to Donate to YSB!

Simply go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Amazon will ask you what charity you want to support and you can choose Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley. The next time you want to order something from Amazon instead of going to amazon.com go to smile.amazon.com and whenever you purchase something from the smile website, YSB will receive .5% of the sales.

There is no extra cost to you. The items cost the same, the shipping is the same, you can still get prime and free shipping, etc. It works. 

Spread the word!

Such an easy way to help our programs, and our kids… Please pass on to your friends, family, foster parents, everyone!


9/19/2018 - A Treatment Success Story



“I hope it will be said we taught them to stand tall and proud, even in the face of history, and the future was made new and whole for us all - one child at a time.” – Brian Andreas

As a clinician working with children who have experienced trauma, I have found that using expressive modes can be empowering and life changing for clients.  Expressive modes provide catharsis, enlightenment, and cleansing.  I have been working with a 15-year old young woman for approximately 1½ years.  She is very verbal and engaged in therapy.  However, when she utilizes expressive therapy techniques, she appears to process thoughts and feelings on an even deeper level, which provides a more expansive level of insightfulness and catharsis.   

In a recent session, my client shared some of her favorite songs with me, which ranged from angry to inspirational to love songs.   She shared the song that helped her when she was depressed.  I inquired as to how the song helped her.  She explained that the song has meaning for her; it has uplifting and encouraging lyrics.  This client identified which stanza positively impacted her the most.

At her next therapy session, I utilized expressive techniques to encourage her to focus on the positive song that helped her manage feelings of depression. I explained that she could write/paint the song lyrics on a canvas to provide a positive, empowering, and meaningful message for her to keep at home.  She excitedly said, “I’m down with that!”

My client chose four empowering lines from the song.  She wrote each lyric in a different color and chose one letter from each song line to create a new meaningful word – LOVE.   She wrote “LOVE” vertically in the middle of the canvas surrounded by the song lyrics.  She then wrote a word next to each letter of the word love:  L=listen; O=overcome; V=value; E=everlasting.  I asked the client to explain the words connected to the word “LOVE.” She said that L means to listen to someone when she needs help; O means to overcome issues; V means to value what one gives another, to be positive with others; E means everlasting, a person is out there forever.  She embellished her canvas with colorful paint and inspirational stickers.

I directed the client to write words on a piece of paper stating how she felt about doing this project.  She explained that she felt “more motivated to do more when writing and painting.”  She said, “I feel like a weight lifted off of my shoulders from the little pain I have left.”  She said she felt better after doing this project.

This client appeared happy and delighted with her creation.  In the agency lobby, she proudly showed her canvas to YSB staff who gathered around her to admire her work.  Her face was animated with positive affect as she explained the meaning of the song lyrics and the four words she crafted from the word “LOVE.”  She seemed honored and valued that others reinforced her efforts and creativity. 

Laura Hunger, LSW/QMHP Therapist, Youth Service Bureau


9/26/2018 - Get to Know YSB Board Members - Melissa Hulse

Melissa Hulse
Board Member since September 2017

Melissa is a lifelong resident of Starved Rock Country who keeps the non-profit world very close to her heart alongside her work as a Real Estate Broker for Re/Max 1st Choice. She has loved being involved in various organizations including Ottawa Friendship House, Freezin’ for a Reezin’, ONYX, LaSalle Farm to Table Dinner and the Heart of Fashion Style Show, along with serving as a Reddick Public Library Board Trustee. She is grateful to spend time with her family and friends. She and Tim have two four-legged fur babies named Rocky and Maggie.

Her love of non-profits has greatly influenced her life. She states “I worked full-time at a not-for-profit for a number of years and I felt deeply rooted in that organization. When I left, I felt more comfortable being able to join another not-for-profit at some level. I feel like each of us are able to help others in some capacity and it is our duty to do so!

Although Melissa is fairly new to the YSB Board, she has jumped right in and made herself a vibrant, active, positive member who is willing to give 100% to her involvement in the agency’s mission. She understands all the effort that staff puts into working with local youth in need. “I appreciate the hard work and dedication that YSB staff put into day to day tasks and assignments, as well as with fundraising efforts. The Bids for Kids event held each Spring to support Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley is wonderful and I can't wait for next year's event!”

Melissa says, “Ideally, YSB would be an agency of the past…that our services were no longer needed because everybody has had their basic needs met, but sadly that isn't realistic.” She would like to see staff continue to serve and educate those in need, and her goal is to educate the public on all that the agency does. “Our staff are pretty amazing! The amount of time and dedication put into their caseloads show by the successes that occur each and every day.”

Thank you to Melissa and to every other person who helps YSB attain its mission of “helping young people and families succeed by serving them in their home, school and community.” You are making the communities we live in a better place for everyone.



Foster Parent of the Quarter October 2018

Congratulations to Lam Le!

Lam Le was nominated for foster parent of the quarter due to her strong support of returning the foster children to their biological mother. She kept communication with the mother open by sending pictures, updates, artwork and anything else her two daughters made.

Lam allowed the mother to call the home and talk to the girls, along with making an email address available to her. The biological mother was so grateful for Lam’s support that she informed the courts about how supported she felt and that she did not lose her connection to her girls, nor did she ever feel threatened that anyone was withholding her daughters from her. Even the judge was impressed with this report regarding Lam!

Lam Le has been a child welfare professional for another agency since 2007. First, she was in Foster Care and now she works in Intact Family Services. She came to YSB to become a foster parent through recommendations from other professionals in the field. She has wanted to care for her own children and others’ children ever since she was a child. She wants other children to know what it is like to have the love and security from safe, trustworthy adults.

She is kind hearted and a great listener. She engages children by getting down to their eye level and really listening to them. She knows and values the rules of DCFS yet does not forget to consider the feelings and desires of the children in the case.

Despite her professional background, a praise report from the children’s parent to the court is really impressive. It takes a lot of effort and work on the part of the foster parent (or relative caregiver).  A relationship of trust needs to be built not just with the placed children but also with their parents. YSB is greatly pleased to have such hard working foster parents with our agency. Thank you Lam for being one of our dedicated foster family households!