Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Bringing healing, justice, wholeness to people and communities.

June 23, 2011

Dear Friend of LSSI:

There is a Native American proverb that says "It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story."

That is certainly true for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), where our single story is made up of the individual voices of our clients, staff, donors and volunteers. Some of these stories are difficult. Some are inspiring. All are part of this beautiful, larger story of LSSI.

I want to share three beautiful stories with you...

For Fred, a Peoria resident and octogenarian, the availability of Intouch Home Care Services means he can continue to live in his own home. "I have two ladies who come in, and they are truly a blessing," says Fred, who's been a client since September 2006. "It's like having a good friend stop by and help you out." He adds, "That might be more important than the dishes and the housecleaning." And Fred says his children are relieved to know he's getting help. His four children, who all live outside the area, said, 'Dad, you're finally getting smarter,'" he says with a chuckle.

Diana, 33, was an alcoholic for 18 years, but "my bottom was heroin." Her worried family did an intervention and got her into the 28-day treatment program at LSSI's Passages program. Then, she moved into LSSI's Women's Residence. "The first day ...I knew I was where I belonged," she says, adding that treatment gave her "the handbook of life." Treatment has brought structure and a healthy sense of discipline to her life, and has made her a better parent. She works full-time and cares for her children. On Mondays, Diana continues to return to the Residence for a group meeting -- even though it takes two to three hours by bus and train to get there. "I am a walking miracle," says Diana.  "I shouldn't be alive today."

Lucy, 11, has lived through a lot. Her father left the family when she was a toddler. When she was 9 years old, her brother died, and her mother abandoned the family. When Lucy came into foster care with her grandmother as her guardian, our staff worked with her to develop a Lifebook. Provided to all children placed in foster care with our agency, a Lifebook is a tangible, chronological and evolving record of a child's life. In writing her "life story" for her Lifebook, Lucy freely expressed anger with her mom for leaving her, grief about her brother's death, and anger at her father for drinking and abusing her mom in front of her. She wrote about how thankful she is for grandmother.

Still, Lucy had many unanswered questions about her dad. LSSI's Lifebook specialist sent him a letter simply asking for information and pictures for his daughter's Lifebook. Within two weeks, he contacted her. At the end of that first call, Lucy's father told her he loved her and missed her very much, and Lucy expressed the same feelings. There's still a lot of work to do to heal this relationship, but a huge hole was filled for Lucy thanks to her Lifebook.

These are just three stories of people whose lives have been changed through LSSI's services. As a donor to our agency, you have a story to tell as well.

Maybe you are a person who adopted your children through LSSI. Maybe you are one of the many donors who tell me that they give to LSSI because their parents did, or out of sheer gratitude to God for the blessings in your life.

Where this story ends is now up to you. You have the power to make a very happy ending by giving a gift today. In fact, you can write a happy ending to our entire fiscal year, which is coming up on June 30. Please -- give what you can today to help your neighbors in need.

In faith,

The Rev. Denver Bitner, D.Min.

P.S. The state's budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 includes deep cuts, especially in community mental health programs and addictions treatment. Please give what you can now, before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Thank you!

OUR MISSION: Responding to the Gospel, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois brings healing, justice and wholeness to people and communities.

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Des Plaines, IL 60018

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