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Spero Welcomes New Congregate Care Director

MT. VERNON, IL- Spero Family Services is proud to welcome our newest Director of Congregate Care, Kim Tate. Kim joins Spero with over 26 years’ experience in the child welfare setting with 13 of those years at Spero Family Services. Her social work background includes case manager, QRTP home supervisor, and Residential Manager and Director. She has also held positions as the TASC-juvenile justice/substance abuse case manager, Rural Gang Initiative and Serious Habitual Offender Comprehensive Action Program (SHOCAP). Kim has a master’s degree in Public Administration. She returns to Spero after working as a SASS supervisor for adolescents with mental health needs. Kim will be working in our Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) and group home.

At Spero, she will be overseeing the treatment services for residents in the QRTP and Group home programs. She will also help develop strategies for the Spero Youth Counselors, that work with youth, to facilitate good mental health and positive behavior support. “I am excited to make QRTP and group home the best it can be. I want us to be the premiere agency, where everyone wants their youth to receive treatment.” says Kim.

Spero QRTP and Group homes of Mt. Vernon is a team of highly qualified, experienced and caring professional Mental Health Therapists, Case Managers, Youth Care Workers, Nurses, Home Supervisor, Program Manager, Clinical Director and Spiritual Life Coordinator that are available to youth and their families around the clock. The programs support the whole child and their healthy development. While the primary focus is to support the youth’s mental health needs, we also provide opportunities for growth in spirituality, social skills, education, life skills and recreation both on and off campus.

Spero Charity Golf Classic

We are so excited to announce the Spero Charity Golf Classic will be held Friday, July 17, 2020 at Green Hills Golf Club in Mt. Vernon, IL. For more information or to sign up your team of 4 visit our golf event page!  Spero relies on fundraisers like this to be able to continue to provide the highest quality social services during times of uncertainty.

A Message from Spero CEO John Shadowens

Adversity is the truest test of one’s strength and character.  I believe that applies not just to us as individuals but to organizations as well.  This global pandemic is testing us all and I am very proud to say, that to a person, the staff of Spero has proven to be amazingly resilient and compassionate.  From the outset, I have seen our employees setting aside their own concerns and needs to focus on the well-being and support of their clients.  Whether volunteering to cover shifts for others who need to be at home, finding creative ways to engage clients over the phone or via video, to addressing complex and rapidly developing challenges, our team members have redefined professionalism and compassion in my eyes.

We are very aware that our clients need us even in the best of times. How much more are we needed now that the world is mired in isolation and uncertainty? For all of you who follow Spero on social media, pray for us, support us financially, volunteer your time, or participate in or sponsor our events, I say a heartfelt thank you!  I want you to know that our team at Spero is rising to this ‘once in a generation’ challenge as we remain a beacon of hope, help and healing in the lives of thousands of our neighbors throughout Southern Illinois. Our strength comes from your support.

John Shadowens- Spero President/CEO

Spero Amazon Wish List

We have made donating to Spero easier than ever. Just click on this Spero Amazon link for the most up-to-date items we need for various programs and families. Once on the wish list, add an item to your cart and it will be shipped directly to us. We will continue to add items as they are needed. For more information on how to support Spero Family Services visit our website.

YouthBuild Success!

We love to share success stories from our programs with the public. This week we would like to share a story of a former participant of our YouthBuild program.
Shaylyn Stover was a participant with the YouthBuild Program October 2017-April 2018. Shaylyn attained her GED in March 2018. She was in the Rend Lake College Bridge Program. When Shaylyn came to the Youthbuild program she had an unstable living situation. Her situation made it difficult to care for her child. Thankfully her family was able to take care of her child, so she could get back on her feet. Shaylyn showed great determination and did an exceptional job during her time at YouthBuild. Shaylyn’s drive and determination continues beyond YouthBuild. She is working a full time job, and has her own apartment. Shaylyn’s child is back in her care. Shaylyn also had a baby in October 2019. She is continuing to provide a stable environment for her family. Shaylyn is a strong independent women and it was a privilege to work with Shaylyn during her time at YouthBuild. Shaylyn shared some words of wisdom to help current and future YouthBuild participants.
“There will be people who tell you that you wont amount to anything. I know, I did, but I always remember two quotes.”
“When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom, or criticize you, remember they’re telling you their story, not yours.”
-Cynthia Occelli
“The future belongs to those who believe in the future of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
“Don’t listen to the haters. You got this!”
If you or someone you know are interested in our YouthBuild program, visit or call 618/533-5288 or 618/242-6723.
They are accepting applications until March 2nd for the next cohort, so now is a perfect time to get started!
#YouthBuild #EarnAsYouLearn

Pause, Ponder, and Pray

Pause: Breathe in deeply, feeling your breath spread through your body. Breathe out, and relax. Repeat. Repeat.

Ponder: Many people hate to ask others for help, having a strong “I can do it on my own” mentality. It is difficult when we have to rely on someone else during illness or injury, a new baby, a new job.

At times like these it’s important to let go of feeling that we should be able to do it all by ourselves and accept the help of others. Too often we make things worse by trying to do more than we should or by slipping into a feeling of uselessness. It does take strength and insight to accept that we, just like every other human being, have limitations.

Actually though, a deep feeling of gratitude can develop as we ask for and accept help. We can learn aspects of God’s heart through others that we simply can’t learn alone. Accepting our limitations leads to humility, gratitude, and a deeper understanding of being human; which enables us to be that much more compassionate in the world.

Pray: Where or how do you need help? Have you considered the possibility that God is trying to help you through others? Talk to God about this.


It is foolish to be too confident. Those who ask for advice are wise and will escape disaster.     Proverbs 28:26