Youthbuild program launches donation drive to support residents of nature trail health and rehab center

The Spero YouthBuild Program is inviting the community to give back this holiday season. For Giving Tuesday, the program decided to take on a community project by creating donation gift boxes for the residents of Nature Trail Health and Rehab Center. The hope is to provide them with items such as coloring books, colored pencils, puzzles, word searches, card games, hand warmers, and stuffed animals. To make this a reality, the program is asking individuals to visit any of the seven drop-off locations in town to donate any of these items that would bring a smile to the residents at Nature Trail this holiday season.

John Hayes, a YouthBuild participant, explained, “When I learned that we would be working on a project to give back to our community, I immediately thought about Nature Trail Nursing Home as a good place to give back to. Elders deserve love too, and they are often the forgotten part of our community. There is no reason why they should be forgotten about. A little bit of love goes a long way.” Donation boxes are set up around town at Spero’s Counseling and Wellness Center, Wilford’s Printing, Parkway Shoe Repair, Trinity’s Beauty, YouthBuild, Mount Vernon Baptist Temple, and Waltonville Baptist Church. Donations will be accepted at any of these locations until December 12th.

YouthBuild is a program that is free for young adults who are 16-24 years old and need a certificate of High School Equivalency (HSE/GED). The program is six months long and integrates work experience with education, occupational skills development in construction and other career pathways, support services, leadership development, and alumni success.

Enrollment for YouthBuild is now open! If you want to enroll or learn more about the program, please call (618) 242-6723 or visit

Annual Report 22-23

Spero Youth Home Receives a Fresh New Look

Take a look at the amazing transformation in our Transitional Living Program. With fresh paint, new flooring, and stylish décor, our youth can now enjoy a more comfortable and welcoming space. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children Inc for their continuous support and for their help in making this home one our youth will cherish.
Are you looking for ways to contribute? Explore our Amazon list at to support and enrich the lives of youth by filling their homes with an assortment of books, games, household essentials, and more.

Spero Foster Care Program Exceeds DCFS Goal

Spero Family Services, Foster Care Program celebrated exceeding their goal of achieving permanency for specialized foster youth in FY23. The team was recognized by Associate Deputy Director Deborah Kennedy and her team. During FY23, Spero’s Foster Care Program surpassed DCFS’s goal for placing children in adopted homes, with guardianships or returning the children home. Specialized Foster Care services for youth with mental health/behavioral special needs and/ or medical/developmental special needs.

Spero’s Foster Care Program received a program expansion from the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) to serve Home of Relative cases. Home of Relative Foster Care serves children placed in a licensed relative’s home due to experiencing abuse, neglect, dependence, or needing an out-of-home placement. “Spero has been given the opportunity to expand our Foster Care program. We have been serving Jefferson County and surrounding areas for many years and look forward to being able to support more children and families in our community! I truly believe that we wouldn’t be able to do our work without our foster parents’ continued dedication, says Elizabeth Carson, Adoption and Permanency Specialist.

Spero Family Services Foster Care Program is located on the 3rd Floor of The Mt. Vernon Innovation Hub located at 123 S. 10th Street.

A Splashing Success: Parents As Teachers Program Hosts Memorable Pool Party

When it comes to the perfect summer combination, nothing beats the warm sun, cool water, and the company of great people. This was the scene at the recent pool party hosted by the Parents As Teachers Program at the Mt. Vernon Aquatic Zoo. This joyous event brought together the program’s clients and their families for a day filled with laughter, sweet treats, water play, and a well-deserved cool-down from the summer heat. The success of this event would not have been possible without the invaluable support of Cornerstone United Methodist Church Centralia, whose transportation assistance ensured that everyone could enjoy this special day. The Parents As Teachers Program understands the importance of creating memorable experiences for families, and the pool party perfectly exemplified this belief. The event brought parents, children, and caregivers together for a day of laughter and bonding. As the little ones joyfully splashed and played in the water, parents and caregivers had the opportunity to relax, unwind, and connect with others facing similar parenting journeys. The pool party provided a much-needed break from the daily routine and a chance for families to create lasting memories in a safe and inclusive environment.

Spero Employees Gather for quarterly Fleet Retreat

Spero hosted our quarterly Fleet Retreat at Mount Vernon First United Methodist Church. More than eighty of our employees gathered for Spero updates, socialization, and great food. During this event, our leadership team provided us with agency updates, gave a recap of the last fiscal year, and introduced new core values. All of our programs participated in an agency program fair that provided attendees with opportunities to learn more about each program. This fun-filled day allowed us to celebrate the work that we do, unwind, and enjoy the presence of each other. Thank you Taco Jo’s for catering the delicious food menu!

Spero Host 28th Golf Tournament

July 7th was a perfect day for our 28th Annual Golf Classic! With amazing weather, a good group of golfers, donors, sponsors, and volunteers, our 28th Annual Golf Classic was a major success! Thank you all for your support and contributions to our organization. A special thanks to People’s National Bank of Salem for being our tournament sponsor. We appreciate your continued support!