Lucy Rider and Josiah S. Meyer are born, meet, marry and found the Chicago Training School (CTS), Chicago Deaconess Home and Wesley Hospital, collaborating with Jane Addams (Hull House) on settlement house strategies.
In response to an economic recession that left many children orphaned and homeless, founding trustee, Lucy Rider Meyer, and the organization’s first matron, Deaconess Abigail Simonds, started the Methodist Deaconess Orphanage in Lake Bluff, IL to provide shelter, food and education for six children from Chicago.
Ms. Lucy J. Judson became the first superintendent of the Methodist Deaconess Orphanage, expanding in just four years the number of kids in care from six to 70, services to include foster care and adoption, and the organization’s fundraising efforts to bring in additional resources for the children.
Two of the Orphanage’s most generous benefactors, Mrs. Mary Marilla Hobbs (pictured) and her husband James B. Hobbs, one-time president of the Chicago Board of Trade, donated two buildings — a dormitory and dining hall — to provide a family-style living environment for the children.
Norman Wait Harris, founder of Harris Bank (now BMO Harris), donated the funds to construct another dormitory, which allowed the Orphanage to provide a safe home for 149 children and 29 staff.
After the local school board denied the children of the Methodist Deaconess Orphange access to the public schools, William Deering, co-founder of International Harvester Company (now Navistar and CNH Industrial), funded the construction of an on-campus school, named in his honor, to ensure our children received a quality education.
Chicago meatpacking titan, Gustavus Swift, and his family, (namesake of Chicago’s Swift & Sons restaurant) contributed the funds for the construction of the Swift Medical Center to keep our kids safe and healthy. The facility later expanded to include a dental office and baby nursery.
Judson Hall, the children’s dormitory, was built to house additional children and dedicated in honor of Superintendent Lucy J. Judson.
Also during this time, children began to receive mental health assessments and treatment to work through the trauma they had experienced.
After retiring as principal of the Chicago Training School in 1917, founding trustee, Lucy Rider Meyer, passed away, leaving behind a legacy of placing the safety, well-being and education of kids above everything else that continues today.
After serving for more than 25 years as superintendent and overseeing the care of nearly 2,000 children, Lucy Judson retired.
She was succeeded by Jessie Arbuckle (pictured).
The Mackey Community Center was donated and built to educate the Orphanage’s children in preschool and grade school, as well as provide a space for recreational activities for all the kids on campus.
The Orphanage is renamed the Lake Bluff Orphanage.
Lake Bluff Orphanage receives a new name, Lake Bluff Children’s Home.
Lake Bluff campus closes. The Agency is renamed Lake Bluff-Chicago Homes for Children (LBCHFC).
Operations shift to four neighborhoods in Chicago and Round Lake.
LBCHFC supports 27 foster homes and two multi-family group homes, and develops both school-focused and after-school programs.
Comprehensive, community-based services begin. Agency receives Council on Accreditation certification and adopts the name of ChildServ.
ChildServ celebrates 100 years of building better lives for impoverished children and families in the Chicago area.
38 different services are offered at 17 sites in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties.
ChildServ proudly launches the Military and Veterans Family Program to provide counseling, educational and housing support for children, former and current military personnel and their spouses, helping to ease their transition into civilian life.
Our home-based early childhood learning program expands into Kane County, helping kids ages 0-3 become ready for school and parents to become their child’s first teacher.
ChildServ’s kindergarten-readiness program for 3-5-year-olds, HIPPY, is offered to children and families in Chicago’s south suburbs.
Through a partnership with the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation, counseling services are made available to youth whose family members have been victims of homicide.
ChildServ’s Doula program in Lake County begins, providing support to prenatal women and new moms to make sure they have the best possible start to their lives together. The program expands in early 2020 into the city of Chicago.
ChildServ starts offering mental health services to families in Lake County, so that they have the resources to heal from trauma and improve their social, emotional and family function.
The agency adopts an exciting new name and identity, Kids Above All, highlighting our belief in putting the safety, well-being and education of kids above everything else.