top of page

Reenergized and ready to spring forward

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

This year, springtime feels extra energizing at FamilyForward, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Erica Chianelli, Executive Director of FamilyForward
Erica Chianelli, Executive Director of FamilyForward

I always feel reenergized in the spring. As temperatures begin to rise, the sound of chirping birds fills the air, and flowers start their blooming, the prospect of summer just over the horizon gives me a boost. This year, springtime feels extra energizing at FamilyForward, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary. Reflecting on the countless ways our wonderful community of supporters have powered and partnered with this organization since 2003, FF staff and board members feel both grateful and reenergized. And this energy will sustain us as we spring forward into the future, adapting to changing needs and growing community connections to better serve families as we go.

Tapping our roots

On January 26, we invited faith organizations from across the northwest suburbs to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library for a breakfast gathering. The objective was to build awareness of the services we provide — and it definitely was a reenergizing session. Over 40 representatives of various faith organizations gathered to forge new partnerships and collaborate to better serve those in need in our community.

We welcome the opportunity to increase involvement by local faith organizations and work together to pool resources. After all, the faith community has been at the heart of our organization since its inception. Formerly Faith Community Homes, FamilyForward was formed in 2003 at the initiative of the Arlington Heights Ministerial Association. We continue to work with wonderful, dedicated church partners who have provided not only financial support over the years, but also in-kind support, office space and volunteers.

For example, the Presbyterian Women group of First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights donates items every month for our families, ranging from cleaning supplies to paper products to hygiene items. PW members helped with our annual appeal mailing last fall. They also donate gift cards for the holidays and provide regular financial support. Their ongoing dedication to our mission is inspiring.

Similarly, the Women of St. James group at St. James Parish in Arlington Heights annually provides gift cards for families for the holidays. Its members also write Mother’s Day cards to our families every year. We are so grateful for this grassroots engagement and hope to build more support from both faith-based groups and other types of community organizations.

Nurturing new growth

Are you feeling reenergized and motivated to help your neighbors in need this spring? If so, we have a variety of volunteer opportunities. Perhaps you are part of a book club, neighborhood association, social organization or friend group that would like to get more involved in giving back to the community. Maybe you want to join one of our committees, become a mentor or use your creative juices in the makerspace at the library. Whatever your interests, please reach out to me at to learn more!


bottom of page