Four Oaks Kicks off TotalChild Commit to a Child Campaign

September 25, 2013

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Four Oaks Kicks off TotalChild Commit to a Child Campaign CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Four Oaks today launched the public phase of its TotalChild Commit to a Child campaign, announcing it has raised $3.86 million of its $6 million campaign goal. TotalChild is based on the idea that when children hurdle all obstacles to success, then families, homes, neighborhoods and communities are stronger.

Of the $6 million campaign goal, $3 million will be devoted to Four Oaks’ TotalChild programing addressing youth mental health, education, family unit support and safety. The remaining $3 million will go toward housing improvements being made by the Affordable Housing Network, Inc. in Wellington Heights to fulfill children’s basic needs of safe and stable homes.

“We are very grateful to the Hall-Perrine Foundation, Campaign Co-Chairs Chris and Suzy DeWolf, Campaign Co-Chairs Kyle and Susan Skogman, Donna Oldorf, John and Dyan Smith, United Fire Foundation, McIntyre Foundation, Aegon  Transamerica Foundation, World Class Industries, Union Electricians and Employers (IBEW #405 & NECA) and two anonymous donors for their lead gifts,” said Jim Ernst, Four Oaks President and CEO.  “Their kindness has jump-started this important campaign to help even more at-risk children and their families get on the path to success.” 

TotalChild is Four Oaks’ comprehensive and long-term approach for helping children and families. The approach helps families with skills like parenting, financial literacy, job training, housing assistance and education. TotalChild employs success managers to work with at-risk children and their families to stabilize children’s current needs and implement a plan to meet the family’s long-term needs and goals.

“TotalChild is a better way to deliver social services, and Four Oaks has helped hundreds of families,” said TotalChild campaign co-chair, Chris DeWolf. “TotalChild is different from other human-services approaches that only address one childhood problem at a time and is unique in that we help kids hurdle all obstacles to success all the way into adulthood.”

According to Ernst, the $3 million designated for TotalChild programming will help children overcome behavioral and cognitive problems and will connect children with community partners. These resources are coordinated by success managers who work with the children and their families.
“We believe that every child and family can be successful, and our success managers offer encouragement and hope,” said Ernst. “They do not judge. When everyone else is telling these kids and families they can’t, our success managers are telling them they can and will.”
Another $3 million will be earmarked for Wellington Heights renovation.  The Wellington Heights neighborhood initiative will help families eventually become homeowners in a safe and supportive community.

“When we think about the hurdles some of these children face daily, we are compelled to get involved,” said Kyle Skogman, campaign co-chair. “Now, we ask community members to give what they can to this important campaign to help get our most vulnerable youth on the right path to become successful adults and strengthen our communities in the long-term.” 

In Iowa, 100,000 children live in poverty and 25,000 children are victims of abuse and neglect each year. Four Oaks, and its affiliates, serves 14,000 children and families every year in a variety of child welfare, behavioral health and criminal justice programs. “TotalChild has been a blessing to our family.  We hope it will result in more help for families who live throughout Linn County and in the Wellington Heights neighborhood,” said Mariana Hendricks, a TotalChild mother. “Our life has been transformed because of it.  I feel like I have a family partnership that will help me raise my child so he and I can be successful.” 
There are many ways to get involved and Commit to a Child. Gifts may be made in cash, pledges, securities, bequests, real estate, life insurance or personal property. Gifts can sponsor a TotalChild, a success manager or a renovated home, apartment or home supplies.

The Commit to a Child campaign steering committee is co-chaired by Chris and Suzy DeWolf and Kyle and Susan Skogman. Other steering committee members include: John and Thelma Rife; Kathy and Rex Eno; John and Dyan Smith; Lydia Brown; Steve Allsop; Brian Scott; Dina Dusk; Diane Ramsey; Lisa Rhatigan; Karl Hoffman; Duane Smith; Sally Novetzke; Dan Thies; and Doug Neighbor.

For more information about TotalChild and the Commit to a Child campaign, visit