Scaling New Heights!

by Pat Drake

Friendship House serves about 10,000 individuals each year, providing hope, respect and guidance towards a path to prosperity.

For over 66 years, Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service has been serving the individuals and families most in need in the Peoria area, but now they are better equipped to guide those families with services that will help them rise above poverty.

It’s easy to say that you help others, but when you hear from those who have been truly helped and had their lives changed, you can really feel the impact. And Friendship House is having a big impact on the lives of those they serve.

Serving Our Neighbors
I especially enjoyed hearing about the children who are part of the Friendship House Academy, which encourages the children and their parents to see that “all things are possible,” and holds up a bar of excellence within their reach.

Arianna HernandezLeticia Hernandez has two children who attend on a daily basis. Her nine-year-old son is a straight-A student, but her younger daughter, Arianna, was struggling in school. Her kindergarten teacher had expressed concern about Arianna being able to pass into first grade. Leticia shared this with the staff at Friendship House, and they went to work. “Through their one-on-one focus, Arianna will be promoted. I cannot express what a big blessing this is,” Leticia says. “I am very thankful.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Friendship House focuses on utilizing a STEAMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, Service) approach to learning. Leticia gets a monthly statement explaining what her children have been doing, which she says have been a “big help, big impact” in the lives of her children.

Laquanna Dorsey agrees. Her daughter, Denise, has shown so much progress through Friendship House’s tutoring and enrichment activities that she surpassed what her school could provide. All her hard work has paid off, as Denise has been accepted into Washington Gifted School.

In addition, Friendship House provides food to those in need, serving over 114,000 meals through its Friday Night Takeout Program. The organization helped 58 families go from homeless to housed in 2016, and provided more than 7,600 hours of on-the-job employment training for those who needed to serve community hours.

A Unique Fundraiser
What the organization does is not without cost. Friendship House counts on a variety of resources for funding: churches, individuals, private foundations, the Heart of Illinois United Way, LISC, Caterpillar, and limited city and state funding.

This year, the organization has stepped out and launched a new event scheduled for June 10 called “Over the Edge Peoria.” This exciting fundraiser gives everyone a chance to step forward, look over the edge of the Chase Bank Building in downtown Peoria, and rappel off it. It’s guaranteed to appeal to thrill-seekers and those who want to challenge themselves to new levels.

And don’t worry: this activity is completely safe, as Friendship House teamed up with an organization that handles rappelling events all around the United States and Canada. Its team of experts possesses an outstanding safety record and provides the technical expertise, training and equipment needed for everyone to have lots of fun while rappelling down the building. Anyone who has the guts and can raise a minimum of $1,000 can register—no prior experience is required. However, participants must be at least 18 years old and weigh between 110 and 300 pounds. There is a limit of 75 participants, so those who are interested should sign up now.


Peoria Friendship House board and committee members check out the site for “Over The Edge” with Susie Armstrong, Chase Building manager. L-R: Marla Brady, Travis Weaver, Paul Grove, Jason Mott, Melanie McNiff, Denise Jacobus, Susie Armstrong and Art Oakford

Friendship House thought of everything to make this event a hit. If you are afraid to try rappelling, you can sign up and watch from the “Chicken Coop” on the ground. Or you could raise funds to send someone else over the building, as there are challenges for “Toss Your Boss” and “Push Your Pastor”! Once everyone rappels, the fun isn’t over. Participants are invited to stick around for the Edge Peoria Party to celebrate the individuals and families who will receive services because of this event.

Whatever you decide to do, you can be assured that Friendship House is a worthy cause that continues to work quietly in the lives of so many individuals and families to lift them to new levels. iBi

Learn more about Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service at friendship.house.

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