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Stories that Connect: June 11 at 7 PM


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Social disruption leads to change

Kaleidoscope stands with the people demonstrating against racism, police violence and other injustices in Chicago and across the country.

We work every day to empower children, youth and adults to build safe, supportive homes and nurturing families. Our kids are incredibly resilient, despite experiencing racism, abuse, neglect and more atop generations of trauma. With the right care, they heal and lead the happy, successful lives that all of us dream of for our kids.

Multiple systems are broken that lead to abuse and neglect. We know the conditions that lead to harm: poverty, racism, generational trauma, lack of access to healthcare and mental health services, criminalization of drug use, hunger and housing instability to name a few. Our city, state and country must do more to dismantle the failed systems in place and prioritize budgets and other resources for the evidence-based, youth-informed programs that children, youth and families need.

Social disruption leads to change. We’ve seen it in the last few days, weeks and years. We are working for more to come.

Please be safe and take care of each other.

Black lives matter.

Black lives matter. Kaleidoscope will continue to be a house of refuge and safety for our children and families and build resourcefulness and resiliency in our youth and families.

The majority of the children and youth we serve are black boys. They see, feel and experience the enduring violence against black people in our country. They need supportive communities more than most children, but our city, state and country all too often fail them.

At Kaleidoscope, the young people we serve are at a higher risk for being victims of violence. Most have experienced abuse or neglect in their biological homes. Many have been placed with foster families, who provide the stability and care they need, but who still mark the loss of a biological family. We know that all young people want and need to feel like they belong, but the young people we serve often don’t – and they have the additional hurdles of trauma to overcome.

Our programs directly address these issues. We find stable, loving homes for children and teens. We ensure they stay in their communities, so they can build life-long networks of support. We equip foster parents with the skills needed to build the stability and trust that young people need to thrive. We focus each of our interactions with children in our care on these key relationships. But there are complications.

Some of our young people have been hurt over the weekend. We’re doing additional outreach to all of our youth now to check on them, their families and their immediate communities. We want to make sure our young people stay safe while also respecting their need to connect to their own community.  We’re staying committed and thoughtful. 

Please be careful and safe. Check in on the young people in your life. And please gather with us for Stories that Connect on June 11 to hear, acknowledge and support the families in our care. 

Our Work Doesn’t Stop

Dear Kaleidoscope Community –

Earlier this week, I let you know the ways we are keeping our teams, families and communities safe during this global health crisis. Things have changed even in the last few days, and I want to share with you what our work looks like right now.

This week, one of our clinicians spent an entire day with one of our youth who was in a psychiatric crisis and thinking about hurting himself. She talked with him on one phone while she called 911 on another, and she stayed talking to him until the ambulance arrived. Then she immediately drove to the hospital to meet him there, so he wasn’t alone. She stayed with him for more than three hours, but she was asked to leave due to the COVID-19 threat.

This is the reality of our work every day, and even in a pandemic. As part of our city’s first responders to child abuse, our teams are on the front lines of our communities to keep children, youth and young adults safe.

Our team has pulled together to determine how to continue our work, develop a solid plan, and take action to ensure that all our children and families get the resources and support they need. And I’m hearing stories like this one every day, of our team’s amazing ability to deliver critical, life-saving care for our kids.

Every family we serve has experienced trauma and, in one way or another, lacks the stability that so many of us are able to take for granted. These families – these kids – rely on us, and we absolutely must be available to them during this time. We’re constantly balancing the needs of our families and staff, while meeting the latest health guidelines.

The work we do at Kaleidoscope does not stop, but the state and DCFS will not be covering the costs of vital supplies during this crisis. With the postponement of our fundraising event, the instability of our state funding, and the increased costs to keep vulnerable families safe, we need your support now more than ever.

Please give now to help us sustain our vital services in the community. Our kids are counting on us, and we cannot let them down.


Thank you,

Kathy Grzelak, LCPC
Executive Director
Kaleidoscope, Inc.

Serving Families, Staying Safe

March 16, 2020

Dear Kaleidoscope Community –

This is a challenging time for all of us, as we are living in a time of shared concern and caution. I wanted to let you know how we are doing our part to reduce exposure to illness and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our teams, our families and our community.

Effective immediately, we will be working remotely through close of business on Monday, March 30. As ever, our teams will remain in close communication with our families and will be maintaining the safety, health and well-being of every child, youth and young adult.

Protecting our children – as ever

We will continue scheduled check-ins with families whenever possible, except if they are ill or categorized as high risk under the CDC guidelines. Seeing children is at the core of what we do to ensure their safety, and we cannot break this commitment – especially in times of crisis.

We will be in regular contact with every one of our families to further minimize disruption in services and meet their changing needs. We will also provide them with the latest expert-recommended guidance for their health and safety.

Protecting our staff

Nearly everyone on our staff has the ability to work remotely in some capacity year-round. We have further equipped our team with essential tools stay safe and maintain close communication, including remote work procedures, laptops, gloves and sanitizers.

We have also expanded our PTO policy to allow our staff the time they need to care for themselves and their families.

Protecting our community

All large gatherings, such as trainings, meetings and tours, will be postponed or occur via video/phone conferencing if possible. Visitors to our offices will be limited to essential services only, and only pre-approved visitors will be allowed. No in-kind donations will be accepted during March and April.

Our annual fundraiser, Stories that CONNECT, has been postponed. We will announce a new date via our website and social platforms as available.

As the situation and CDC, IDPH and CDPH recommendations continue to develop, we will be working around the clock to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our teams, families and community. Thank you for your patience as we and our our entire nation adapt to these new circumstances.

As a final note, I want to assure you that our primary focus remains the safety of the children, youth and young adults we serve. Our essential services are being delivered differently, but we will not disrupt the vital care and support that our young people need and deserve.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your primary staff member directly or reach out to me.

Stay well,
Kathy Grzelak, LCPC
Executive Director
Kaleidoscope, Inc.

P.S. The state has told us that they will NOT be covering the costs of our additional supplies to ensure our staff, children’s and community’s safety. Your gift right now will sustain our vital programs during and after this crisis. Thank you!

Esmeralda is awesome!

“I just hope that every other child can get the help and opportunities that I’ve received from Kaleidoscope.”

Through each of our programs, Kaleidoscope’s expert teams strive to empower our young people to achieve their dreams. We are committed to listening, affirming and believing in their potential, then making it happen. But we can’t help young people succeed without your help.

We are incredibly proud of Esmeralda and every young person who counts on Kaleidoscope to help youth overcome trauma, succeed and thrive. Give now to make a lasting impact for Chicago’s kids.


GivingTuesday 2019

We are just $2,000 from our goal to provide specialized therapy, arts camps and other enrichment programs for kids healing from trauma in Chicago. Help us meet our goal for #GivingTuesday!


Holiday Giving 2019

The holidays can be tough for children in care, but you can help make the holidays – and every day – bright for kids healing from trauma. Here’s how.

Donate on Giving Tuesday, December 3

On this international day of giving, YOU can ensure our children and families receive the support they need in the midst of trauma and other challenges. Donations make our therapy, case management, arts camps and other enrichment activities possible throughout the year. Donate or set up a Facebook fundraiser for Kaleidoscope.


Give a little every time you shop – at no cost to you! By starting your shopping at and setting Kaleidoscope as your charity of choice, .05% of every purchase you make will be donated to us, with no additional payment on your end. Start your Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other holiday shopping at

Gift Drive – THANK YOU!

Our kids and families are fully sponsored for this year! Thank you to everyone who has contributed gifts, donations or their time to make our families’ holidays bright. Make a financial gift to help our families throughout the year.

Transfer Gifts of Stock

Kaleidoscope has now partnered with Merrill Lynch to accept gifts of stock.  Not only will you support children, youth, and families with your donation, you will also receive many tax benefits.  Please contact us with any questions or to get started.

Your Financial Advisor can assist you in making a gift of stock via a direct transfer to Kaleidoscope, Inc. Giving a gift of publicly traded stock that has increased in value and that you have owned for more than one year may provide greater tax benefits than giving cash. Your charitable income-tax deduction is equal to the fair market value of the stock and you avoid paying the capital gains tax on any increase in the current value over the original cost of the stock.  You may also save by not incurring brokerage fees because you are transferring ownership rather than selling the stock.

Provide the following information to your Financial Advisor:

Broker: Merrill Lynch
Account Name: Kaleidoscope INC
Account Number: 841-02732
DTC Number: 8862
Financial Advisor: Amanda Barclay
(p) 516 498-3308
(email) [email protected]

Note: Kaleidoscope, Inc’s policy is that stock is sold on the same day as received. However, Merrill Lynch must be notified that the stock transfer has occurred. For assistance, or if have any questions regarding donations of stock, please contact [email protected] or 773-292-4076.

Artists That Spark – An Inspiring Evening

Thank you to everyone who supported Kaleidoscope at Artists That Spark in July! We are grateful for all of the talented performers who shared their passions with us. It was a unique evening filled with laughter, entertainment and inspiration! Hats off to Kaleidoscope’s Associate Board for hosting such an extraordinary event!

Sunflower Summit (Sunflower Summit) – Folk/Pop Artist
Raphael Mathis (@rmpoetic) – Spoken Word Artist
Lyk Seven – Rap Artist
Danielle Jones – Jazz/Pop Artist
JW Basilio (JW Basilo) – Music and Poetry Artist
Amer Abdullah (Amer Abdullah) – Comedian
Cristina McCrystal (The McCrystalizor) – Hula Hoop Dancer
Nicole Muto-Graves (Nicole Muto-Graves) – Folk/Pop Artist
Wyatt Waddell – Singer/Songwriter