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Mooseheart will benefit from the volunteer efforts of nearly 500 Kohl's employees who will beautify the campus on April 14. Kohl's representatives will also present a check for $63,000 to Moose Charities.
MOOSEHEART, April 9 - It is hard to tell which organization is more excited about the forthcoming Saturday, April 14 cleanup and beautification day at Mooseheart Child City & School - Kohl’s, which is providing nearly 500 people to do the work, or Mooseheart, which is going to benefit from the Saturday morning of donated time by those good-hearted souls from 8 a.m. to noon.
Take, for example, Stephanie Krauss, store manager of the Kohl’s store in St. Charles, who says, “It’s awesome. Whenever I go to Mooseheart, I feel so good. I get so excited to help.”
Then there is Mooseheart Superintendent of Education Gary Urwiler, who brings the same hurricane-like enthusiasm to every such effort on the 1,000-acre campus. On Saturday, Kohl’s employees--all volunteers--will be painting fences, mulching, planting shrubs and trees and doing other activities to help make a 99-year-old campus, which always glistens in springtime, look just a little more beautiful. There will be work done on the horse corral at the farm complex and some improvement work will be done at each of the campus’ residence homes.
“This is about creating enthusiasm for us to be able to give information about our mission,” Urwiler said. “It’s about the compelling nature of people who want to get out and to provide a service with what they are doing.”
This is the third year Kohl’s employees have come to Mooseheart to help with a “Green Event.” In that time, the event has grown from just the St. Charles store to this year, where 50 stores from across Illinois and northwest Indiana are attending.
“When we go to Mooseheart, not only do we get to work on the campus, we get to work with the kids too,” Strauss said. “It is so impactful to see the kids. You look at what you’re doing, and you know you’re helping with their education. And those kids are so grateful, they smile when you’re there.”
The clean-up event carries a deeper financial dimension. Kohl’s financially supports its employees’ efforts to participate in Green Events to the level that Strauss and her colleagues will present a check for $63,000 to Urwiler and Executive Director Scott Hart on Saturday.
“I cry every time I go there,” Krauss said. “So many people don’t know it’s there, but once you find out about this amazing place, you want to go back and help.”
Krauss not only helps through her efforts with Kohl’s, she has taken the extra step of becoming a member of the Moose fraternity, the organization that supports Mooseheart. Krauss is a member of Mooseheart, IL Chapter 3001 in the Women of the Moose.
““It’s been a great situation to work with (Krauss’) passion and zeal for what she does at Kohl’s,” Urwiler said. “And she’s definitely bought in as a member and has seen what her membership can do change the lives of the children here. She definitely is an energy.”
The $63,000 donation to Moose Charities, Moose International’s 501[c]3 fundraising corporation will go to help with Mooseheart’s efforts to renovate its school building, Hart said.
“Every dollar that comes into Mooseheart comes to help us raise and to help us educate the children here,” Hart said. “Every dollar we receive is appreciated. But when you move into the level beyond $50,000, you are talking about money that will have an immediate impact on our operating expenses and the future, and we are looking to use this money to bring our school building into the 21st century.”
Hart said just how the Kohl’s donation can help Mooseheart’s school building is, as yet, uncertain.
“The school was built in 1954 and it needs work,” Hart said. “We are strategizing to make that work, but we know that this money will go toward some form of renovation in the school.”
Stores involved in the event include Krauss’ St. Charles stores and others from Kohl’s District 12: Spring Hill, Hodkins, Batavia, Woodridge, Stratford Square, Downers Grove, South Elgin and DeKalb. Also involved are stores from District 19: Arlington Heights, Gurnee, Crystal Lake, Round Lake, McHenry, Vernon Hills, Glenview, Lake Zurich, Algonquin and Woodstock. Among other stores sending volunteers are four from Indiana.
“I called (Urwiler) and I told him that I had told him we were talking about 10 stores coming, but now it was 50--and he got right back to me and said he was excited about working with us to make it happen,” Krauss said.
Volunteers will gather at 8 a.m. A brief ceremony is scheduled at Mooseheart’s football stadium at 8:45 with the clean-up/beautification starting at 9.
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 230 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $70 million worth of community service programs annually.