Fun crafts highlight Changing Children's Worlds Foundation event in St. Charles

  • Changing Children's Worlds Foundation staff show items to be used for crafts, silent auction and raffles for their upcoming Holiday Kids and Crafts Fair. From left, in the nonprofit's Geneva office, are operations assistant Daniel Park, executive director Kim Svevo and education manager Natalie VandenVos. The event will be held Nov. 13 at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles.

    Changing Children's Worlds Foundation staff show items to be used for crafts, silent auction and raffles for their upcoming Holiday Kids and Crafts Fair. From left, in the nonprofit's Geneva office, are operations assistant Daniel Park, executive director Kim Svevo and education manager Natalie VandenVos. The event will be held Nov. 13 at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted11/5/2021 6:00 AM

Kim Svevo has spent the better part of three decades focusing on preventing child abuse and neglect. But a shift in focus from "fixing" kids who have suffered abuse to one in which parents are supported in a way to greatly decrease the chances of abuse taking place, to begin with, has fueled Svevo's determination to, well, change a child's world.

As executive director of the Changing Children's Worlds Foundation in Geneva since 2010, Svevo has seen her program become ingrained in communities across the Chicago metro region.

 

"It doesn't mean that our program is for bad parents; it just means all of us could be a little better and, as a result, our kids are going to be a little stronger and a little better," Svevo said. "Our program is used universally by countries around the world."

Svevo first learned about the fundamentals of what would become the Changing Children's Worlds program more than a decade ago when working as executive director of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, a job she had for 14 years.

"I was exposed to a program (International Child Development Program) that UNICEF was supporting along with the government of Colombia when I was in that country to support them with child protection input," she said. "I learned about this UNICEF program and heard from that organization, government leaders and parents about how it was changing their lives."

It didn't take long for Svevo to bring the concept back to this area, setting up her foundation and a network of mental health experts and volunteers to become training partners.

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Changing Children's Worlds Foundation is preparing for its upcoming Holiday Kids and Crafts Fair.
Changing Children's Worlds Foundation is preparing for its upcoming Holiday Kids and Crafts Fair. - Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Organizations like TriCity Family Services operate as a community outreach partner and use the Changing Children's Worlds "Best Start" program at various locations and gatherings. The foundation also gets support from the Tri-Cities Exchange Club, of which Svevo is a member and has a national mission of preventing child abuse.

"The unique aspect of our program is that it is an evidence-based curriculum that spans a spectrum of everything a parent would need to know, starting with understanding our roles as caregivers," Svevo added. "It covers what empathy is and what are positive communications."

How a person communicates with every family member, not just the children, is examined as well, Svevo noted. "Once we have that relationship, bond, attachment and trust of our children that they believe what we want is best for them, we can be their trusted teacher."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The program also covers discipline but calls it "regulation" and how it comes into play through positive communications and emotional and social literacy, she added. "It's about setting boundaries while helping our kids think strategically about situations and motivating them to make good decisions, not only for themselves but for others around them."

The foundation staff and volunteers are preparing a first for the organization -- a fundraiser that focuses on the kids having a good time. In the past, fundraisers have mostly targeted adults willing to donate.

The Kids and Crafts Fair, aimed at kids ages 5 to teens, is set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Baker Community Center in St. Charles. Kids will have access to all sorts of craft projects, including making a protective mask at the event.

The foundation is teaming up with the St. Charles Veterans Center to host the event, as local veterans, mayors and other community officials are scheduled to visit.

Kids earn points for the activities and use those points to cash in for prizes at the fair's bookstore and curiosity shop. Tickets are $6 for kids to participate in 10 activities, with extra crafts sessions being $3 each. You can purchase tickets at the changingchildrensworlds.org website under the fundraisers link.

If the event has not reached its 150 participants limit, tickets will be sold to walk-ins the day of the event.

"We are hoping parents will find this to be a fun, healthy way to spend time together," Svevo said. "It's about finding joy over the holidays in doing these simple things."

In a building off midway

When the Kane County Flea Market draws big crowds to the fairgrounds, it makes Irv Brummel of St. Charles believe it was a good move to showcase his custom furniture in one of the buildings on site.

When the crowds are thinner, Brummel feels like he's on an island by himself because Brummel Woodworking is in the Centennial Building on the fairgrounds site along Randall Road in St. Charles. It's the red brick building on the left if you were pulling in off the old entrance on Randall.

That building has been around for about 70 years. It was initially built as a small theater for local plays.

As a Kane County Fair Board member for about 45 years, Brummel has seen that building transform.

"We converted it to our board offices and used it for about 25 years, and then we built a new building [on the fairgrounds site] and moved our office, so that building was empty, and I moved my woodworking stuff in," Brummel said of the arrangement he made with the fair board to rent that site.

But he now finds himself in a building that doesn't stand out like the newer, larger structures. In hopes it will draw folks his way, Brummel puts signs up and down the midway at the fairgrounds to let flea market shoppers know his building is tucked away closer to Randall Road.

Flea market patrons enter the fairgrounds off the Prairie Street extension, the same path those going to the Costco Warehouse would use. Market-goers park on the far west side of the fairgrounds and enter through a gate on that side to begin visiting vendors.

Brummel Woodworking is on the east end, about as far away from potential customers as one can be on a flea market weekend.

"I'm off the beaten path, so I just want people to know where I am," he said. "If the fairgrounds are full and the crowds come all the way up to me, then it is OK. But if it isn't, I don't get anybody, except those who follow the signs."

For a guy who has devoted so much of his life to the Kane County Fair Board and has been involved in so many events and activities on that site, the least I can do is mention he's selling stuff out there. But you need to know which building he's in.

The final flea market for 2021 takes place this weekend, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7.

No drive-through is key

After I wondered in print last week why a Starbucks of any kind would ever consider closing, reader David VenHorst had a response that made sense.

With the Starbucks on First Street in St. Charles recently closing and one on Main Street next to the Arcada closing years ago, VenHorst said he hears Starbucks generally -- and eventually -- closes its stores that do not have a drive-through.

VenHorst works for Tenant Advisors Inc., which helps clients locate office space and work out beneficial leases.

He notes Starbucks on State Street in Geneva has so far avoided that fate but speculates it could only be a matter of time.

We've all seen the long drive-through lines at Starbucks locations, especially in the mornings. Because Starbucks added mobile order-ahead options for customers, the drive-through becomes even more vital.

A burger hiatus

This past week, folks seeking a burger at The Burger Local restaurant on Third Street in Geneva may not have known the site is closed for another week while some inside remodeling takes place.

Restaurant operators are encouraging those needing a Burger Local fix before the 577 S. Third St. site reopening to get one at the Wheaton location.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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