Meet Julie, one of ECFA’s Pregnancy Support Caseworkers! Julie began full-time as a staff member in May of 2019, having previously completed two internships within Intact Family Services and Pregnancy Support Services. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Sociology, and a master’s degree from Aurora University in Social Work.
Julie and her husband, Ray, just celebrated their 10 year wedding anniversary. They have two sons, nine and seven years old, and two dogs. Julie’s favorite thing to do for fun is to go on nature walks with a friend, shop, and sing worship or Broadway songs.
In her work at ECFA, Julie likes working with co-workers who also want to help people in need. She says that the “whole culture and atmosphere of ECFA is warm, inviting, and comfortable because of our shared Christian values. It makes me happy that I can openly ask for prayer, and my co-workers will pray for me. I am not just an employee here, but a sister-in-Christ.”
Something that God has taught Julie recently is that He is her provider through the storms of life. While other family members have been laid off, she is in a stable position that is essential, allowing her not to worry about the next paycheck coming. She shares how it has been great that ECFA understands that we also have our families to take care of at home, and has adapted to the pandemic by adopting work at home protocols. Julie says she feels like God has put her at ECFA to serve others and know that He is in control.
Rita is ECFA’s administrative assistant to the management staff, affectionately called our “Jill of all trades”. Rita has been with ECFA since June of 2007. She has a BS in Communication & Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University.
Rita comes from a big family, being the 9th out of 12 children, with 7 girls and 5 boys. She refers to her family as “large and sprawling”, with family gatherings being a “bit noisy and everyone accused of being talkative”. She and her siblings grew up going to Door County, and Rita still finds herself frequenting the peninsula whenever she can. She currently resides in the DuPage area with her three cats. Rita enjoys anything outdoors, from running to hiking, biking, walking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
For Rita, the best part of working at ECFA is her position, which touches everyone and all programs. She says she is never bored, while often being challenged. and that “everyone has an attitude of excellence and is willing to pitch in wherever needed. Knowing your co-workers have each other’s back is priceless”.
Something that the Lord has shown Rita recently has been through the challenges ECFA has faced in the last three years. She shares how ECFA has been thrown difficulties that they were not prepared for, but that they learned that while the struggle was hard, they got what they needed. They survived and continue to survive challenges because of God’s grace.
Alison has been with ECFA since July of 2020 and works as an Intact Family Services case manager. She attended Taylor University in Indiana where she studied Elementary and Special Education. Since graduating, she has worked in multiple special needs settings and is planning on starting graduate school this year to work towards her Masters in Social Work.
Alison has lived in the Wheaton area her whole life. Growing up, her family did foster care for newborn babies with her parents caring for around 30 infants.
For fun, Alison loves to bake, play board games, listen to podcasts, and go on walks. She also enjoys spending time with children, volunteering at her church, and babysitting the kids of her friends and family.
Alison says that she has really appreciated working at ECFA because of the supportive atmosphere within the entire staff. She shares that having the ability to start the week in prayer with coworkers is an incredible blessing. On the Intact Team, there is always someone willing to help share resources, brainstorm ideas, and provide encouragement.
When asked what God has been teaching her lately, Alison said, “I feel like God has been teaching me more and more about how much I need him. That might seem fairly straightforward, but there is so much I cannot do on my own. I cannot solve the pandemic or fix the challenges the families we work with are walking through. What I can do is pray. I can pray for the leadership of our country and local churches; I can pray for the safety of the children and the hearts of the families on my caseload; and I can pray for peace in knowing God has the whole world in His hands.
Evon has been with ECFA since February of 2021. She currently serves as a Case Worker for Intact Family Services, and has both a bachelors and masters in Social Work. She has worked in a variety of mental health services, as well as a lead teacher for child care. It was through these experiences that she decided to combine her passion and fell in love with nurturing and protecting young children and serving families.
Evon comes from a large, diverse family. She is a mother of a 2 year old and has been married for four years. She loves her little family and says that they are very close knit and love to spend time together.
On her free time, Evon is working on writing and illustrating her own children’s book. She is working on releasing her second book on Amazon, and has always loved to draw and write and considers it a blessing to see her passion come to life in each story.
Evon loves the staff at ECFA and the passion for Christ that is in each employee. She loves being able to come in agreement in prayer during their staff meetings, and openly conversing about Christ in the break room.
When asked what God has been showing her recently, Evon shares how “God continues to show himself faithful in my life and household, especially with finances. As a young family, it has not been easy, but God is always working in our lives, and though you cannot see what he is doing under the surface, after you’ve planted a seed, he continues to nourish the soil. When you follow Christ and strive to live a godly life, the reward is much greater than anything this world can offer. He provides for my family and has never left us!”
Kim recently joined ECFA and is a fast rising star as one of our Intact Family Services Case Workers!
Kim has a BA in Human Services from National Louis University and brings almost twenty years of experience working in residential services with clients with developmental disabilities. She most recently worked at Little City Foundation for the last fourteen years, specializing in working with children with developmental disabilities. A little known fact about Kim was that she began her career with a desire to be a probation officer after completing her college internship with the DuPage County Court House!
She states that she really loves the family atmosphere at ECFA. “The fact that you are able to open up about your faith and pray with one another when we are struggling has been major for me.” She said that what attracted her to apply for her position was the fact that the core mission of ECFA is Christ based and she is very excited to be a new member of the team here.
A self-described “summer person,” Kim loves to go to Chicago Cubs or Kane County Cougars games, swimming, traveling and cookouts. She is a huge Green Bay Packers fan and absolutely adores anything to do with her favorite animals, Pandas!
Kim has family in the Chicagoland area, (including her “son” Gimmers—a 15-year-old tabby cat!) but often travels to Florida to visit, and often travel with, her father. She loves to spend time with friends as well as her church family and their youth group.
God has taught Kim that not everyone is the same. “A big takeaway for me working in the IFS program is truly ‘never judge a book by it’s cover…You never know what someone is going through.’”
She finds her personal strength in her favorite bible verse, Isaiah 40:31.
~ But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~
|Meet Sarah, who is one of our adoption specialists, and who has a really unique background with ECFA. She was with us for her undergraduate internship in 2015 after receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Aurora University. Sarah later went back to school for her Masters in Social Work and interned in the Elmhurst School District. Sarah says, “I felt the Lord calling me back to ECFA.” |
Sarah’s most memorable moment during her tenure at ECFA came with the finalization of her first adoption client…she was overjoyed that a precious child had found their forever home. She stated that she can see God’s hand working through her by helping children being adopted into loving, Christian homes. “Not only are the kids receiving a forever, loving family, but they are being taught the life-changing, eternal love that Jesus has for them.”
Sarah’s favorite thing about working at ECFA is serving with people who love the Lord and strive for the same goals. She warmly says that she has “found support from coworkers through prayer, encouraging notes and listening ears.”
In her free time, Sarah enjoys arts and crafts, reading, walks and day trips with her husband Josh and 15-month-old son, Ethan.
Maria has a truly incredible background in helping others and absolutely loves working with children. Maria truly felt the hand of God gently guiding her to her current position in ECFA’s Intact Family program. Beginning her social work career as a case manager for immigrant youth being detained at the US border, Maria estimates that she took care of and supported hundreds of children from the age of 4 months to 18 years. Many of the children were victims of human trafficking and the depth of their traumas took an excruciating toll on Maria, who is a self-described lover of all people. After years in that position, Maria moved on to a position as a social worker helping individuals with disabilities.
Maria clearly remembers praying to God to guide her and give her strength “to do His work and help as many people that the He could bring her way.” The result of that prayer was finding an open position at ECFA that allows her to express her passion for helping children and families. Says Maria, “ECFA’s Case Managers work hard to find the resources necessary to assist families in becoming stable and providing the children with security and safety.” She went on to state that one of the main factors that drew her to her current position was that ECFA was in search of Christian counselors and feels as if she has found her second family here. She marvels at seeing the hand of God at work, especially at Christmas time when she sees the tremendous amount of generous donations come in to help the many grateful families that we serve.
When Maria is not at work, she can often be found in the kitchen–her other passion is cooking! Her specialties range from Puerto Rican and Mexican cuisine to Chinese and Italian. While her goals for the near future involve getting her Master’s Degree in Social Work, her long term goals include purchasing a food truck and helping feed the homeless.