(Left to right) Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, Hephzibah Executive Director Merry Beth Sheets, Oak Park Village President Vicki Scaman, and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. (Photo by Tina Harle)

Just like it opens its doors to children in need, Hephzibah Home opened its doors to the Oak Park community last Friday for a special open house event in celebration of the organization’s 125th anniversary.

Guests were not only treated to an opportunity to learn more about the Hephzibah Children’s Association’s vast history of working with vulnerable and traumatized children, but also the chance to view the recently completed renovations made to the organization’s group home, 946 North Blvd.

The renovations, which were fully funded by private donors, include a new gross motor skills room, an updated garden play space, more visiting rooms and an art therapy space.

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Several elected officials attended the open house, the first to be held by Hephzibah since the COVID-19 pandemic began. U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia was there, as were Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and Oak Park Village President Vicki Scaman.

A special sculpture created by local artist Margot McMahon was also unveiled at the open house. The piece of art was paid for through Hephzibah’s Art Heals fund, which was created in remembrance of Leslie Ann Jones and Tom Johnson. The fund contributes to Hephzibah’s efforts to heal children through art therapy.

Now standing on the front lawn of Hephzibah Home, the sculpture serves to commemorate the Art Heals initiative while offering a symbol of healing to the community.

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