History of New Horizons Counseling Center
In 1886, in New York City, ten women formed a Christian organization that was recognized around the world as “The International Order of The King’s Daughters and Sons.” The objective of this organization was to develop spiritual life and to stimulate Christian activities. The distinguishing membership emblem is a silver cross bearing the date 1886 and the initials IHN, In His Name.
In 1888, one of these ten women visited her friend, Mrs. David Jones, and the third King’s Daughter’s Circle was formed in Freeport Illinois from a group that had met in August of 1887 at the home of Mrs. Rohrer on Carroll Street. This King’s Daughters Circle formed under the leadership of Mrs. Jennie Willing who was a Minister of the Methodist Church. Originally the name of this Circle was called The Ministering Ten which was changed to the Ministering Circle of the King’s Daughters. A 50 cent monthly dues was charged for membership. A group called the Comforting Circle was also formed in March of 1894 and together the two groups took over the Little Coffee Shop on lower Stephenson Street which had been established by the Deaconesses of the Methodist Church. The Little Coffee Shop was established as a place where tired mothers, who had come to the city to shop, might find a resting place for themselves and their children. The Little Coffee Shop was also used as a shelter for young girls who had no other place to stay. The Deaconesses who were most instrumental in establishing this sanctuary for women and children were Miss G. Webster, Miss Margaret Niblo and Mrs. Eva Bailey.
In 1904 The Settlement Home was organized and it was incorporated in 1909. Its first location was in a rented building at 40 East Stephenson Street and then it was moved to a three story building at Galena and Mechanic (E. Main and S. Adams) that was purchased by the King’s Daughters. The Home provided a reading room, a lounge, an employment bureau, a Mother’s Club, a Sunday school, and an industrial school where women were taught industrial training, cooking and sewing.
In 1926 because the King’s Daughters had identified that many of the services they were providing were being duplicated by other agencies and community groups that had formed they decided that their new emphasis would be to help children instead of young ladies. On April 18, 1927 ground was broken on six acres of land at North Harlem and West Galena, with a Mrs. F.L. Furry turning the first spade full of dirt. Opening day for the King’s Daughters Children’s Home was April 1, 1928. A Mr. W.T. Rawleigh donated $10,000 to clear up any outstanding debts from the construction of the home and the Children’s Home was able to open debt free. This was the beginning of the King’s Daughters Children Home Campus on the corner of North Harlem and West Galena. For the first ten years the home housed 32 children and was supported by contributions-earned or donated from the King’s Daughters Circles, plus payments from parents or the courts. Court payment was $10.00 a month with no medical or clothing allowance. During the Depression era parents could pay very little if at all.
Reorganization took place in1957. The Board of Directors adopted new By-laws and reorganized the Board moving governance of the operations of the Children’s Home from the King’s Daughters’ Women’s Board to the Men’s Board which previously had an advisory capacity, with 2 representatives of the King’s Daughters’ Women’s Board.
On March 25, 1963 ground was broken and building commenced on an additional girls cottage and by Christmas of that year seven girls were living in the Memorial Cottage. The community of Freeport donated funds in support of this project sharing in the cost of construction. The furniture and furnishings for the cottage were donated by Mrs. Lucille Rawleigh.
By 1968 the institutional theory of children’s care was slowly being abandoned and replaced by the opening of group homes in the community that reflected more of a family/community integration model.
1968-1978 were years of transition that involved the King’s Daughters Children’s Home organization making a commitment to serve children through their adolescent years. The years 1967 and 1968 began a period of long range planning for the agency which necessitated the closing of some facilities on Harlem Avenue and acquisitioning other properties for residential facilities for the children. A community integration model was in the process of being developed.
In 1969 a residential property on South High Ave. was purchased and renovated for a half-way house for adolescent girls who had lived in the institutional setting for a number of years. The function of the half-way house was to act as a bridge from the institutional environment to facilitate community integration for the adolescent girls.
Because of the success the girl’s half-way house, in April of 1970, the Board of Directors approved the purchase and renovation of the property at 34 North Whistler to serve as a half-way house for boys. This is the current location of NHCC
All of the children who lived in the half-way houses, which were later called group homes, were part of the King’s Daughters Institutional Program.
In 1970 the original Children’s Home on Harlem Ave. was closed and the younger children were relocated to live in the Memorial Cottage.
In 1971 the King’s Daughters, in collaboration with the local office of DCFS, renovated the second floor of the original Children’s Home on Harlem Ave. to be used to provide emergency shelter for younger children. This program was in great demand until 1973 when the newly appointed Director of DCFS began the process of deinstitutionalization of children who were wards of the State. The Emergency Shelter facility was closed in July of 1973 due to the State’s change of direction regarding the placement of children in institutions and subsequent under utilization of the program.
Because of this change in philosophy and movement toward deinstitutionalization of State wards by DCFS the Board of Directors began to look for alternative ways in which the agency could provide services to the community of Freeport.
The first step taken by the Board was to apply for a license to operate a Child Welfare Agency. This was received in 1973 and made possible the expansion of program services.
In 1974 the King’s Daughters completed a process of decentralization of the organization by selling the property on the corner of West Galena and North Harlem Ave and moved the office to 222 West Exchange. The King’s Daughters purchased a property at 608 South Carroll Street to be used as a co-ed residence for the children and provide living space for those children who had been cared for in the Memorial Cottage on the main campus. During this time the agency began providing temporary shelter for children in crisis and operated a network of foster homes.
In 1977 the agency phased out its early adolescent co-ed program at the Carroll Street Residence and developed a transitional living program for older adolescents. The program was designed for youth between the ages of 16 and 19 who were interested in learning to be self supporting. A supervised living environment was provided in an apartment setting. Basic skills training was provided to enhance their ability to learn in concert with job training experience to help prepare them for living independently. The agency provided an advocate for these youth to help them bridge the gap between the supportive living environment and integration into the community. Some of the youth were able to graduate from high school, others completed their GED requirements, and those who dropped out of school were placed in jobs through other community agencies such as the CETA Job Placement Program.
In 1979 the agency began to consider the feasibility of redirecting its services toward assisting children and families in the community through a family service agency model. The rationale behind this was the increasing need to serve children being referred to the agency in a more secure environment with professionally trained staff, and the underutilization of its community based group homes.
In the Fall of 1980 the Board of Directors decided to close the agencies residential program.
In 1981 a Family Life Center model was presented to the Board by the staff. The model included a wide range of services such as family advocacy, family counseling, family life education, and an agency run foster home to house four children. This model was accepted by the Board and the decision was made to relocate the agency to the residence at 34 North Whistler Avenue. The corporate name of the King’s Daughters Children’s Home was retained for its historical and legal value. However, the Board decided to adopt the operational name of Family Life Center, and to identify its new location as the Family Life Center-Ousley House. Harold P. Ousley lived in the home with his wife and six children. He was an active member of governing body of the parenting agency of the organization for many years.
The relocation of the agency to the Family Life Center located at 34 North Whistler Avenue was completed in June of 1981.
On November 30, 2000 the Board of Directors of Family Life Center approved changing the name of the agency to New Horizons Counseling Center. The reason the name of the agency was changed was to more clearly define the agency as a provider of professional counseling services and to reflect the goal of offering a more hopeful future to those who seek our services. NHCC continues in its original mission of providing family advocacy, family counseling and education to families and has adopted a new Mission statement which states: NHCC provides direction and hope to individuals, families, and organizations by building on strengths and facilitating renewal of energies and well being.
We believe that regardless of the consumer’s ability to pay for counseling services, they should not have to forgo needed counseling services to put food on the table or a roof over their head. NHCC is committed to providing services to those who are economically challenged by providing a sliding fee scale and the Sponsor-A-Client Program to help defray the cost of counseling services for those consumers who qualify for those programs based on a needs assessment.
The NHCC staff are Masters prepared, professionally trained, licensed clinicians who are able to offer compassion, support and provide guidance to those in need of counseling services. We offer professional counseling services for individuals, couples, families, seniors, adolescents, children and groups.
NHCC is a home. Our goal is to welcome those who can benefit from the counseling services we provide into our home. We are a shelter from which our clients have the opportunity to return to their lives better able to cope. Our motto is “Where Help Is Close To Home.”