Riverbend Family Ministries is a local organization that unites community not-for-profits to help families receive the necessary tools to become self-sufficient. Their partnerships include the Client Service Department (CSD) which works one-on-one with families to help with rental and utility assistance, Amare which works with those with drug and alcohol addictions, SOAR (Students Learning the Ongoing Approach to Resilience) which works with children who have witnessed or been a victim of violence, and many more! RFM seeks to unify these not-for-profits as they are not competing with each other but working together to make our community a better place.

Every year, Riverbend Family Ministries hosts Community Christmas, which allows members of the Riverbend community who cannot buy presents for their children to shop and wrap presents. This promotes the Christmas spirit in the Riverbend while restoring a sense of dignity to them.

On December 14th, the RiverBend Growth Association Young Adults Committee met with Tammy Iskarous, the executive director for RFM, along with Rachael Craddick. The RiverBend Growth Association helped with taking inventory of the numerous items that were to be distributed at Community Christmas, restocking the supply shelves, and wrapping toilet paper to add festive color to the gift baskets. Many of our members have taken away great memories from this experience and have learned how communities work together to meet goals instead of being in competition. Something that Isabella, one of our members, has taken away from the experience is that “Riverbend Family Ministries doesn’t compete with other not-for-profit organizations to reach their goals in helping people. The fact that they work together in helping people makes me feel very thankful for the community that we live in.”

Rachael Craddick, the fund development director for Riverbend Family Ministries said,

“We are incredibly grateful for the community of supporters who make what RFM does possible year-round. Our Community Christmas event is truly a testament to the commitment of those who show up for families in crisis to make sure that their basic needs are met and that they get to enjoy the magic of the holiday season. We are thrilled to be able to carry on this beloved community tradition that has grown every year since RFM first began in 2007.”

Riverbend Family Ministries supports several not-for-profit organizations that work together to assist individuals in the Madison County area. The RiverBend Growth Association’s Young Adults Committee is proud to support them again this year.

Civic Memorial is a public high school located in Bethalto, IL that has a mission to cultivate high levels of learning in an environment of mutual respect to prepare all students for post-secondary readiness in a diverse society.

Blake Schaper is the homeschool representative for Civic Memorial High School. He is part of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honors Society. He has won numerous awards for his mathematical skills in competitions such as MathCon, MathCounts, STLCC Excellence in Mathematics, and SIUC Math Field Day. He also enjoys doing speech and debate through the STOA homeschool forensics organization. He wishes to study theology, mathematics, political science, and philosophy in college. He enjoys reading intriguing books, having deep discussions, studying a topic of interest, and translating the Bible in his spare time.

Isabella Murray is a junior at Civic Memorial High School. She is a straight-A student and on high honor roll. She is currently in numerous outside school activities including winter guard, scholar bowl, and art club, and during the warmer season, color guard. She isn’t completely certain about what career field to go into, but a few ideas are becoming a chef or a high school art teacher. In her free time, she enjoys going on Jeep trails with her mom’s Jeep Club, scrapbooking, and reading.

Alyssa Abernathy is a senior at Civic Memorial High School. She is a straight A’s student currently taking honors classes and dual credit courses. She is a part of National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta. After graduation, she plans to attend a 4-year college/university to get a degree in early childhood education. Alyssa hopes to one day become a kindergarten teacher! In her free time, Alyssa likes to hang out with her friends and family and compete with her dance team. She also likes to travel and go to fun events such as concerts and professional sports games. Alyssa has been a part of the RiverBend Growth Association’s Young Adults Committee for two years now and has loved every minute of it!

Marissa Perez is a junior at Civic Memorial High School. She is a straight A’s student while being enrolled in dual credit courses and honors classes.  Marissa is very active within the school, participating in many clubs and organizations like FreshMentors, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), and ENCO (Eagle Nation Community Outreach) just to name a few. While being involved in many clubs, Marissa also plays volleyball for Civic Memorial. She also plays club volleyball for Blue Steel out of O’Fallon, IL. Marissa plans to attend a 4-year college/university to study elementary education or special education to one day become a teacher. In her free time, Marissa likes to attend St. Louis Cardinals games, hang out with family, and travel.

Lucas Naugle is a senior at Civic Memorial High School. He is a straight A student that takes multiple dual credit courses while also being at the top of his class. Lucas partakes in many clubs at Civic Memorial High School as well. Some of those include being president of the National Honor Society, secretary of Mu Alpha Theta, and members of both Spanish National Honor Society and Spanish Club. Lucas also is a two-sport athlete in both cross country and track. Lucas plans to attend the University of Illinois-Springfield to run cross country and track and study computer science. In his free time, Lucas loves traveling, spending time with friends, and hanging out with family.