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The Donor’s Corner: Joellen Hoesner

Joellen and Larry Hoesner enjoy their first experience at the 54th Annual LCI Golf Classic last summer.

Donors help Little City in many ways. Whether contributions come in the form of financial gifts, time or talent, Little City relies on the incredible engagement of its supporters throughout the year.

One of those special families played an important role in 2017 as Little City and the former Countryside Association looked to strengthen their bond and come together as one. That family is the Hoeser family, who played no small part in making Countryside traditions such as Recipe for Success and the 5K Walk and Roll a reality for Little City.

Joellen Hoeser talked with Little City about what inspires her to donate, how families can get involved and her hope that the Countryside and Lakeside Centers continue to feel at home at Little City.

Little City: Little City recently celebrated its one-year anniversary of bringing on Countryside Association and recognized a lot of people that made that happen. How has the first year of being part of Little City gone from your perspective?

Joellen: I think that the merger was a little tenuous at times, but all in all it worked out very well. I love the new facility and [Countryside] really wanted to find a place where our adult children would have the ability to work and be with their friends, and that is exactly what happened.

Little City: You were always very involved at Countryside and you continue to be very involved at Little City. What’s your motivation for giving so much of your time and effort?

Joellen: I do it for two different reasons. The first reason is I want to give back to the Countryside Center and Little City for having such a professional and caring staff that help our children do what they can and be what they can. It’s sort of a communal thing where the community is stronger when everyone is pitching in to help out and give back. Secondly, it gets the Little City name out there and the importance of helping people with developmental disabilities. Not everyone is aware of this population of people and what they need. If I can work hard and help raise awareness, that’s great.

Little City: You played a big part in bringing Recipe for Success and the 5K Walk and Roll from Countryside to Little City. What is the importance of those events to you and do you think it has helped build the unity you’d like to see?

Joellen: The Walk and Recipe are very important. Recipe is great because it’s fun, not pricey and has fun little things like the cork pull and silent auction to keep everyone involved. It’s a celebration of who we are. The Walk is fun too and it’s great seeing those shirts all over the place. I definitely see a lot of the Walk shirts during the spring and summer and it’s another way to get our name out there.

Little City: Do you have advice for families who want to get involved or why they should get involved?

Joellen: If we don’t help, no one is going to. This is a family. Giving doesn’t always have to be financial. I’ve met so many parents from Little City and of course, the Countryside Center who give back and that has given all our kids so much. We’re just happy to keep doing what we can.

“Little City uses an affirming message – that it’s a good world, there’s a place for my kids in the world and Little City will help them find it.”

Rachel, mother of children receiving home-based support services