About Us


The mission of Join Hands ESL Inc. is to show love and compassion, to affirm and enhance self-respect and self-esteem, and to provide opportunities for recreation, growth, education and empowerment, to the economically poor in East St. Louis, Illinois.


Join Hands ESL (formerly known as Project Kids, Inc.) was founded in 1990 to serve underprivileged children in East St. Louis.  Initially focused solely on the children of East St. Louis through our GIRLS CLUB and BOYS CLUB, but recognizing that the best way to help the children is to help their mothers, in 2004 the mission of Join Hands ESL expanded to include a focus on women and their children in our FAMILY MENTORING PROGRAM.  In 2006, Join Hands ESL took the next step with our ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM - realizing that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.  Also in 2006, the "WELFARE TO WORK" TEEN MENTORING PROGRAM originated - focusing on helping teens attain their education and career goals.

Over the years, Join Hands has also offered BASEBALL and BASKETBALL, providing an opportunity for boys from our Boys Club and Family Mentoring Programs to learn and play a structured organized sport, as well as HIGH SCHOOL BIG BROTHERS AND BIG SISTERSprograms, partnering "Littles" from East St. Louis with "Bigs" from local High Schools.


Join Hands ESL is a tax exempt 501(c)3 not for profit recognized by the IRS. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Started on a shoestring budget fully funded by our volunteers, we have continued to keep our overhead as low as possible, despite our growing services and participants. We have only one part-time employee and our "offices" are the homes of directors and volunteers. All activities are funded by grants, occasional fundraising efforts and generous gifts from family and friends.


The Missouri Bar has recognized Join Hands ESL/Project Kids, Inc. with the 1993 Liberty Bell Award (given to a non-legal organization that has engaged in public service activities that “significantly enhance the local community”) and the 2004 Tom Cochran Community Service Award (given to lawyers “whose service and professionalism have significantly enhanced their community.”)


(1990 – today)

Aaron, Redgie (BC)
Acoff, Brenda (GC)
Adcock, Dan (BC)
Adcock, Tim (BC)
Albus, Tom (TM)
Alverson, Susan (GC, BD)
Amice, Anne (FR)
Arnold, Kathy (GC, FR)
Bante, Joe (BC, A, BD)*
Barth, Sean (BC)

Bartholomew, Claudia (FR)
Bartholomew, Joe (BC)
Baughman, David (A)
Baughman, Laurie (FR)
Bayers, Julie (GC)
Becker, Tiffany (TM)
Beimdiek, Bevy (GC, BD)*

Bellon, Doug (BC)
Belz, Lisa (GC)
Bert, Mike (BC)
Bieri, Joie (GC)
Bodewes, Chris (FM)
Boenhe, Portia (GC)
Bouchein, Bart (BC)
Bower, Eric (A)
Brennan, Mike (TM)
Brooking, Jean (XM)
Broun, Mary Geraty (FR)
Brown, Brian (BC)
Bruns, Dave (BC)*
Buehler, Ross (BC, A, BD)*
Bufe, Frank (BC, A)
Burlin, Johannes (BC)
Burns, Terry (TR, BD)
Butler, Anne Marie (GC)
Butler, Justin (BC)
Campbell, Stacy (GC)
Capasso, Liz (FM)
Capriglione, Dennis (BC)
Carnahan, Tom (BC)
Champion, Debbie (GC, FR)
Chandler, Ray (BC)
Cole, Abby (FR)
Cole, Tim (TM)
Collins, Noelle (TM)
Cook, Bruce Jr. (BC)
Corley, Tiffany (GC)
Corwin, Sharon (FM)
Costello, Jacob (BC)
Cotton, Teri (GC)
Cronin, Dan (BC)
Crues, Bernice (GC)
Danforth, D.D. (GC)
Dauber, Ellen (GC, TM, BD)**
Dauber, Shannon (GC)
Davis, Jack (BB, TM)
Davis, Kathleen (FR, GC)
Davis, Ronald (BC)
Delworth, Jim (BC)
Dickherber, Alice (TM)
Dickherber, Ryan (TM)

Drier, Chris (BC)
Dunn, Jimmy (BC)
Dunsmoor, Brian (BC)
Dunsmoor, Shelly (GC)
Eilerts, Mat (BC)
Farrell, Pat (TM)
Falkowski, Mark (A)
Feldhaus, Jennifer (TM)
Fernandez, Gonz (BC)
Flanagan-Dean, Mary (GC)
Foster, Dramon (A, BC)
Forthaus, Chuck (TM)
Forthaus, Debbie (FR)
Franks, Anthony (BC, BD)*

Fried, Marc (TM)
Gaertner, Gary Jr. (BC)
Gaff, Clarissa (GC)
Gamble, Andre (BC)

Gau-Moore, Suzanne (GC)
Gauch, Jeff (BC)
Gilsinan, Chris (ADMIN)
Goldsmith, Hal (TM)

Goldsmith, Marcia (GC)
Goldstein, Brent (BC)
Goldstein, Will (BC)*
Goodman, Ilene (FM)
Gore, Gabe (BC)
Greaves, John (TM)
Guignon, Amy (FR)
Haber, Anna (TM)
Hadley, Joy (GC)
Hamilton, Bob (TM)
Harper, Richard (BC)*
Hearsh, Randy (BC)
Heckman, Barbara (GC)
Hermeling, Carrie (GC)
Hinton, Alex (A)
Hinton, Tom (BC, A, BD)**
Hofmann, Ann (GC)
Hogan, Linda (GC)
Holmes, Rodney (BC)
Hudson, Stephanie (GC, TM)
Huiskamp, Sr. Julia (BD)
Jones, Felicia (GC)
Kaiser, Joe (BC)
Kamps, Kristy (FM)
Karsh, Eli (BC)
Keefe, Andrew (A)
Kerico, Juliet (GC)
Kistner, Elkin (BC)
Knapp, Pat (BC)
Knepper, Matthew (A)
Knepper, Mike (A)

Knoblock, Debby (GC)
Krause, Kevin (BC)
Krauss, Jessica (GC)
Lane, Lesley (GC, AE, FR)

Lassiter, Clare (GC)
LaVigne, Jane (FR)
Lawhorn, Chris (BD, FCCCo)
Laws, Holly (M)
Laws, Mitzi (M)
Leonard, Nancy (GC)
Lindmark, Marvin (BC, BD)
Lindmark, Mary (GC)
Lisch, Kathy (GC)
Lisch, Rusty (BC, A)
Littleton, Levell (BC)
Loida, Katie (GC)
Luther, Mindy (GC)
Lynch, Jane (FR)
Lynch, Vicky (FR)
Lynn, Ann (GC, TR, BD)
Malloy, Andy (BC)
Markowitz, Linda (GC)
Matchefts, Jim (BC)
Matthews, Brendan (BC)
McKee, Carolyn (FR, AE)
McKenzie, Vanessa (GC)
McMahon, Maribeth (GC)
McMiller, Debbie (GC)
McShane, Maura (GC)
Meredith, Ron (BC)
Merriman, Tom (TM)
Meyers, Ernie (A)
Miller, Sr. Helen (BD)
Moeller, Stephanie (GC)
Mohl, Mary (FM, AE)
Mohr, Meg (FM)
Monafo, Jim (BC)
Moore, Betty (FR)
Moore, Ginny (FM)
Moore, Nichelle (GC)
Morris, Dave (A)
Morris, Lynn (FR)
Murch, Cathy (FM)
Mullin, Patrick (A)
Mullendore, Randy (BC)
Neimeyer, Steve (BC)
Nester, Dan (A)
O’Brien, Bill (AE)
O’Keefe, Alice (GC)
O’Keefe, Kathleen (GC)
O’Malley, Jorie (FM, FR, AE)

O’Malley, Steve (TM)
Ott, Mary (TM)
Overom, Ryanne (GC, BD)
Parisi, Tracy (GC)
Patton, S. Lee (BC)*
Phillips, Dan (BC, FCCo)
Porterfield-McBride, S. (FM)
Postawko, Ed (TM)
Quinn, Dion (A)
Ramatowski, Chris (GC, FR)
Rattner, Andrea (GC)
Redmond, Liz (FR)
Rogers, Brian (BC)
Rogers, John (BC)
Ross, Calvin (BC)
Rucker, Adam (A)
Russo, Karen (FM)
Ryan, Katy (GC)
Ryan, Molly (GC)
Sanger, Bryan (BC)
Sarai, Teresa (FM)
Sauer, John (BC)
Schickler, Jessica (TM)
Schickler, Mike (BC, TM)
Schiller, Bill (TM)
Schlosser, Brendan (BC)
Schmid, Grace (FR)
Schmid, Mike (TM)
Schmid, Steve (FR)
Schneider, Joe (TM)
Schneider, Karen (TM)
Schoemehl, Brian (TM)
Schwomeyer, Pat (BC)
Scott, Ed (TM)
Scott, Emily (GC, FR)
Scott, Ken (BC)
Scott, Susan (TM)
Shabecoff, Alexa (GC)
Shelledy, Ben (BC)
Sheridan, Joanie (FM)
Simone, Sue (GC, BD)*
Simmons, Bo (A)
Simeri, Jim (BC)
Smith, Jackie (GC)
Smith, Neil (BC)
Smith, Van (BC)
Sonderman, Daniel (A)
Sonneman, Diane (FM, TM)
Stacy, Erica (GC)
Stark, Greg (TR, BD)
Steib, Chuck (TM)
Stokes, Brian (BC)
Sullentrup, Glenda (TM)
Sulser, Adrian (BC)
Sulser, Ruth (FM)
Sweeney, Roxanne (GC) Thompson, Diane (GC)*
Tlapek, Tom (A, BC)
Trautman, Tom (TM)
Tripp, Don (TM)
Tueth, Tom (TM)
VeNard, Dan (A, BC)
Vicente, Sean (BC)
Walker, Victoria (FR)
Wasiuk, Virginia (GC)
Weaver, Bryan (A, BC)
Wedlock, Dave (TM)
Weiss, Claire (GC)
Wescoat, Heather (GC)
Wigginton, Steve (BC)
Wilkins, Kevin (A)
Williams, Damon (BC)
Winston, Kyle (BC)
Wirth, David (TM)
Witcik, Andrea (GC)
Wright, Clinton (BC, FR)
Yang, Beverly (GC)
Yeh, May (FR)
Zazove, Linda (GC)
Zimmerman, Mary Ann (FM)

GC = Girls Club
A = Athletics
FR = Fund-Raising
BC = Boys Club
AE = Alt. Ed. Program
TR = Treasurer
FM = Family Mentoring
XM = Xmas Gift Coord’r
BD = Board of Directors
TM = Teen Mentoring
M = Mentoring
FCCo = Board Finance Committee Co-chair

* = 10 years (or more) as volunteer
** = 20 years

Sheila Burton, Executive Director (GC, TM, FM, AE, BD)
Mike Burton, President (BC, BB, TM, BD)

(Our apologies to any volunteers whom we have neglected to mention. Please bring this huge error to our attention…)