Hope Meadows Project, Illinois

June 2005

Brenda Eheart, a foster-care placement specialist and AMP advisor, created Hope Meadows, a revolutionary foster-care community, as a solution to the overwhelmed foster-care system in which she’d been working. After petitioning the Pentagon for five years, she gained their permission to use the 80 homes on an abandoned Air Force base for the community. It is now home to families who agreed to adopt kids who failed to make it in the regular foster-care system. Seniors also live in subsidized housing there, in exchange for six hours of weekly service in the community. The seniors have become like grandparents to the kids.

In the project, the residents made rubbings from objects in the community – including tree bark, house siding, garden plants, manhole covers, basketball jerseys and running shoes – for Ellen to collage together into the mural.