Mooseheart, the famed Moose "City of Children," is a home and school owned and maintained by Moose International for the children of Moose member families in need--and as of 1994, for all qualifying children in need.
Mooseheart is a complete community in itself. Situated on 1,000 acres of Illinois farmland in the Fox River Valley, about 38 miles west of Chicago, Mooseheart has its own homes, schools, church, health center, stores, post office and utilities.
Families whose young people come to Mooseheart are generally charged nothing, but the "entrance fee" is nonetheless extremely high. Some youngsters at the Child City lost one or both parents to make them eligible for admittance. In many other cases, their parents have separated or divorced, or there has been severe financial reversal, or other problems causing family instability.
In assuming the obligation of raising these children, the Moose Fraternity makes every effort to provide them with home-like surroundings and the best training and education possible.
And those provisions for a young person's education reach a remarkable conclusion after he or she graduates from Mooseheart High School. Awaiting every eligible Mooseheart graduate with a 3.0 (4.0=A) or better grade average is an annually renewable tuition-room-and-board scholarship, with value equivalent to state-university expenses, to any North American college or university to which he or she can be academically accepted.
Children at Mooseheart live in residence halls, designed as much as possible like a spacious single-family home. Each houses a minimum of six students and a maximum of 12. Children and teens are assigned to halls according to school classification, age and social maturity so that they may associate with young people of their own age group.
Extensively trained “Family Teachers” carry the parental role in each home, and do their utmost to create a stable family situation. Meals are carefully planned by a trained nutritionist and are uniformly prepared under the supervision of an experienced chef in the Central Kitchen. Students are required to help with the serving of the food and clearing of the tables much as they are in most homes. In addition, they are responsible for the cleanliness of their rooms.
The honor system is in effect at Mooseheart, and children are taught at an early age to have respect for the property of others as well as their own.
Formal education starts at an early age at Mooseheart. Tots in the Baby Village begin nursery school at the age of three and graduate to kindergarten generally at age five. Then come five years of years of elementary school, three of middle school and four years of high school.
Mooseheart’s school system is supervised by the Department of Public Instruction, State of Illinois; the , and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
In addition to the academic program, each student is required to study a vocation. Mooseheart is recognized as a pioneer in the field of vocational training at the high school level, and offers its students the opportunity to learn one or more of several different vocational skills. In-house vocational training can involve from computer education, electronics, sheet metal and graphic arts to cosmetology and hairstyling, food preparation, garment making, and office procedures and practices. Additionally, off-campus co-operative vocational training is made available with local employers for students who want to try banking, printing, retailing, newspaper work, or other pursuits.
Every student has an opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument by being a member of the concert band or brass ensemble.
Much opportunity is offered to enjoy sports. Mooseheart’s interscholastic teams are known as the "Red Ramblers," and compete against other schools of similar size in football, volleyball, basketball, bowling, track and field, and in the summer, baseball. In addition, an extensive intramural sports and recreation program is conducted.
Every child is trained in the faith which prevailed in the child's former home. Chaplains of the Catholic and Protestant faiths minister to the spiritual needs of children and teens via a complete Campus Ministries program headquartered at the community’s multi-denominational House of God. When students of the Jewish faith are admitted, they continue their religious practice in a nearby synagogue.
A comprehensive program of preventive medicine, administered through an on-campus health clinic and infirmary, has enabled Mooseheart to maintain one of the finest health records of any institution of its kind.
The Mooseheart Counseling Department was founded in 1930 primarily to serve the needs of Mooseheart children, but also to make contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of child care and training. Its purposes today are to give Mooseheart teachers and administration as complete a knowledge as possible of each individual child in the community, to provide appropriate education, and counseling as needed, to follow the life and development of each child during his stay at Mooseheart, and to furnish the administration with special and general surveys for the evaluation of teaching and training procedures.
More than 11,000 children have resided at Mooseheart since it was founded in 1913, and the solid record of achievement of Mooseheart graduates is evidence of the comprehensive training they received while at the Child City.
With the completion of an intensive long-term capital improvement program begun in 1990, Mooseheart will have the capacity to train and educate some 300 young people at any one time to take their places in society as useful and productive citizens. With its spacious campus, more than 100 buildings, and tree-lined streets, stands ready to serve qualifying children and teens in need of a stable home. It is the first and foremost example of The Family Fraternity in action.
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