In 1913, the Ladies Aid Society of the Salem Evangelical Free Church of Chicago felt the calling to carry out God’s command of caring for the fatherless. They decided that each month they would mend and sew clothing for children who lived in orphanages. As they distributed the clothing, the ladies became aware that these orphanages weren’t just in need of clothing, they were filled to capacity. It was evident to them that God was calling them to go further, do more and serve without question—He wanted them to provide a home for children who had no one to care for them, to provide a safe haven.
The ladies responded to God’s calling and in 1916, the charter for LYDIA Children’s Home Society was formed.
In 1917, tragedy struck one of the women within the Ladies Aid Society. Dora Ogne was struck ill with scarlet fever and died, leaving her husband Andrew to care for seven children. Andrew knew of the Ladies Aid Society’s desire to start an orphanage, so he went to them with an offer of giving his home to the society to start their orphanage if they would help care for his children. As a result and out of need, the vision for LYDIA Children’s Home had become a reality with seven children. God’s hand in creating beauty from ashes was just beginning.
The next 2 years, LYDIA Children’s Home found it essential to purchase two more homes to provide for the many children that God continued to place in their care.
In 1920, the property at 4300 West Irving Park Road was purchased as a larger, permanent home for LYDIA’s children.
Today, over 100 years later, LYDIA remains committed to providing Hope, Healing, and Home to children in the foster care community. The challenges faced are great, but LYDIA is grateful for the sacred privilege to serve with the purpose of improving children’s lives and providing opportunities for families to be restored.