Murphysboro, IL children's home to stay open under new leadership

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - Leaders from all over southern Illinois gathered on Monday, February 27 to announce an agency serving young children is staying open.

The Illinois Masonic Children's Home in Murphysboro announced it would be closing, until United Methodist stepped up to take over.

The associate administrator of the Illinois Masonic Children's Home, Julie O'Connor, said she was excited to deliver the news to the kids.

"To use their terminology, the kids are stoked! They are excited, they are happy they get to stay home," O'Connor explained.

Illinois Masonic Children's Home is a long-term home to 15 children between the ages of six and 17. Getting to stay "home" is not a problem most kids have to worry about. However, O'Connor said the kids were worried about what would happen to them if the home had to close.

"The excitement that they have because they were scared. they didn't know what was going to happen to them," O'Connor said. "This has been home for some of them for years."

O'Connor works with the kids every day and said they are like a big family.

"We are a family and we are just excited to stay together," she said.

Murphysboro mayor, Will Stephens, was in attendance and tells us his feelings about the transition.

"This was something that had me up nights and I was overjoyed whenever I learned there was going to be a quality organization taking it over, because the parade of horribles, otherwise, would certainly not have been for the community," Stephens said.

Starting on April 1, United Methodist Childrens Home will officially take over and its CEO, John Shadowens, is also happy with the transition.

"It was really a lot of synergy, a lot of opportunity for other things to compliment other things we have in place...that's where we just saw this as a great growth opportunity for the agency as well as for the kids and the facility here," he said.

There were a lot of smiling faces when the news was announced and the CEO said there will be a name change coming in the next couple months.

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