ILAIMH is pleased to announce John Roope as our 2018 Honoree. John was honored at our Annual Fall Conference on October 19, 2018.
John Roope, M.Ed. is a parent, stepparent, foster parent, and educator who has worked professionally with children and families for thirty years. Prior to his duties as the Director of Caregiver Connections, the IDHS Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation initiative, and Director of Early Childhood Mental Health Services at Chaddock in Quincy, Illinois, John spent seven years as Executive Director of Cheerful Home Association, a NAEYC accredited childcare agency (one of the oldest in Illinois). John has also served as a Mental Health Coordinator for Head Start and has worked extensively with children from alcohol and drug affected families. He was a lecturer for the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University, serves on the board of the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health, and was active on the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership. He is a past President of the Quincy Association for the Education of Young Children and served as co-chair of the Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care and Development Advisory Council.
The above description is a beautiful description of John Roope, but what it doesn’t tell you is how he makes others feel when he is around them. John has a natural ability to truly make each and every person that he comes in contact with feel valued. He also has the gift of spreading joy wherever he goes, whether from his cheerful nature, hugs and high fives, guitar playing and funny songs or by virtue of his caring and warm presence. This is the work that he helped spread across the state. He has touched many lives, especially those mental health consultants who worked in his team on Caregiver Connections. Mental health consultants within his team learned things like, it’s OK to take time for self-care. They learned how to truly see things from the perspective of the child, the parent, the child care provider and the other. They learned that it is OK to make mistakes and what it meant to have unconditional love and support.
Caregiver Connections is also a monumental program for the state of Illinois, as it represented the first and only mental health consultation program for child care providers. John helped build, nurture and expand this program across the state at a time when mental health consultation was still barely understood. Through his own love for children and child care, he intuitively understood how vital it was that child care providers got more support and education around nurturing positive relationships and healthy social emotional development for young children. His impact on children, families, child care professionals, mental health consultants and everyone else he has come to know, will forever leave a lasting impression within the field of infant and early childhood mental health.