NAPERVILLE, IL – Through research and roundtable discussions, the DuPage Foundation strategized how to distribute their grant funds to yield the most impact on pressing mental health issues in our communities. Through these discussions, it was evident that the children and teens in our communities face the most challenges and need the most support due to the pandemic. Because of the Alive Center’s continued dedication to supporting positive mental health among kids and teens, they received a $25,000 grant from the DuPage Foundation to further support the free Teen Drop-in Hours in Naperville, and the opening of Drop-in Hours in Hanover Park in March of 2022.
“Our youth have been hit so hard by the pandemic and they are struggling. Increased social isolation, falling behind in school, fear, and loss have led to increasing stress and anxiety. Now more than ever most of our teens need connection and engagement with others. At Alive, teens are encouraged to find ways to connect with peers and caring adults while balancing the time they spend online. At Alive they explore their creativity, pursue new passions all while making critical connections with others. These opportunities support strong mental health and prevent at-risk behaviors.” Kandice Henning, Alive Center CEO.
The Alive Center helps address 11 of the 15 stated protective factors of the Youth Mental Health First Aid USA training. The more protective factors, or systems that act opposite to risk factors, that are present, the more likely a youth will be resilient in the face of adversity. Alive addresses factors including good self-esteem, community bonding, feeling close to at least one adult, healthy practices, feeling of control in their life, avoiding alcohol/tobacco/other drugs, good problem-solving skills, high monitoring of youth activities, regular school attendance and academic performance, having a good social support system, and availability of healthy recreation.
Kay Kaszuba, a high school senior and Alive participant says “Being a member at Alive has been such an amazing and rewarding activity. From my very first time in Alive, I always felt welcomed, accepted, and encouraged to be my authentic self. As a member of the Teen Advisory Board, I am able to use my position to create the change I want to see in the community and it is an amazing opportunity for me to learn about the power of collective effort and the importance of being a part of something larger than myself.”
Alive’s teen-created mission is to be teen-led, teen-driven centers focused on empowering the youth of today to become the impassioned, resilient leaders of tomorrow. All teens are welcome at Alive, regardless of socioeconomic status, academic ability, or developmental challenges. The demand for programs continues to grow and Alive is proud to be part of the solution to the increase in mental health challenges that young people are facing. The Alive Center is thrilled to work with the DuPage Foundation to improve access to the protective factors our youth need to develop into healthy, resilient members of our communities. Thank you, DuPage Foundation, for this generous grant!
The Alive Center Naperville and Hanover Park Drop-in programs are free of charge and available to all 6th-12th graders. For more information, please see our website: www.alivecenter.org, or email email@example.com. For more information the community can reach out to Kandice Henning at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Centrally located in Naperville, with a satellite location in Aurora and soon Hanover Park, the Alive Center provides teens with a unique place to connect, discover and come alive! Our mission is to be a Teen-Led, Teen-Driven© (TLTD) center focused on empowering the youth of today to become the impassioned, resilient leaders of tomorrow. As a nonprofit organization, Alive offers free drop-in hours after school and over the summer as well as a myriad of programs, classes and events, designed to build confident and resilient teens.
On any given day at Alive one will find teen-led tutoring, mentoring and clubs as well as life skill classes such as unstructured art and dance, nutrition and healthy cooking, stress management, open music venues, creative writing and just plain fun! Alive is a place to belong and learn important life skills. Alive’s paid programming and facility rentals help fully utilize the space while allowing the community to support our local teens.