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Newsletter – February 2023

New CDC Report Shows Teen Girls in US “Engulfed in Growing Wave of Violence and Trauma”

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presents a disturbing
picture of what teen girls in our nation are experiencing today. Nearly 14% of teen girls in the
U.S. reported that they’d been raped in the past year, and 13% attempted suicide (compared to
7% of boys). Data for the 89-page report, which was collected in fall 2021, shows that 60% of
high school girls in the U.S. reported feeling so “persistently sad and hopeless” that they
stopped doing regular activities, and nearly one in three reported seriously considering suicide.
Teen girls also showed higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse than boys and higher levels of
online bullying.

“Teen girls are experiencing sexual violence at unprecedent levels,” says Michelle Desideri,
Director of Counseling Services at Youth Crossroads. “Part of what we are seeing is that there
was a significant rise in cases of domestic violence during the pandemic, but there has also
been an increase in dating violence as well. This is especially true for LGBTQ+ youth and youth
from low-income communities of color,” Michelle says.

The CDC report comes nearly a year after another CDC report, which declared that the mental
health of youth “a national crisis.” The pandemic lockdowns have clearly contributed to the
sense isolation, anxiety, stress, and trauma that young people are experiencing today, which
has also contributed to academic underperformance. What is even more alarming is the rise in
sexual violence towards girls in the wake of the pandemic lockdowns. The study shows that
15% of teen girls were forced to have sex in the last two years, a 27% increase from the
previous years.

“It truly is a distressing picture of what teen girls are experiencing today,” Michelle says. “What
we don’t really know is whether girls are internalizing conflict, stress, and fears more than boys,
or whether girls are more vulnerable to social media and a culture obsessed with body image.
Whatever the reason, the problems we are seeing are alarming and demand immediate
action,” Michelle says.

YC’s Free Workforce Development Program Introduces Several New Cohorts for Spring Semester

High-school students and young adults (ages 15-24) interested in getting jobs and building meaningful careers now have several new professional fields to explore. Starting this February, YC’s Workforce Development Program is offering introductory job training in nail art, nail tech, community health, coding, first responders, and careers in STEM for girls.

All classes also include a stipend for those in financial need. Scan the QR code of contact for more information.

New LGBTQ+ Parent Support Group

Are you a parent to a youth that identifies as LGBTQ+? Come meet with other parents of LGBTQ+ youth and trained counselors as we discuss ways to better understand, cope, and support our youth. Our LGBTQ+ Parent Support Group runs from February 23 – March 30 on Thursdays, from 6 – 7:30 p.m., at our building , 6501 Stanley Ave. Scan the QR code or follow this link to register.

$25,000 Grant from BMO Harris Bank Supports YC Programs and 2023 Gala

Youth Crossroads thanks BMO Harris Bank for a $25,000 grant, which includes $20,000 for our comprehensive youth services and a $5,000 sponsorship of our 2023 Gala.

$9,000 Barclay-Giel Seed Grant Supports YC Counseling Programs

Thanks also go out to the PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health for awarding YC a $10,000 grant for our youth counseling services

Galilea Mendez Joins Youth Crossroads

YC welcomed Galilea Mendez to our organization in February as Social Media Manager and Youth Development Specialist. Galilea will actually be YC’s first social media manager taking charge of efforts to bring our programs and services to life for key audiences through social media. Galilea grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Joshua Harris is YC’s New Dats Specialist

Joshua Harris has joined the YC team as our first Data Specialist. Josh will be responsible for data collection and reporting requirements on various federal, state, and county grants. It is anticipated that Josh will also be able to collect data to better illustrate the impact of our work. Josh, who obtained his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Benedictine University in 2022, is also looking forward to helping make technology easier for YC staff.