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Newsletter – January 2021


We doubt few would argue they’re sorry to see 2020 end, perhaps this year more than most. It was a year of extreme emotions and challenging changes. The shock of a global pandemic, disinformation and chaos at the top level of government, uncertainty of what lays ahead, unrelenting political campaigning and civic unrest. Facial masks became a wardrobe necessity while people were losing their lives, their jobs, their schooling, and social culture. 

During the huge amount of change we (mostly) adjusted to, we learned a lot about how to protect ourselves and others from the virus; to shop differently; to work and go to school remotely; to value friendships and become more compassionate; to reinvent family relationships and friendships. To be resilient and maintain connections.

At Youth Crossroads, we’re looking forward to maintaining our connection to you and to adapting even more in 2021 to better know you and the young people we work with. We’d like to hear from you and get your ideas on how best to create and maintain our communications and relationship with you.

As your trusted partner and conduit to doing good things for young people, tell us how we can best represent you. Your trust in us is what keeps us strong to do difficult work for kids every day. To keep reaching out, discovering new ways to connect to them, their families and you.

Want to see more self-help information every month? More of what we’re doing in local schools and for families? More insight on Black Lives Matter? Fewer emails/more emails? Let us know!

Please go to the Contributor’s Corner section down below and tell us what you think. We’re listening.

Counseling & Support Services

In The News

We’re happy to report that our office is now open for in-person services. COVID infection rates in the area continue to drop and are currently around 8%. We continue to follow all safety procedures that were in place prior to our closing down in-person services in November.

Tragedy Demands Discussion

“As an agency, Youth Crossroads (YC) is privileged to work closely alongside people and systems to assist them in many ways, most recently as they navigate really difficult circumstances. This rings true these past 13 months but especially in the last few weeks as our community is grieving the loss of two more young people in the first two weeks of the new year.”


Michelle Desideri, Director, Counseling Services

Taking Care Of You & Those You Love

Here are some useful articles that may help you, your children and your peace of mind:

After watching the scary events of January 6 in Washington, DC, our Director of Counseling Services considered the impact such images seen on TV have on our children. She reminded us of this quote by someone dear to many hearts:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.‘” Fred Rogers

Black Lives Matter

As Youth Crossroads dives deeper into the effects of racism and racial trauma on young people of color’s social and emotional development, we keep listening, learning and sharing with the community. Our hope is to enhance all of our understanding by providing informative articles in various disciplines. Here are this month’s selections:

Notice A Little Weight Gain During The Pandemic?

Counseling and youth development demand a lot of knowledge, skill, creativity, perseverance, and good mental health. To keep up their stamina and positive attitudes, our staff members started a Wellness Wednesday committee a few months ago to challenge themselves and interns to work together on staying in shape – mentally and physically. It really caught on, and “Wellness Wednesdays” are now a thing at YC!

January & February’s theme is physical fitness, a fun 6-week game challenge where they motivate each other to stay active and win prizes in the process. The team plans to keep the program going, with different themes throughout the year. 

Briani Shorter, YLP Coordinator, suggests this article as a wake up call for everyone during the COVID stay-at-home restrictions.


Youth Development Program

Youth Leadership Program (YLP)

What We’ve Been Up To

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”- Muhammad Ali

This month, we started another youth-led mural project! Through funding we received from the Berwyn Development Corporation, we are beautifying the outdoor patio space at our building. Over the next two months, our youth will be creating 3 – 4’x8′ murals to add some much-needed color to the space. 

We are excited to be partnering with artist Sergio Farfan, whose work is featured throughout the Chicago area and in a mural in Berwyn along the BNSF tracks. Sergio hosted a brainstorming session with a dozen students via Zoom to discuss ideas and explain the process. During February, students will begin sketching concepts and finalize the design. 

You can follow along and see the weekly progress they are making each Thursday on both the Youth Crossroads Facebook and Instagram Page. See more of Sergio’s work at

Joel Wallen, Director, Youth Development Programs

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “What are you doing for others?”

The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) decided to honor Dr.King’s legacy by hosting a “MLK Day of Service” community distribution event at Youth Crossroads. From this event the Youth passed out 200 take home kits for kids, 50 parent kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), household items and more.

Briani Shorter, YLP Coordinator

Youth ~ Connections ~ Academics (YCA)

“The Terrific Trivia Night Trio,” aka staff members Katrina Diaz, Lyric Jones and Cristian Garcia hosted their first Family Trivia Night last week over Zoom. More than 20 families had lots of fun playing Bingo and winning prizes. The team plans to host Trivia Nights each month to continue engaging youth and their families.

Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC)

The Cicero Community Collaborative COVID-19 Working Group wants to be able to provide support and information as well as reduce the COVID-19 infection rates in our community. The committee want to provide up to date COVID-19 vaccine information and ensure that the vast majority of our community gets the vaccine in order for us all to be protected against the virus. Your ideas, experiences and knowledge are important for us to know so that our strategies make sense. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

English Survey HERE

Encuesta en español

UIC’s Office of Diversity and Career Services is hosting an event with DACA/Non-DACA Professionals who will be sharing their stories and the resources they utilized to navigate career options. This venue is open to the undocumented student community of Illinois. Here is the RSVP Link:

In partnership with Realty of Chicago, Morton College is excited to launch its first Real Estate Institute. Classes begin soon and financial assistance is available. Get your real estate license in just a few weeks!

Saturday, 9AM – 5PM January 30 – March 13, 2021 

Register today at

or contact for more information

RUSH Medial Center is offering free virtual health workshop for women of color. The Health Legacy Program for Women is a free 6-week community-based health program designed for women of color offering weekly health education, nutrition counseling, exercise and support group sessions for women. This workshop is delivered in Spanish. Our HLP staff meets with the women twice a week to educate, motivate and support participants on their journey to better health. DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER.



Illinois Senior Medicare Patrol Fraud Alert featuring information over COVID-19 vaccine scams


For information on CCC activities and how to get involved, contact Silvia Perez at 708.484.7400 or 

Visit our Facebook page at

The Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC), with funding from the United Way of Metro Chicago, organizes local resources to improve conditions for Cicero children, youth and families. Youth Crossroads serves as fiscal agent for the collaborative, with several staff members serving in leadership roles. The goal of the CCC is to help 10,000 children achieve academic and developmental milestones by 2027. CCC has a 3-year plan to achieve this.

Contributors’ Corner

We Couldn’t Do This Meaningful Work Without Your Support

We Want To Hear From You

If you can take a minute to share what you like (or don’t like) about our newsletters and other communications, please tell us. We’d love to hear from you. Feedback always helps us do better work! 


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YOU make it happen, and we are most grateful.

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