Menu Close

Newsletter – May 2021

News & Views

18 Years Well Spent in Service of Local Youth

By now you may have heard the news — Dave Terrazino retired this month from his position as Executive Director of Youth Crossroads after 18 years of service to local youth and the surrounding communities. Among many accomplishments during his tenure, the agency was renamed, rebranded, and moved to its new permanent home. Dave worked tirelessly to lead the YC staff and Board of Directors to GUIDE SUPPORT and INSPIRE local young people to aspire to their best futures. The Board, staff and interns extend their best wishes to Dave and his wife, Laura, for a retirement filled with joy, good health, and exciting new experiences in the years to come. Thanks for your long commitment and all you’ve done for local youth, Dave!

New Executive Director Joins Youth Crossroads’ Staff

Josephine DiCesare is thrilled to be joining Youth Crossroads as the new Executive Director. With a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Northeastern Illinois University, she has spent the last 15 years dedicated to the non-profit sector. This includes working with the homeless population at Pilsen’s former San Jose Obrero Mission and, most recently, with performing arts and education at Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater. In her spare time, Josephine volunteers with Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly and enjoys making memories with her husband and two children. “I have always been compelled to do mission-driven work, and I look forward to continuing the important endeavors of Youth Crossroads.”

So Long and Best of Luck to the Dynamic Duo

Hey Everyone!

Jackie and Joel here. We wanted to let you know that we will be moving to Massachusetts in early June. This decision didn’t come lightly—we have dedicated our personal and professional lives to Cicero/Berwyn the past 14 years and saying goodbye is difficult. This move will allow us to be closer to family (and the boys closer to their grandparents), and we are excited about that opportunity.

We spent 11+ years working at Youth Crossroads and have grown significantly – personally and professionally – through our experiences here. We have had the privilege of working alongside incredible people who consistently put YC’s mission “to do what’s in the best interest of youth” at the forefront of this work. We have been able to get to know hundreds of youth who are nothing less than inspiring, overcoming obstacles serving their communities and families in really powerful ways.

We are so grateful for the community we have had here made up of caring friends, wonderful neighbors, passionate coworkers, amazing church, and incredible youth. You all have loved us and our boys more than we deserve. Thank you!

We’d love to stay in touch. You can find us on LinkedIn at:

Counseling & Support Services

Taking Care Of You & Those You Love

Just because more people are getting the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet and don’t need to heal from the damage caused to our mental and physical well-being over the past year. We’ll continue to post relevant and hopefully helpful articles that may help with the healing.

New Youth Development “Crossover” Counselor Joins Our Team

Youth Crossroads has hired a Youth Development Counselor, Morgan Eslinger, to work with our Youth Development team 15-20 hours per week and serve on our Crisis Team to provide crisis support services to runaway/locked out youth. Congratulations, Morgan and welcome to the team!

YC Intern News – Success Stories

My internship started in early January, which meant I had a lot of catching up to do. My YC supervisors (Michelle and Claudia) have taught me a variety of ways to approach the students I work with, build rapport, ask the right questions, what information to look for, and provide feedback that I can apply to each student I work with.

In these past months, I’ve had the opportunity to work with various students. All of them have improved in one way or another, honing their strengths and skill sets. However, one particular student continues to surprise me. Here is her success story:

Emily (not her real name), a recent Morton East graduate, began counseling services with me around March. Since working with her, I have found her to be ever so resilient. This student has gone through various hardships, traumas, and situations that most individuals couldn’t bear. However, she continues to show that she is moving forward regardless of what has happened. Even with all these hardships, she has maintained good grades throughout her high school career and was awarded a full scholarship to college.

Emily is determined to keep working for a better future for herself. At times, she finds it hard to cope with everything going on in her life; however, she pushes herself to take on new skills, new perspectives, and new ways to heal. Emily is excited about what’s ahead and wants to continue pushing forward. She is a success story in my book.

Kimberly Fraga, School-Based Counseling Intern

As the school year comes to an end, I am excited to see what new experiences the summer brings to my YC internship. I have spent the last school year as a counseling intern at Morton East High School where I have been able to provide counseling individually and in a virtual group setting. It is extremely rewarding to see the progress my clients have made during this time. While terminating with clients brings up a variety of feelings, I am looking forward to diversifying my experience by participating in summer programs to continue engaging with youth in different settings.

Natalie Palm, Counseling Intern

During my internship at Youth Crossroads, I had the opportunity to help lead a teacher and staff support group at Freedom Middle School. Our group discussed mental health topics such as anxiety and depression, coping skills and self-care, and the impact that Covid has had on personal and professional well-being.

One member shared that this year would have been more difficult without the support of this group, and another member shared that they were grateful to have a safe space to talk about the challenges of this year. I am equally as grateful for this group as it allowed me to further practice my counseling skills as an intern and to provide support to the teachers and school staff in the community.

Morgan Eslinger, Counseling Intern

Youth Health Ambassador Program

This year Youth Crossroads started our very first Youth Health Ambassador program. This group was created in an effort to get local youth involved in the community to spread awareness about Covid and vaccines. In our group we have interns, staff, and a dedicated group of youth that have been meeting weekly to discuss Covid updates, meet with guest speakers, and talk about how we can make vaccines more accessible. We have been fortunate enough to collaborate with Pillars Community Health, Corazón Community Services, and Partners in Health to further our education about vaccines and Covid. Our group of youth has been involved in community events in which they have canvassed local areas to help spread information about vaccines and vaccine registration. Our goal is to continue increasing community awareness about vaccines and to make vaccination a more easily accessible process.

Morgan Eslinger, Counseling Intern & Now Employee

Black Lives Matter

The road to racial equity is going to be a long one for many white people. What does racial equity mean exactly? What can I do to prove I’m not a racist? How do I start to think about racial justice differently? These are some of the questions we hope to provide a bit of insight into in this section.

Youth Development Program

Youth Leadership Program (YLP)

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) announced the recipients of our One Step Ahead (OSA) college scholarship. Big congratulations to Amelia Pena, Martin Serrano, Fernando Hernandez and Hilda Gonzalez! Our four seniors each received a check in the amount of $750 for their college financial needs.

Special thanks to the Youth Development college interns for fundraising and making the OSA Scholarship possible. We also want to recognize and celebrate all the hard work of our 2021 senior class. Congratulations to you all, we know you will lead us into a brighter future!

Briani Z Shorter, YLP Coordinator

Youth ~ Connections ~ Academics (YCA)

May 17 marked our last day of the YCA program with an awesome Family Night. We hosted eight wonderful families, gave away raffle prizes and served dinner. Guests enjoyed a presentation highlighting things we accomplished throughout the year, such as take home activity kits, community service projects, the creation of the Little Library, and mural projects. We showed memorable pictures of the students throughout the year, via Zoom and in-person programming. We also handed out Student Leader of the Month prizes to the following students: Gabriel V, Viviana P, Rogelio D, Jessica C, Jairo R, Carol P, Jeanette, Fernanda B, with Emiliano V taking home Student Leader of the Year Award.

We ended the event with information about our upcoming Summer BUILT Program. This Family Night was a huge success, everyone enjoyed themselves and seemed excited for the summer program to start just as much as we do.

Katrina Diaz,Youth Development Specialist & Crisis Counselor

Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC)

From Morton East Health Center

Morton East COVID vaccination clinic hours have changed, and appointments are available. Vaccinations are free regardless of insurance or immigration status. Twelve-17 year olds must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Appointments available Monday – Friday, 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM and Saturday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Click this link to schedule an appointment.

Los jóvenes de 16 y 17 años deben estar acompañados por un padre o tutor. Las vacunas son gratuitas independientemente del seguro o estado migratorio. Citas disponibles Lunes – Viernes, 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM, Sabado 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Presione este enlace para hacer una cita.

Free Programs For High School Students

CHANCE Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students from University of Illinois Chicago

High School Juniors and Seniors, “What are you doing this Summer?” You should think about investing in yourself and spending 5-weeks with one of UIC’s Summer Pre-College Programs:

  • STEM Academy
  • Future Leaders in Business
  • Digital Scholars

The 5-Week Summer Sessions begin on Monday, June 28 and end Friday, July 30.
They’re cool! They’re free! They’re virtual! College scholarships may be available.

To learn more, CLICK HERE!

Job Opportunities

Monterrey Security Consultants is hiring part-time/seasonal staff to assist at their upcoming events in the Chicagoland area at the following facilities: Lincoln Park Zoo, Rosemont (AllState) Arena, Impact Field (Chicago Dogs), Rosemont Theater, Soldier Field, UIC, to name a few.

Availability is super flexible to work around outside schedules. Other full time opportunities can be found at Inquiries/info can be sent to our recruiting team at
Event Security-$18/Hr* Guest Services-$15/Hr
Open Interviews every Tue-Fri, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm Location: 1649 W Cermak Rd, Chicago.
All candidates must be 16 years or older. Must bring valid government ID and Social Security Card or passport or birth certificate.

*The Event Security position is primarily someone who has experience and can provide certifications in the field I.E. Perc card or 20-hr unarmed training record.

Need ISO Students, Mentors & Trainers in Public Health

The Northeast Illinois Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is part of a national program established by Congress in 1971. They are preparing the next generation of public health professionals to better serve low-income communities, rural communities, communities of color, and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or gender-nonbinary.

We are looking for students, mentors, and trainers to participate. Students receive a stipend – mentors and trainers receive honorariums. Time commitment for mentors is low, a little higher for trainers. AHEC Scholars commit for 2 years and engage in 40 hours of didactics and 40 hours of clinical work each year. More info at

What CCC Has Been Up To This Month

The Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC) has been very busy this May. Our partners came together to help the community get vaccinated. On May 8, Family Focus, Youth Crossroads, Pillars, Corazon and TEACH all partnered together to host a vaccination site at Family Focus Nuestra Familia Cicero. We were able to get 143 people vaccinated. May 28 was the second time we provided a vaccination site at Family Focus. Below are the volunteers who helped make this event possible.

Over the weekend of May 15, the High School Committee’s Youth Ambassadors finished up their community project of providing 50 – $40 grocery vouchers to seniors. These vouchers can be used at four local grocery stores: El Torito, El Novillo, Super Mercardo Sanchez and Trejo. The youth planned, budgeted and did outreach in order to make this project successful. They also donated 10 vouchers to the local agency, Age Options, that provides services to senior citizens. Thanks for your good work, Youth Ambassadors!

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

The BDC has been a long-time friend and supporter of Youth Crossroads, having awarded us several grants over the past years. The latest, as we mentioned before, was for a new mural in our outdoor patio space that’s used by youth as well as our counselors.We want to give a shout out to Dave Terrazino’s wife, Laura, who designed and drew this mural in our building shortly after we moved in, along with help from Steve and Dave Terrazino. We realized we hadn’t shared this with you yet, and it’s Laura’s legacy to Youth Crossroads. It reminds us every day why we do the hard work we do with local youth – to help them reach their full potential.The BDC has been a long-time friend and supporter of Youth Crossroads, having awarded us several grants over the past years. The latest, as we mentioned before, was for a new mural in our outdoor patio space that’s used by youth as well as our counselors.

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!


How You Can Donate Now

Please consider becoming a valued monthly donor.
Your consistent donations allow us to make plans for new programs
better activities, Zoom classes with kids and their families.
ANY amount is appreciated. Can you sign up for $5 per month now?
Yes, I’ll become a monthly donor!

You can make an impact for YC shopping as usual at anytime you shop online. Start at and
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to
Youth Crossroads, at no cost to you.

Another way to make a difference and support a cause that matters to you is AmazonSmile Charity Lists at YC Charity Lists.

Select what you’d like to donate from the Counseling, Youth Development and Office Supplies Lists. You pay nothing extra, and Smile.Amazon ships directly to us. It’s easy! You can do it now by clicking on this link:

All the good work you see in this newsletter is possible thanks
to the support of donors who trust us to do good work for local youth.
YOU make it happen, and we are most grateful.

Please share why you support YC’s mission to GUIDE SUPPORT and INSPIRE local youth. We’d love to hear what your “Why” is. Feedback always helps us do better work!

Stay Connected with Youth Crossroads – There’s Lots Going On!