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Newsletter – November 2021

Emotional Well-Being of Our Middle School Students: What the Data Says

Youth Crossroads and school staff anticipated that students would have significant trouble
academically and emotionally re-entering the “normal” school day. YC has tried to address this
in several ways, including increased Counseling staff providing services at Freedom and
Heritage Middle Schools and Morton Alternative High School. We have also increased social
emotional support and education in our after-school programs and the Youth Leadership
Program (YLP).

In October, 51 middle school students completed (with parent permission) the Strengths and
Difficulties Questionnaire, which looks at emotional symptoms, conduct problems, inattentionhyperactivity, peer problems, and pro-social behavior. The questionnaire gives a score for each
of these areas and a total difficulties score based on all scores. The survey shows:

Total Difficulties: 22 youth scored High or Very High
Emotional Difficulties: 21 youth scored High or Very High
Conduct / Behavior Difficulties: 16 youth scored High or Very High
Inattention / Hyperactivity: 15 youth scored High or Very High
Peer Difficulties: 15 youth scored High or Very High
Prosocial Attributes: 7 youth scored Low or Very Low
Impact of Difficulties: 16 youth scored High or Very High

Based on the data collected, the youth development counselor will schedule individual
interviews with youth that scored a high or very high on one or more of the attributes.
Recommendations for additional support services will be made to the youth and parents. The
hope is that the screening of youth in these programs will help us identify youth who could use
additional supports or counseling before they hit a crisis crossroads.

5 Things You Need to Know About the Youth Leadership Program at Youth Crossroads

Ensemble Español Brings Fusion Dance to YC

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, the premier Spanish dance company in the nation, is conducting dance workshops for YLP students. The workshops are on Wednesdays for eight weeks this fall. The Fusion dance program introduces students to Flamenco and West African dance styles (which will be taught by Muntu Dance Theater). Students will use their new dance skills to perform at Youth Crossroads 2022 Gala on April 22.

Community Service in our DNA

Elida Ortiz (pictured above), YC’s Parent and Community Liaison, is responsible for building our food distribution program, serving over 150,000 pounds of food to 4,000(+) families since the pandemic. She has organized numerous vaccine education and distribution events. Eli also provides free interpretive services to families in need. One of those families wrote to us last month to tell us how grateful she is to Eli’s services. “Thanks to Eli, my husband’s green card has been approved.”

YC staff member Claudia Campos and intern Vanessa Melgoza from Morton East High School recently took eight students from our ELL Group to downtown Chicago. The ELL Group is designed to help students who are new to our country get acclimated to Chicago. 

YC & OZ Win Big at Chicago Marathon

Oscar Zamudio, a longtime friend, and supporter of YC, completed his first Chicago Marathon on October 10, and he did it to raise money for our organization. Oz completed the 26.2 mile run in hot and humid conditions in 05:33:28, and in doing so raised $2,022 for YC. Way to go Oscar! Donate today

Youth Crossroads Annual Halloween Fundraiser a Frightening Success

YC’s Board Chair Gil Pena and wife Alma held their annual Halloween fundraiser at Youth Crossroads on October 30, and it was a monster of an event, raising over $9,000 for the organization’s programs and services. The event featured a variety of bewitching games, raffles, and door prizes. The award for best costume went to Berwyn’s diabolical Mayor Bob Lovero, and his frighteningly beautiful wife Gail (pictured here with their daughter Gabrielle).

Reward YC When You Shop on Amazon

AmazonSmile is a way customers can support their favorite charitable organization every time they shop with Amazon, at no additional cost, with the added bonus that AmazonSmile will donate a portion of the eligible purchase price to the charity of your choice. Here’s how to do it:

1. Visit

2. Sign in with the same account you use for

3. Select Youth Crossroads, Inc.

4. Start shopping! Remember to checkout at to generate donations for YC