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Newsletter – September 2022

Youth Crossroads’ Workforce Development Program Helps Youth Get Jobs/Build Careers

In October, Youth Crossroads launched its new workforce development program to help 16 to 24-year-olds in Cicero, Berwyn, Stickney, Lyons, and Summit develop the skills and experience they need to get good-paying jobs and build meaningful careers. The program offers introductory training for teens and young adults interested in careers in Community Health, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems, Entrepreneurship, and Arts Education. The program also offers a variety of Employment Readiness Activities. The Workforce Development Program will be administered by Workforce Development Coordinator Arafat Olori. For additional information, contact Arafat at

YC’s New Parent Chats Help Parents Understand the Complex Issues Youth Face Today

Raising kids during the pandemic has not been easy. There is no precedent for the myriad of academic, mental, and behavioral health issues that kids are facing today after 18 months of remote learning. The new YC Parent Chats are designed to help parents understand and relate better to these challenges. Topics include fostering positive self-esteem, positive discipline, anger management, and more.Classes start October 6. Visit Parent Chats

Youth Crossroads Receives $75,000 Grant from Trinity Health’s Transforming Communities Initiative

Youth Crossroads has received a $75,000 grant from Trinity Health’s Transforming Communities Initiative, which is designed to advance health equity in communities of color experiencing high poverty and other vulnerabilities. The initiative supports ten communities who are engaging in policy, system, and environmental change strategies to improve community health, including Berwyn. The initiative, which will be led by MacNeal Hospital.

Safer Together Summit: Strategies to Build Peaceful Latinx Communities

Youth Crossroads was one of principal organizers and workshop leaders at the Safer Together Summit, which brought together violence prevention practitioners, policy makers, and community leaders from across the region to explore strategies for making our Latinx communities safer. The September 7 event was conceived by the Illinois Latino Agenda and took place at New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. Participants at the Summit learned about best practices in violence prevention and discussed strategies for working in concert to address systemic problems and increasing resources to organizations working in Latinx communities

AOK/ECC Offers Free Developmental Screenings For Kids 3 and Under

AOK (All Our Kids) Cicero Network is teaming up with the Cicero Community Collaborative’s Early Childhood Committee to offer free developmental screenings to children 3 and under. The collaborative is working to ensure that all Cicero children are developmentally and emotionally ready for kindergarten. The screenings include speech/language, gross motor skill, fine motor skills, and social emotional development. Currently, only 15% of Cicero kids are kindergarten ready. Youth Crossroads is the fiscal agent for AOK and CCC. To make an appointment call 708-484-7400, Ext. 031

AOK/ECC Host Halloween Party to Promote Community Resources

AOK/ECC in partnership with Youth Crossroads and Inner City Impact will host its first annual Trunk or Treat Halloween Event on October 7, 5 – 7:30 p.m., in the Inner City Impact parking lot, 23rd Place and Laramie Ave. The event includes a pumpkin giveaway, costume contest, raffles, treats, entertainment and more. Community partners will also provide families with access to the resources they need to address a variety of challenges in their community related to prenatal care, early childhood education, elementary and high school education, health and safety, immigration issues, and more. 

Elida Ortiz Named Director of Cicero Community Collaborative

Congratulations to Elida “Eli” Ortiz who was recently named Director of the Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC), a consortium of 60 community organizations working together to improve educational outcomes, parent engagement, health and safety, and immigration issues in Berwyn. Eli has recently served as the Parent & Community Liaison at YC, and previously served as the Coordinator of CCC from 2016-2020. Eli will focus on building the organizational capacity of CCC to provide Cicero residents with greater access to the resources they need to successfully build strong families and a socially cohesive community. 

Meet Richard Joseph: YC’s Community Solutions Fellow

Youth Crossroads is pleased to welcome Richard Joseph from Malaysia to our team through November. Richard is a Community Solutions Program Fellow, which is a U.S. State Department sponsored professional development program for global community leaders working on issues related to the environment, tolerance & conflict resolution, transparency & accountability and women & gender. Richard arrived in the U.S. in August and has been working alongside YC to develop parental support programs, while shadowing our school-based counsellors and participating in our youth development groups.