Recall, for a moment, how it felt to be a child or adolescent.  Perhaps you recall the warmth of family, the joy of celebrating holidays, or the fun of vacations.  School may have felt like a place to showcase your mastery and skills.  Maybe you had lots of friends in Junior High and High School, and everyone seemed to like you.

Or, maybe your experience was somewhat different than this, or mixed.  Many children today experience broken or conflictual families, bullying and isolation at school, and are left “living in their heads,” suffering alone in silence.

The Youth and Family Services Department provides services to Elk Grove Township residents that lift parents and children to lead healthier, happier lives.  Individual, couple, and family counseling services are offered on a sliding fee scale to provide affordable support for improved family structure, boundaries, communication, and positive self-esteem.

“Life Skills” groups are offered to nearly 2,500 children annually to build success (and self-esteem) through positive skill development.  The Bullying Prevention Program works with children to help them understand bullying roles, and strategies for handling bullying.  Nearly all children who have participated in this program report being teased, put down, or aggressed against due to at least one of the following: their name, religion, gender, race, economic class, or disability. Many fear merely leaving their homes every day because it is so painful for them.

“Social skills” training groups (including “girls empowerment groups”) help tweens and teens understand that they are not alone, that they can take charge of their lives, and not succumb to peer pressure (for self-destructive behavior).  These programs build skills, confidence, and self-esteem.  Quotes from two participants: “I’ve learned that I’m okay just the way I am.”  “This group has made me stronger, as a girl.”

What can be more important to a community than nurturing and guiding its children to lead happy and productive lives?  The Youth and Family Services Department is committed to this purpose.