Youth and Family Center of McHenry County celebrates 10th anniversary

  • The Youth and Family Center of McHenry County celebrates its 10th anniversary at Smith's Central Garage in McHenry. Pictured, from left, are: Meghan Scholnick, YFC founder and director of strategy and development; Margi Patel, YFC board president; Lupe Ortiz, YFC Executive Director; Carole Peters, United Way of Greater McHenry County Executive Director; and Carl Vallianatos, YFC board member.

    The Youth and Family Center of McHenry County celebrates its 10th anniversary at Smith's Central Garage in McHenry. Pictured, from left, are: Meghan Scholnick, YFC founder and director of strategy and development; Margi Patel, YFC board president; Lupe Ortiz, YFC Executive Director; Carole Peters, United Way of Greater McHenry County Executive Director; and Carl Vallianatos, YFC board member. Courtesy of Cathy Pierson

 
 
Updated 8/27/2019 7:41 PM

On Monday, Sept. 9, the Youth and Family Center of McHenry County will observe its 10th anniversary as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving youth and families in McHenry County.

The organization's mission is to ensure empowerment and growth for youth and families by partnering with the community to provide direct services and linkage to individuals in McHenry County.

 

It was incorporated in 2009 under the name the Garden Quarter Neighborhood Resource Center to prevent the cessation of services for 50 youth and adults that were being offered at the Garden Quarter Neighborhood Resource Center program.

In 2018, the organization changed its name to the Youth and Family Center of McHenry County and relocated to a larger, more central location in McHenry to be able to serve more than 500 children and adults annually throughout McHenry County.

As the organization has grown and expanded, the board of directors and staff continue to be dedicated to helping people help themselves through a variety of programs and services.

The Youth Program offers programming after school and in the summer to expand the range of choices and opportunities that equip, empower, and encourage youth to improve academic success, achieve positive growth and development, and avoid risk-taking behavior.

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YFC's multifaceted approach is based on the understanding that all children can grow and build resilience once their individual strengths are maximized and their needs are met.

YFC collaborates with McHenry School District 15, McHenry Consolidated School District 156, McHenry Police Department, organizations such as the McHenry Public Library, the McHenry County Conservation District, and other social service agencies, including Big Brother Big Sister of McHenry County and Pioneer Center for Human Services to offer responsive and dynamic programming to develop youth's social, emotional, and academic skills.

Due to the generosity of various local contractors, the Sage Legacy Fund, United Way of Greater McHenry County, and Full Circle Foundation, the organization's Peace Room opened, which serves as a private space where children can receive therapy from a mental health professional and practice self care strategies.

YFC provides services to any adult in McHenry County and specializes in providing linguistically and culturally competent services for families who speak English and Spanish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The organization's Service Navigation Program increases adults' capacity to access and navigate community resources by discerning their needs and providing referrals, linkages and support to outside agencies to access medical and mental health services, educational programs, basic needs support and employment opportunities.

The Adult Prevention Program provides adults with opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge through educational opportunities.

"The organization has accomplished a tremendous amount in the past 10 years. Our success has always been in our collective passion and dedication to our mission and our focus on accessing the strengths of our community while striving for continuous improvement," said Meghan Scholnick, organization founder and current Director of Strategy and Development. "We are so grateful for being able to spend these past years contributing to the positive growth of McHenry County in partnership with so many outstanding individuals and organizations."

From my first day as youth program manager till this day, as the Executive Director, I've been inspired by the underlying culture of "We can and we will," from the youngest to the eldest," Lupe Ortiz said. "We are proud to say we are part of a collaborative movement that bridges cultural, social, and economic gaps, and we look forward to expanding the scope of our services in the future."

For information on Youth and Family Center of McHenry County, visit the organization's website, yfc-mc.org or www.facebook.com/yfcmchenrycounty/.

To sponsor a youth to attend the after school program this year, visit yfc-mc.org/sponsor-a-youth.

To apply to be a tutor/ mentor for youth or a volunteer with the English as a Second Language classes for adults, visit yfc-mc.org/volunteer.

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