B.R. Ryall YMCA Partners with Alive Center to Bring Teen After-School Program to Glen Ellyn

The B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County has been awarded a $253,000 transformational grant from the DuPage Community Transformation Partnership, established by the DuPage County Board and the DuPage Foundation, to support the YMCA’s teen mental health initiative. The funds will allow the Y to partner with the Alive Center to bring an innovative and successful teen program to the community. 

With a shared vision to provide a safe, welcoming and supervised environment for teens to learn, create and socialize, the B.R. Ryall YMCA will partner with the Alive Center to develop a teen program using the Alive Center’s proven strategies, procedures and methods. Alive offers a Teen-Led Teen-Driven™ (TLTD) program that addresses 12 of the 15 stated protective factors of the Youth Mental Health First Aid USA training manual, intervening on mental health issues before they develop. These include being close to at least one adult and healthy recreation. The program at the YMCA will include after-school drop-in hours, tutoring, mentoring, events and interest-specific clubs.

Alive Center Founder and CEO Kandice Henning says, “We are really excited to bring our proven model of engaging with teens to the B.R. Ryall YMCA. We find ourselves in the middle of a youth mental health crisis. Brick-and-mortar preventive spaces such as the Alive Center are crucial parts of the solution. The partnership with the YMCA aligns with the Alive Center’s desire to leverage its model to benefit more youth in areas beyond its current coverage of Naperville, Aurora and Hanover Park.”

“After searching far and wide to find a program model that would support the needs of youth in our community, we were excited to find the perfect program model and partner,” said Rob Wilkinson, B.R. Ryall YMCA CEO. “This partnership with the Alive Center will provide our Y with the tools, training and resources to bring a proven model to support teens and families in our community.”

The YMCA program will begin in 2023, and will be free of charge and open to all 6th through 12th graders. The Alive Center will facilitate a Teen Advisory Board for active teens looking for leadership opportunities and development. For more information, the community can contact Rob Wilkinson at [email protected] for the B.R. Ryall YMCA and Kandice Henning at [email protected] for Alive.


About the Alive Center:

Centrally located in Naperville, with satellite locations in Aurora and Hanover Park IL, the Alive Center provides teens with a unique place to connect, discover and come alive! Our mission is to be a Teen-Led, Teen-Driven© (TLTD) center focused on empowering the youth of today to become the impassioned, resilient leaders of tomorrow. As a nonprofit organization, Alive offers free Drop-in hours after school and over the summer as well as a myriad of programs, classes and events, designed to build confident and resilient teens.

On any given day at Alive one will find teen-led tutoring, mentoring and clubs as well as life skill classes such as unstructured art and dance, nutrition and healthy cooking, stress management, open music venues, creative writing and just plain fun! Alive is a place to belong and learn important life skills. Alive’s paid programming and facility rentals help fully utilize the space while allowing the community to support our local teens. For more information, visit www.alivecenter.org.

About the B.R. Ryall YMCA
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Founded in 1919, the B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County has been an integral part of the community for more than a century—serving Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Glendale Heights, Winfield, Warrenville, West Chicago and Carol Stream. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone—regardless of age, income or background—has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. To learn more, visit www.brryallymca.org.



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