Did You Know?


The Youth Leadership Program is now officially accepting applications for our Winter/Spring internship.

The program provides students with leadership training, college and job readiness, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. Students in the program also have the opportunity to go on camping and outdoor sporting trips, recreational outings to Six Flags and other exciting places.

Youth in grades 9 through 12 who live in Cicero, Berwyn, Stickney or Lyons may apply online via this link:


Did You Know?

Moving Youth Forward in Life with Confidence & Dignity

Youth Crossroads continually strives to adapt our Counseling & Support Services to better meet the needs of local youth and their families. With state funding critically low this past year, we now offer no-cost school-based counseling at the following schools:

  • Morton West High School, Berwyn
  • Morton East High School, Cicero

We have shifted much of our attention to helping youth with trauma-related conditions, anger management problems, and poor decision-making skills.

Understanding the Effects of Trauma on Children and Adolescents
Lecture notes from 4.26.13 seminar

• Trauma: Any event, action or condition that damages, disrupts, distorts, destroys or changes in some fundamental way how we see ourselves, our relationships and our world.

• When kids enter school systems and they have been exposed to trauma, it can lead to behavior issues or mental health issues. This is when we start “labeling” these kids.

• Multiple occurrences of trauma is referred to as a “trauma marinade” because you soak it in and absorb it. These people don’t seek out as much support. This can lead to anger, bullying, etc. When violence is common, it becomes normal. People may become “numb” to it.

The Brain and Trauma

When exposed to trauma/violence/danger more often, it can either hyper arouse (heightened state- easily agitated, anger) or hypo arouse (lower state- withdrawn, anxious) students. We need to respond to these students differently. When students are in state of hyper or hypo arousal, they may have diminished capacity for learning.

Developmental Effects of Trauma

When youth are exposed to trauma/violence (prenatal or after birth) this can lead to “Developmental De-Railment” meaning development is impacted negatively.

• If there is adequate intervention and an “attentive conductor” introduces, the trauma has less impact and child is better able to get back on typical track of development.

• Many possible developmental effects of trauma: developmental delays, attachment difficulties, neurological impairment, attention difficulties, hyper arousal/hypo arousal, diagnoses-ADHD, ODD, anxiety, peer/relationship problems, decreased empathy, dependence, detachment, avoidance, high-risk behavior, or withdrawal.

• A teacher or administrator can either symbolize safety or can symbolize power and danger. Respond to discipline problems with empathy. It is possible to be both empathic and hold students accountable.

• Remember, any problematic behavior may be due to previous or recent exposure to trauma/violence. Be careful when judging students or jumping to conclusions.

Cook County Board President Welcomed In Cicero

Cicero, IL, (May 15, 2013)— Representatives of the Cicero Youth Task Force (CYTF) held an informational meeting in Cicero with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on May 15th to share with her the impressive progress made over the past several years related to community safety, health, early childhood education, youth development services and family participation in local civic affairs. Much of that progress was the result of strong collaboration, communication and shared resources of the volunteer CYTF membership that includes local social service agencies, school districts, police, Town of Cicero government officials, and Cicero residents.

President Preckwinkle stated she was especially impressed by how Cicero and the CYTF were able to work together to dramatically reduce community violence and gang-related shootings over the past six years from 37 shootings in 2007 to 2 shootings in 2012. CYTF members also shared statistics regarding a 41% reduction in Cicero teen pregnancies over that time period, a 160% increase in early childhood education enrollment, a 50% increase in out-of-school time structured activities for Cicero children and teens, and a significant rise in opportunities for parents, youth and families to engage in positive community events.

Over the past 20 years Cicero has experienced a dramatic demographic shift from 20% Latino in 1995 to more than 90% in 2012. In response to the changing local environment, the CYTF was formed in 2003 and conducted a community-wide assessment to identify and prioritize major issues of concern. Since 2003 the CYTF has conducted annual assessments in the areas of community safety, early childhood, health, youth development, and parental engagement in healthy family life. Based on those assessments, CYTF volunteer committees develop annual goals to improve conditions in each of those areas. Youth Crossroads, Inc. is an active member of the CYTF.

For more information on CYTF history, a membership directory, and other community information visit www.cytf.org