KYC runs to beat impacts of the impasse


After the difficult announcement of the Resale Shop closure, Kenneth Young Center (KYC) works to find other opportunities for the volunteers and community members affected by the shop’s closing.  One opportunity the agency opens up to public, is the 15th Annual 5k Run Walk.  The volunteer-planned event attracts walkers, runners, families and their four legged friends to Busse Woods for the active day of fun.  All are invited to join us on Saturday, May 14th from 8am (registration) through the afternoon for music, food and the walk!  There is something for everyone at the event


Celebrating its 15th year, the walk run raises funds to provide vital services for the mentally ill and older adults of the community. This year, under the current state budget impasse, KYC relies even more on the funds raised from its special events and supporters.    l

The current stalemate of the Illinois state budget has withheld $500,000 of the agency’s funding.  As a primarily publicly-funded organization, KYC depends on the income of state grants and programs to maintain its services.  The lack of payments from the state has forced the organization to curtail support services for mentally ill children, low cost psychiatric medications and lab work, and to reduce the number of psychiatric hours the organization can provide to its clients.  That being said, Kenneth Young Center is in a relatively healthy position, with other agencies facing the suspension of programming all together.  Without a budget in place, KYC cannot fund additional programming than ones which are at the core of its mission: to serve the mentally ill and older adult communities. This all being said, it was in the agency’s best interest to close the Resale Shop,

Without the support of its community members and volunteers, though, KYC could not guarantee its current financial position.

Our organization has grown to provide services and resources to more than 30,000 community members last year alone.  In order to maintain this caliber of services, KYC must raise the funds which have not been made available from state grant payments this year.  Our staff members are working to raise these funds back, but look to the community for the additional support.  Please join us at our walk run, or take a moment to make a donation.  Each bit helps us reach our goal to remain as a leading provider of mental health and senior services in the North West suburbs.

To learn more about the run walk, or to sign up, visit our website page:


April 18, 2016 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

To run or to walk?

As you may well know, Kenneth Young Center will be hosting it’s Annual 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, May 14th at Busse Woods! So you have to make the hard choice….to run or to walk?

In this post we’re going to be exploring the benefits of running and walking so you can start to get ready for those 3.1 miles.

The Benefits of Running

  1. Memory Boost: Did you know that exercise can actually reduce symptoms of dementia and protect your brain against Alzheimer’s? So not only are you keeping your body sharp but your brain as well!
  2. Blood Pressure: When you’re running, you’re not only working out your body but you’re working out your arteries when they expand and contract. This keeps your blood pressure at a normal rate.
  3. Relieves Stress: When you’re running your brain releases serotonin in the brain which keeps you calm and your stress levels down. Runner’s high anyone?
  4. Bone Density: Your bones can actually be stressed, however not in the way you think. When running your bones get stressed and your body responds by sending extra minerals to your bones and essentially makes them stronger (not Captain America strong but you get the idea).
  5. Weight Control: Probably one of the most obvious benefits, running helps you control your weight! You burn the most calories and get to treat yourself after a nice long run.
  6. Immune System: Running can strengthen your immune system, which means less illnesses and more running!

The Benefits of Walking

  1. Prevents Falls: Don’t think grandma could benefit from a walk? Think again. Walking on an uneven, natural terrain (like Busse Woods) can help the balance in people of all ages. A better balance could help prevent that fatal fall.
  2. Strong Muscles: When you’re moving you legs and your arms when you walk, you’re strengthening and toning you muscles. This increases when you’re walking up hills or stairs.
  3. Improved Sleep: Walking for one hour can actually help relieve insomnia at night. Get ready to count those sheep!
  4. Circulation: Just like running, walking can help lower your blood pressure. When you get your body moving it increases circulation and therefore strengthening your heart.
  5. Reduce arthritis pain: Walking one hour a day can reduce arthritis pain and actually prevent disability. It increases mobility and unclogs arteries.
  6. Brain Cells: In a study done on mice, it was shown that cardio activity such as walking can create new brain cells. Brain and body power!

So as you can see the benefits to walking and running are countless; it’s up to you to decide how you want to participate in our 5K Run/Walk! For more information visit our event site HERE. See you there!

March 3, 2016 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Foods that look like body parts

It’s a well known fact that eating a healthy diet is important for both your mind and body. Here is a list of foods that resemble the part of the body they’re benefiting!

1. Kidney Beans


Kidney beans actually help maintain the kidney and it’s function of extracting waste from your blood. They also provide many vitamins and minerals.

2. Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene that protects the body’s tissue from aging and cancer.

3. Tomatoes


Like the chambers of the heart, when you cut open a tomato you can see the different chambers. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene that reduces heart disease, potassium for those with high blood pressure, and vitamin B6 to protect blood vessels.

4. Walnuts


Walnuts contain a lot of omega-3s which help keep the brain fluid and flexible. Walnuts can also prevent depression and increase your mental well being.

5. Mushrooms


Mushrooms contain vitamin D that is great for bones like the ones in your ears. A study has shown that people who are hard of hears are lacking vitamin D in their diet.

6. Celery


Celery is full of mineral calcium and Vitamin K which is great for strong bones, your spinal cord and bone density.

7. Ginger


Ginger is known to treat an upset stomach because it contains gingerols and shogaols. It is also used to disinfect foods from bacteria and boost digestion.

8. Carrots


Carrots contain beta-carotene, which our body converts into Vitamin A, an important nutrient for the eye’s overall health. Deficiency of the Vitamin A can easily lead to eye dryness, swollen eyelids, corneal ulcers, or even blindness.

9. Ginseng Root


Ginseng is and has been used for centuries as a holistic treatment for many ailments.

10. Broccoli


US National Cancer Society found that eating broccoli once a week can reduce your chances of getting prostate cancer by 45%.

11. Onions


Onions do a great job of cleaning out your body cells of waste. And when they make you cry, they’re helping wash away debris from your eyes.

Are there any we forgot? Were you surprised by any of these foods? Comment!


January 28, 2016 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

The comfort of animals


Beginning about 12,000-14,000 years ago in prehistoric times, the first animal to be domesticated was the wolf. This occurred once humans realized young wolf pups could be trained to serve them. Since then, the bond between humans and their pets has vastly grown to a diverse and mutually beneficial partnership. Here are some ways pet ownership can have a positive affect on you.

1. Petting reduces stress

While your dog enjoys belly rubs and your cat purrs from the rhythmic patting, your blood pressure is actually dropping as well. Your body releases a hormone, oxytocin, when you pet or groom your animals, which results in reduced stress and anxiety.

2. You’re never lonely with a pet

For those living on their own, it can get lonely if you find yourself stuck at home; so much so that it could lead to depression. However, when you have a furry friend around, it reduces the sadness caused by loneliness and gives you someone to do things with.

3. Unconditional, uncomplicated love

As humans we interact with so many people, relatives, friends, significant others that sometimes it can be overwhelming, even stress inducing. With your pets, they don’t care if you made a mistake at work or if you canceled dinner plans. They’re just glad that you’re with them and love them back.

4. Getting outdoors

With all dogs and maybe even some cats, you’re required to go outside. On your walks you’re getting exercise which in turn can boost your mood and release endorphins. Plus, you’ll be getting some fresh air and much needed vitamin D.

5. Routine

Your animals like routine. They know when it’s time for a walk, when it’s time to eat and when it’s time to sleep. By them getting into a routine it helps you get into a routine which allows you to manage your time accordingly.

Your pets depend on you for safety, food and comfort but you probably depend on them for a lot too in different ways. If you’re not able to have pets for whatever reason, volunteer at your local animal shelter or visit a friend’s pets; the results will still be the same!

Go here to see a therapy dog in action!

January 25, 2016 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

The toll of a budget impasse


What’s the problem?

It’s been on the news, in the papers, and maybe mentioned in a passing conversation but does Illinois’ budget impasse really have an affect on you? In short, absolutely. With this deadlock eating away at mental health services, these problems don’t just disappear; these problems seep into other infrastructures and consume valuable resources.

So let’s break it down into more palatable parts.

  • For half of 2015 Illinois has been without a budget due to differences from Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative Democrats.
  • The state’s unfunded pension liability has grown to $111 billion
    • Pension liability-the difference between the total amount due to retirees and the actual amount of money the company has on hand to make those payments.
  • The state debt increases on average $500,000 per hour
  • The lack of budget affects education, healthcare, prisons, mental health, state employees, state parks, domestic violence victims, childcare, seniors, housing, social services, museums, and many more areas

How does this affect mental health and seniors services?

Service Centers

In ranking states with the highest mental health budget cuts, Illinois came in third at $113.7 million behind New York and California (2009-2012). It has been proven that “with effective services and support, people living with major mental illness can and do achieve recovery,” says a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). However, when services are cut and individuals with mental illness are left untreated, people end up in emergency rooms, extended stays in hospitals, homeless, in jail or dead. With a population of 12.88 million people living in Illinois, it’s estimated by NAMI Chicago that 7.5 million adults are living with a varying degree of mental illness, 58% of Illinois’ population. With a halt to funding, psychologists and psychiatrists are less willing to see patients, which means these people aren’t getting the care they need. For those with severe mental illness, their new treatment facility is prison.

Criminal Justice System

With mental health facilities at their capacity with clients, the job of responding to mental illness related crises falls on local police officers. However, special training is required for officers who respond to mental illness calls, which requires funding. For example, the Orland Park Police Department assembled a crisis intervention team (CIT) that serves as an automatic response system for calls related to mental illness, “it provides resources for families, keeps police officers safer and decreases the number of emergency calls for service.” (The Regional News) The cost of training a class of 25 comes to about $20,000. With the state budget on hold, those training have come to a halt. It’s clear that because mental health facilities aren’t getting funding and police officers aren’t getting trained in treating the mentally ill that thousands of individuals are being cycled into the criminal justice system without proper care.


One of the most multi-faceted pieces affected by the budget crisis, funding for education is proving unreliable. Not only are students not receiving scholarship and grant money, but some institutions are worried that they might not even be able to pay employees come spring. The most affected are students coming from low-income families due to their heavy reliance on scholarships and grants. Colleges such as Chicago State University and Northwestern University who rely heavily on government funding are in danger of shutting down. The mental toll of students losing the opportunity of higher education, professors and staff losing their jobs and the lack of education on issues about mental illness is devastating. In addition, fewer people given access to higher education means less psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and other health care providers. This is just half the burden.

Due to a lack of funds going around, the Illinois State Board of Education is proposing to take $305 million from special education to pay for general education expenses that have nothing to do with children with disabilities. While all children deserve a proper education, there just isn’t enough money to go around and that burden is falling on children with special needs.

With schools shuffling money around trying to stay afloat, mental health education gets lost. This means less people including students, teachers, and professors being educated on mental illness, sensitivity and a proper way to address and treat it. A lack of education leads to parents not addressing their children’s illness, teenagers ashamed of something they can’t control and adults who aren’t given the resources to properly heal; all of which have catastrophic results.

How does this affect you?

1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness. To read more statistics go here. So think of 5 family members or friends and imagine if one of them were dealing with depression or anxiety or substance abuse or schizophrenia. Imagine if they couldn’t get the help they needed because they weren’t accepted into a certain program or their Medicaid wouldn’t cover a psychiatrist for them and you didn’t know how to take care of them. This is the reality for millions of people due to the state putting a hold on a budget. Whether you’re aware of it or not, someone near you is struggling with mental illness in some degree or another.

How can you help?

Educate, educate, educate

One of the most important things you can do is educate yourself on the state of Illinois’ budget crisis, mental illnesses and treatments available near you. The more you know the more you can help yourself and others.

Write to your legislators

Go here and stress the importance of ending the budget impasse.


Share any information and/or news you find with colleagues, coworkers, family and friends via social media, email and word of mouth.


Mental health service centers, like Kenneth Young Center, depend on supporters like you to continue providing invaluable services to those in need. Any donation whether it’s money, clothing, services or time only helps centers like us maintain care.

You can donate here. For volunteer opportunities go here.



January 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm 1 comment

When you need a little pick me up

Finding you need some encouragement? We have some sayings for a variety of situations, enjoy!

Continue Reading January 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm 1 comment

Whatever you do, be kind.


As said by Martin Luther King Jr. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Now take a moment and sum up that question with one word.

Are you happy with your response? Was it difficult to summarize?

Whatever you answered, it’s important to self reflect; not only on days like MLK Jr. Day, Good Friday or Earth day but to continuously ask ‘what affect do I have on those around me?’

A little background on Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Jr. was born January 15th 1929 and died April 4th, 1968 at a mere 39 years old. In his short life as a  minister, activist, humanitarian and civil rights leader he led several marches, spoke words of encouragement for non-violent protests, and was an ambassador for a severely marginalized group of people. Religion played a significant part in his teachings. He spoke about loving your neighbor, forgiving your enemies, nonviolence, and equality among everyone. For his beliefs and general moral compass we celebrate him.

So what does KYC do for others? At KYC we take individuals who come to us for mental health and senior services to assess what we can help them with. Whether they are young children, families, teens, adults or seniors we pride ourselves in providing the best care for our clients and strengthening our community. Our mission is to help people feel good, do better and find solutions; and each one of our staff strive to meet that mission every day. One word to describe the work KYC does: invaluable.

A large part of the work KYC does is advocacy to end the stigma around mental illness and old age. These two groups of people are frequently devalued and deemed unimportant by society. We believe that people struggling with mental illness deserve a fair opportunity to live a full life and that old age doesn’t equal inability.

So when you reflect on what you do for others, are you looking at people with a lens of unbiased opinion? And do you act with kindness? At the end of the day it’s not about how much money you had, or your position of power but how you treated people and if you made the world a better place.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Be kind.

For more information about what Kenneth Young Center does, visit To educate yourself on mental health visit To sign the pledge against the stigma of mental illness visit To learn more about MLK Jr. day visit



January 15, 2016 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

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