by Jason Altenbern
In 1971, a group of citizens banded together out of concerns for young people hanging out by the bridge in downtown Naperville. From those early conversations, a movement began to provide “street outreach” to teens and what is now 360 Youth Services was born.
I am pleased to report our commitment to “meeting students where they are” lives on today, thanks to a school-based initiative with District 204 that started last year.
Taneshia Davis, 360’s Specialized Youth Services Coordinator, approached school officials to provide evidence-based counseling resources in response to Senate Bill 100, which was legislation introduced last year that requires schools to identify alternatives to suspension. A partnership formed that enabled 360 staff to come to one of the high schools and engage students during their lunch and/or passing periods.
Student/staff response was so overwhelmingly positive that the program was expanded to a full day and now exists in all three District 204 high schools. Starting this fall, 360 clinicians will introduce the program in three middle schools in addition to maintaining weekly involvement in the three high schools.
We are pleased to collaborate with District 204 in such ways and we are even more delighted to witness such a positive impact with youth. Then again, we shouldn’t be too surprised.
As we circle back to what we started more than 45 years ago, it is clear we continue to live our mission of changing lives and inspiring hope in young people each and every day.
360 Youth Services provides life-changing services to youth through substance abuse prevention, counseling and housing. Jason Altenbern is the Development Director for 360 Youth Services.