The last few years have shown us how important it is to care for our health, especially our mental health. The pandemic has created an increased need for our work with record-high numbers of teens and young adults with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Our valuable partners, resources, and programs like the Community Job Fair, the Crisis Text Line, and Educational Series are hitting these topics head-on. We are grateful for the support that helps to keep these vital programs running for youth and families in 2022.
In October, three pediatric groups declared the youth mental health crisis a national emergency.
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Last month on Dec, 7, 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an Advisory on “Protecting Youth Mental Health.” It called for a “swift and coordinated response to this crisis as a nation.” The 50-plus-page report provided “recommendations that individuals, families, community organizations, technology companies, governments, and others can take to improve the mental health of children, adolescents, and young adults.”
The second action point that was shared was “Empower youth and their families…” which is the very foundation of our work.
Now marking our 20th year, KidsMatter is responding to the need by providing asset-building education, resources, training, and events. We do this in partnership with schools, community, and civic organizations, to tackle difficult issues facing our young people and deliver on our mission to build resilient kids who say “NO” to destructive choices and “YES” to endless possibilities.
If you feel this mission tugging at your heartstrings, we invite you to consider joining the movement supporting youth mental health in our community. You can visit our website at www.kidsmatter2us.org for a variety of information, resources and upcoming programs.
Each month we will highlight ways that we all can take part in empowering youth and families.
We wish you all the best in 2022!
Recognized as Naperville’s proactive, youth oriented human service organization, KidsMatter’s mission is to build resilient kids who say “no” to destructive choices and “yes” to endless possibilities. Established in 2001, KidsMatter has received the Naperville Chamber of Commerce 2014 “NFP of the Year” Award, 2015 “AT&T Investing in Illinois Award” and Illinois Principals Association 2016 “Building School Community Bridges Award” for its work helping young people build developmental assets including positive values, healthy relationships, and self-esteem. With programming focused on preventing problems in the lives of youth before they start, KidsMatter equips Naperville area youth and families with essential tools to manage the societal pressures and stress of everyday life through dynamic school and community programs, practical education, resources, and youth recognition. KidsMatter harnesses the power of partnership with parents, educators, and an extensive network of community resources to help kids and families thrive.
About Nina M. Menis
Nina M. Menis serves as CEO & Executive Director of KidsMatter. Nina grew up in Naperville and enjoyed raising a family in Naperville. Nina has worked in advancement for both public and private P-20 educational institutions and area nonprofits for over 30 years. She directed the Annual Giving program at College of DuPage, served as Director of School Advancement for Science & Arts Academy and as the Executive Director of the National School Foundation Association. From 2010-2013 she helped support the A+ Foundation and a collaborative community initiative with West Aurora School District 129, “Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity”, in partnership with Harvard Graduate School of Education and Jobs for the Future. She also served as Director of Community Relations at Naperville School District 203 (Oct. 2003–July 2010).
Nina (pronounced “nine-eh”) is a graduate of Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa: B.A., 1985; Major: Elementary Education, Mentally Handicapped – Approval 81, and participated in the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising, pilot program, 2013-2014. She serves on the Board of the Naperville Public Library, the Naperville Police Foundation, the West Suburban Special Recreation Association and is a member of The Rotary Club of Naperville, the Illinois P-20 College & Career Readiness Steering Committee and the Illinois P-20 Family & Community Engagement Committee. She also serves on the Hub88 Advisory Committee (which recently merged with 1871) and the United Way DuPage West Cook Community Impact Steering Committee. Nina supports the management of a family business with farmland in Southwest Iowa and Illinois and has provided consulting support to nonprofits and foundations.