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Thursday, March 30, 2023

KidsMatter 2 Us – Honoring kids’ champions and partners


KidsMatter is the collective impact of the community to support and empower youth and families. Edward Hospital created KidsMatter (formerly known as the Naperville Development Coalition) as a community-wide prevention health strategy to combat teenage destructive behaviors and was granted 501(c) (3) status in 2001.

Recognizing that a problem-centered approach which relies heavily on professionals and public-sector resources rarely works by itself, Edward Hospital and a team of Naperville community leaders looked for a complementary approach that focuses on the healthy development of all young people, regardless of race/ethnicity/economic background, and requires action by all residents of the community.

KidsMatter continues to be dedicated to building resilient kids who say “NO” to destructive choices and “YES” to their endless possibilities.

At our recent Gala we recognized Edward-Elmhurst Health and Linden Oaks Behavioral Health with the Empower Partnership Award for their over 21-year partnership with KidsMatter and for their continued support through a recent Community Investment Fund grant. This grant will allow KidsMatter to launch a workforce development program in the summer and provide Youth Mental Health First Aid for adults and teen Mental Health First Aid classes for youth.

During our Gala we also honored former Naperville Park District Executive Director Ray McGury with the Kids’ Champion Award. Ray also served as Chief of the Bolingbrook Police Department, a Captain in the Naperville Police Department, Commander of the DuPage Major Crimes Task Force and an undercover operative for the State of Illinois and DEA Task Forces. And he served on the KidsMatter Advisory Board.

We recognized Ray for his exemplary leadership focused on supporting young people, both in his capacity as Park District Executive Director and in his policing career. He has been a valued and insightful advisor to KidsMatter and a champion for the well-being of kids throughout our community. This honor was our way of recognizing his tireless dedication to ensuring kids are safe as well as mentally and physically healthy.

We are grateful to Edward-Elmhurst Health and Linden Oaks Behavioral Health, Ray McGury, and many champions and partners as we work together to empower kids to realize their purpose, know their value and find their pathway.

Nina Menis
Nina 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 more than 30 years. Contact Nina (pronounced nine-eh) at nina@kidsmatter2us.org or (630) 864-3974.