In 2004, a group of leaders in the community came together in a collaborative effort to assess and address the needs in a specific area in McHenry, Illinois. In addition to a high crime rate, families in the area found it challenging to access basic health, wellness, education and social service resources. As a result, this group determined that providing a space to coordinate supportive and integrated services would best respond to these needs.
Within the first three years, the center helped students improve school attendance and grades and residents reported feeling a greater sense of community. These efforts also lead to a significant decrease in criminal activities and law-enforcement involvement in the area.
YFC officially became an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2009. By becoming an independent non-profit organization, YFC was able to continue to serve as a support system for the under-served population of McHenry County. While the primary focus revolved around having access to a safe environment and the need to increase resources in a specific area in McHenry, it became quite clear that a larger and broader scope of services was needed.
In the past years, YFC has greatly increased its adult client involvement by providing opportunities to take on leadership roles and encourage our adult client’s to play an active role in the center’s program decision making and fundraising. In our effort to keep responding to the needs of the families, the Service Navigation program was created. With the addition of this new service, YFC has been able to provide a more comprehensive support to the specific needs of individual families.
As YFC has grown and expanded, it has continued to be dedicated to helping people help themselves through a variety of programs and services. For over three years, YFC has expanded services county wide with its adult programming. More recently, the success and impact of its programs has lead the organization to explore the possibility of duplicating its model and sharing its programs with neighboring communities by starting a satellite location in the near future.