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Peace Project

Developing Resilience to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)

The Youth and Family Center of McHenry County empowers youth to grow emotionally, socially and academically.  Our unique, multifaceted approach is based on the understanding that all children can grow and build resilience once their individual strengths are maximized and their needs are met. 


Our Youth Prevention Program outcomes are to increase knowledge and resiliency and increase social connectedness.  To enhance our ability to achieve these outcomes, in March of 2019, we opened the above pictured Sage Legacy Peace Room, a space for youth to receive therapy from a licensed clinical therapist and to practice self care strategies.  This space is also used by YFC staff to conduct needs assessments and mental health screenings and to meet with youth and adult clients regarding their personal goals and challenges.  


The Sage Legacy Peace Room is part of YFC´s  new Peace Project.  The goal of the Peace Project is to develop staff and programs to more effectively meet the needs of individuals who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences ACES), including parental mental illness, substance abuse, domestic abuse and  child abuse and neglect. 


  • 48% of the YFC´s Youth Program participants have experienced two ACES.  Nationally, an average of 21.9% of Hispanic youth and 19.2% of White, non-Hispanic youth have experienced two ACES.


  •  Currently, 19% of the participants in the YFC Youth Program have experienced three or more ACES; whereas on average 10% of the youth in the country have experienced three of more ACES according to Child Trends.  This means that 19% of the youth the Peace Project is serving are in a category of especially high risk.  


  • Furthermore, 13% of the youth in the Youth Program have 4 or more Adverse Childhood Experiences.  According to Child Abuse and Neglect, experiencing 4 of more ACES makes an individual 7 times more likely to become an alcoholic, 4 times more likely to die of a heart attack, 12 times as likely to have attempted suicide, and 6 times as likely to have sex prior to the age of 15.