For many teens, experiences at Response for Teens are some of the most impactful, transformative, and empowering of their young lives. Alumni speak movingly of how Response for Teens helped them grow into capable, confident adults, and parents affirm the importance of our services.
I can’t possibly explain in words what Response Center did for me.
Response Center provided me the only release I could get from a very strict Russian Jewish household and sheltered Jewish private school education. I didn’t have sex education at school or home and we certainly didn’t talk about issues teens were facing. Response Center provided a great opportunity for me to learn how to deal with issues and it surfaced my love for volunteering.
I can’t possibly explain in words what Response Center did for me. I learned how to deal with issues teens face, made friends and blossomed out of my insecure shell. Above all I met mentors that I still keep in touch with to this day, more than ten years later.
When I went to college, I was prepared for the big world outside of my sheltered and restrictive upbringing. I knew the importance of drinking responsibly, having safer sex, and working with individuals with diverse upbringings. All these factors played a huge role in shaping who I am today.
Today I’m a responsible, hard worker in a corporate communications department at a large Chicago company, CME group, I volunteer when possible, I spread knowledge when possible and I have a deep appreciation for how I can impact the world around me. I am so grateful for the programming Response Center offers. I hope the organization sticks around for generations to come. —Alex, Response Center alumnus
I remember feeling this real sense of unconditional support and acceptance.
I went to Niles North ‘98-‘01 and participated in Teens For Change and Snowball. I don’t remember how I heard about Response Center; I think it was one of those things that everyone just knew about … something that was always there for us. Walking through the doors of Response Center I remember feeling this real sense of unconditional support and acceptance. In particular I remember RC being this total bastion of safety for LGBT youth, and that is something that is so essential and so lacking in most communities. I remember Outreach Staff listened to us in a very deep way, we really felt heard in a way that teenagers don’t generally get from grown-ups … and I think that was a big part of what made me want to become a Psychologist myself. And that’s what I’m doing now, living in Perth, Western Australia and working for the Criminal Justice System doing group therapy in prisons. Response Center provides such an important service to the community and I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. —Emily, Response Center alumnus, 1998–2001
The Response Center helps fill a vital need for teenagers on the North Shore and surrounding communities.
The Response Center helps fill a vital need for teenagers on the North Shore and surrounding communities. This center, which also has a health clinic, can act as a safe haven for kids and their families who need support and guidance. … We reached out to them in a time of crisis when all the local services had been closed, and the therapists were open and welcoming. Our counselor reached out to our high school to bring programs into the schools which help parents and kids [with] bullying, health issues, rape and other issues of violence. They make an effort to reach out to other organizations to build a support structure within the community. I see this organization as an important and necessary gem in our area. —Mary, Evanston parent
It gave me a reason to step out of my shell and find light in the otherwise dark days of high school.
Before joining Response Center, I was a shy, quiet, freshman who preferred to just stick to myself. I was bullied in high school terribly. When my sister suggested Snowball, I had no idea what to expect, except, pictures and stories she shared with me about when she attended years before. My first Snowball I was terrified, nervous, not knowing what to expect. When I came home from that weekend, my life had changed. And it continued for several years. The next year I joined Teens for Change and Snowball Staff. As I did the following year as well.
Snowball gave me a voice. Snowball gave me a purpose. It gave me a reason to step out of my shell and find light in the otherwise dark days of high school. Between the staff at Response, who changed my life, and the friends I made, I finally had somewhere to find myself and help others. I learned how to open my mouth and be assertive for myself and others. I learned to have confidence in myself, something that seemed impossible. I NEVER had any self-esteem. At Response Center, that wasn’t acceptable. And for that, I am forever thankful. I learned to stick up for things I believed in. To go in front of classrooms of students and do presentations. To believe in myself that I could be something, and I WAS someone that mattered. That I WAS worth it.
I would like to say that all of this would have happened if I wasn’t involved in Response Center—but that would be a complete lie. Response Center gave me a purpose and gave me my life. Through my involvement, I was even honored with a Humanitarian Award from Response Center. What an amazing honor! Response Center left me with the gift and determination to go out there and change lives. I proudly graduated from college and became a Social Worker, helping children and families. I even was an adult leader for Deerfield High School’s Snowball in 2005. It has always been a part of my life and always will be. Who else still has their shirts and Snowball binders!?! The fact that this amazing program can still continue to provide teens with life-changing events is the best thing there is. This program changes so many lives. This program saves our lives too. I am forever grateful for Snowball, Response Center and the amazing and inspirational staff members that changed my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. —Diana, Response Center alumnus, 1999–2001
If anyone is looking for sexual health education, counseling, or outreach programs for their teen, then Response is the place to go.
Response was a huge part of my adolescence. I utilized almost all of their services from family therapy and individual therapy to outreach programs and groups. I attended Snowball (their annual teen weekend retreat) and had the experience of a lifetime. New programs are always being developed to meet the needs of the community. The clinicians are professional and work to meet clients' needs. All staff members truly care about their job. It is difficult for me to put into words the positive impact Response has had on my life. I can honestly say that I don't know whether I would be here today without the dedicated workers at Response. If anyone is looking for sexual health education, counseling, or outreach programs for their teen, then Response is the place to go. —Ariel, Response Center alumnus