About ACT Now

The ACT Now Coalition is a diverse network of afterschool providers, families, business leaders, community advocates, youth organizations, and policymakers from across the state.

We strive to ensure that young people in Illinois have access to quality, affordable afterschool and youth development programs. Our work includes advocating for funding and grant management necessary for program success and providing quality and professional development support.

How We Work

Three kids laughing together and having a great time


​​Increase and improve afterschool opportunities

Connect stakeholders and build effective partnerships

Pursue sustainable systemwide funding and share new funding opportunities

Mr. Eric helps a student with their science project


Increase overall visibility of and support for afterschool programs

Advocate for afterschool programs with federal, state and local policymakers

Provide advocacy training

Businesswoman working in office

Professional Development

Offer support to programs just getting started

Connect stakeholders to professional development

Share developments, research and best practices

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Together, we can help young people grow into productive, healthy adults. Youth who participate in high quality afterschool and development programs demonstrate improved levels of academic achievement and significant reductions in problem behaviors.

Our Team

Susan Stanton's professional headshot

Susan Stanton

Network Lead 312.877.0725 StantonS@actnowillinois.org
Emma Spencer's professional headshot

Emma Giamberdino

Policy and Communications Manager 312.877.0726 SpencerE@actnowillinois.org
Emma Vibber's professional headshot

Emma Vibber

Quality and Professional Development Manager 312.520.5268 VibberE@actnowillinois.org
Lesley Rivers' professional headshot

Lesley Rivers

Director of Community Schools 312.273.8252 RiversL@actnowillinois.org
Nikki Gillani's professional headshot

Nikki Gillani

Afterschool Resources and Support Specialist (School Partnerships) 312.714.0182 GillaniN@actnowillinois.org
Chelsea Corbett's professional headshot

Chelsea Corbett

Afterschool Resources and Support Specialist (Teen REACH) 312.973.0122 CorbettCh@actnowillinois.org

Tyrone Taliaferro

Afterschool Resources and Support Specialist (Reimagine Public Safety Act) 312.885.5328 TaliaferroT@actnowillinois.org

Jackie Tichler

Afterschool Resources and Support Specialist (Quality Initiatives) 312.774.2457 TichlerJ@actnowillinois.org

Kim Turnbull

Afterschool STEM Specialist 312.978.0833 TurnbullK@actnowillinois.org

Tiffany Ellison

Policy, Communication and Operations Associate 708.864.8561 EllisonT@actnowillinois.org

Andrew Hitzhusen

Afterschool Resources and Support Specialist (Reimagine Public Safety Act) 312.877.7318 HitzhusenA@actnowillinois.org

Kasey Brown

Afterschool Resources and Support Specialist 312.855.6303 BrownK@actnowillinois.org

Standing Committees

Each of our five standing committees consists of at least one representative from the leadership team and interested members from the Coalition. Interested in joining a committee? Contact our Network Lead, Susan Stanton.

Policy and Advocacy Committee

Pursues a shared policy agenda to increase the quality and availability of afterschool programs. Assesses local, state, and federal legislative and other policy opportunities. Develops strategies and materials to raise public awareness. Provides outreach to all relevant policymakers.

Professional Development

Facilitates information sharing and resource coordination to identify and meet the needs of the afterschool field for professional development across the entire workforce continuum.

Quality Assurance, Outcomes & Evaluation

Promotes the adoption of a common system of quality standards statewide and the development of capacity-building, assessment, and evaluation tools linked to standards. Addresses a wide variety of data collection and usage issues and promotes the use of best practices statewide.

STEM Guiding Team

Facilitates information sharing and resource coordination to identify and meet the needs of the afterschool field for STEM professional development in Illinois. Helps to develop resources and materials related to high-quality STEM programming and collect data on STEM programs in the state.

Community Schools Guiding Team

Aims to support the holistic Community Schools framework and expand the strategy across the state of Illinois through the development of policy agendas and advocacy. Helps to organize the regional networking and professional development trainings for providers in the state.

Supporting Teams

Our coalition members also participate in our supporting committees, focusing on advocacy initiatives and expanding youth voices in ACT Now’s work. Interested in joining a cohort? Contact Emma Giamberdino, Policy and Communications Manager.

Afterschool Advocates

Work in or with afterschool programs so know firsthand the benefits of afterschool and the barriers that their community faces in making afterschool available to all children. Help formulate ACT Now’s policy initiatives and do greater outreach in the community.

Find Employment Opportunities

Looking for meaningful work supporting Illinois youth? Explore open positions at ACT Now partner organizations and opportunities at ACT Now including internships.

Join ACT Now for Free

Get access to email newsletters, events, resources and tools. Access grant, networking, advocacy, and professional development opportunities.