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April RPSA Blog!

ACT Now’s RPSA Youth Development Grantee cohort is comprised of 15 organizations throughout Illinois, including school-based, community-based, and faith-based programs. This month, we’d like to introduce ACT Now’s newest RPSA grantees: The Boys & Girls Club of Lake County and The Salvation Army – Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. 

Boys & Girls Club of Lake County (BGCLC)

Boys & Girls Club of Lake County, one of our newest grantees, has offered affordable and accessible out-of-school time (OST) programming to the youth of Waukegan and North Chicago since 2000. 

Under the leadership of Chief Operating Officer Germain Castellanos, BGCLC has begun programming at three new sites. All sites operate under the Club’s three pillars of academic success, good character, and citizenship. 

BGCLC is committed to cultivating an environment that is grounded in dignity, respect, collaboration, and love. Their desire to provide comprehensive and innovative programming appears in their strategic plan that outlines the ways in which they hope to support their community over the next three years. This plan aims to deepen the impact of their services through the expansion of their teen programming, establishing leadership pathways for youth within the community, and integrating programming that meets the current needs of youth and their families in light of COVID-19. 

The Club’s commitment to serving their community is reflected throughout the organization’s leadership. During our initial consultation, Germain named the desire to cultivate a network of support for program participants through the engagement of both family and community members. The ultimate goal is to provide just and equitable support to youth and families to ensure that the community thrives as a whole. 

The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center Chicago

The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center Chicago serve Chicago’s South Side community. Led by Program Director Predrag Jones, the Kroc Center hopes to serve 140 youth through programming centering around living a healthy lifestyle, improved decision-making, academic support, and caregiver support.

The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center was established after Joan Kroc took a tour of San Diego and recognized a community that was in desperate need of a safe gathering place; a place with facilities and trained professionals to nurture children’s social skills, art appreciation, and athletic potential. She described The Kroc Center as being a beacon of light and hope in the community. 

The Chicago Kroc Center exists to express the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army through a caring and uplifting environment where all individuals have access to opportunities to reach their physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual potential while building community, promoting excellence, motivating wellness, and teaching character. In their education wing, they have classrooms, a computer lab, a recording studio, a dance studio, and a kitchen, matched by an equally impressive recreational wing and aquatic center, which features a water slide, all set on 33 acres of athletic fields and recreational areas. 

ACT Now is excited to work alongside these organizations to offer support and resources to their communities!