Tips to Help Children Gain Control Over Anxious Situations

April 3rd, 2018

One of the trends that the Youth Services staff has been seeing over the past few years is the increasing number of children who experience high levels of anxiety. Parents need to know that there is no reason to panic. If your child seems to show anxiety—adding your own may unwittingly fuel that of your child.

In point of fact, it is often the case that much of what children fear is rooted more in imagination than in reality. Parents may be called upon to ease anxieties about everything from strange noises, to water, from spiders in the yard, to monsters under the bed. Comforting children seized with irrational fears can be a difficult task.

Tamar E. Chansky, a psychotherapist who treats anxious children and adults and who wrote a practical guide, ‘Freeing Your Child From Anxiety’, said the goal was not to put down children’s fears, but to help them see that their fears are unwarranted and that they can overcome them.

She has created a ‘master plan’ for helping children gain control over their anxiety:

1) Empathize with your child. Resist the temptation to tell the child there is nothing to worry about, and instead acknowledge the child’s concerns and the effect they have.

2) Describe the problem as coming from ‘the worry brain’ that jumps to conclusions and cannot be trusted. Give worry a name, like ‘brain bug’. This takes the focus from the child’s particular fear and makes anxiety itself the problem.

3) Rewire and resist. Ask your child what she is really worried about and what she thinks might happen. Then ask her to check whether these thoughts really make sense. Help her find inner strength, the voice that tells worry it is ‘not the boss’.

4) Teach relaxation techniques to temper the biological alarm to fight or flee whenever fear takes over.

5) Help the child focus on what he wants to do and what he would do if worry were ‘not in charge’.

6) Finally, reinforce your child’s efforts, praising her for getting through a tough situation.

For those in need of professional help, therapy can produce “meaningful clinical improvement in 50- to 75-percent of children,” Dr. Golda Ginsburg said. “Anxiety is a chronic illness that can emerge in times of environmental crises or change,” she said. “Prevention is important. I want parents to be proactive rather than reactive. A minor adjustment can prevent re-emerging anxiety from interfering with a child’s life.”

When minor adjustments do not seem to be working, it may be time to consult with a therapist. The following are red flags that might warrant a consultation:

1)        Age-inappropriate clinginess or tantrums

2)        Constant complaints of physical sickness

3)        Withdrawal from friends, family or peers

4)        Refusing to go to school for weeks

5)        Preoccupation with intense fear or guilt

6)        Excessive fear of leaving the house

For more information, feel free to call the staff of the Youth Services Department at 847-981-0373.

Elk Grove Township 2018 Spring Job Fair

March 7th, 2018

Problems with Peers

February 20th, 2018

“My son has no friends. He just doesn’t see how he alienates other children.”

This parent plea is often heard by the staff of the Youth Services Department of Elk Grove Township. Fortunately, help is available, in the form of Social Skills Groups that are offered, year around, at the Youth Services office at 401 W. Golf Road, Mount Prospect, and also at various Elk Grove Township elementary and junior high schools.

“For several years, parents have been requesting help with their sons or daughters who show substantial difficulty understanding how their words and actions affect others,” notes Challenge Program Coordinator Renee Dorn. “Many of these children suffer from Asperger’s disorder, and their parents are worried about their life-long success.”

Other children, who have shown more success, participate in our groups as well, providing mentorship and role modeling. “Importantly, we can make a real difference, and do teach these children basic social skills that others simply take for granted,” said Dorn.

Children that are appropriate for the Social Skills Groups often lack the ability to examine ‘other’s’ points of view, or the ability to discuss the ‘others’ interest, and make compromises. The program uses physical activities, group discussion and social stories to empower these children to develop strategies that enable them to make and keep friends.  Importantly, the program also uses a ‘social thinking’ skill development curriculum to improve communication and social interactions.

The Youth Services Department offers groups for boys and girls (combined) for ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 14.  For more information, contact Renee Dorn at 847-981-0373.

How the Elk Grove Township Youth and Family Services Department Helps the Community

January 30th, 2018

Recall, for a moment, how it felt to be a child or adolescent.  Perhaps you recall the warmth of family, the joy of celebrating holidays, or the fun of vacations.  School may have felt like a place to showcase your mastery and skills.  Maybe you had lots of friends in Junior High and High School, and everyone seemed to like you.

Or, maybe your experience was somewhat different than this, or mixed.  Many children today experience broken or conflictual families, bullying and isolation at school, and are left “living in their heads,” suffering alone in silence.

The Youth and Family Services Department provides services to Elk Grove Township residents that lift parents and children to lead healthier, happier lives.  Individual, couple, and family counseling services are offered on a sliding fee scale to provide affordable support for improved family structure, boundaries, communication, and positive self-esteem.

“Life Skills” groups are offered to nearly 2,500 children annually to build success (and self-esteem) through positive skill development.  The Bullying Prevention Program works with children to help them understand bullying roles, and strategies for handling bullying.  Nearly all children who have participated in this program report being teased, put down, or aggressed against due to at least one of the following: their name, religion, gender, race, economic class, or disability. Many fear merely leaving their homes every day because it is so painful for them.

“Social skills” training groups (including “girls empowerment groups”) help tweens and teens understand that they are not alone, that they can take charge of their lives, and not succumb to peer pressure (for self-destructive behavior).  These programs build skills, confidence, and self-esteem.  Quotes from two participants: “I’ve learned that I’m okay just the way I am.”  “This group has made me stronger, as a girl.”

What can be more important to a community than nurturing and guiding its children to lead happy and productive lives?  The Youth and Family Services Department is committed to this purpose.


January 18th, 2018

Parents are increasingly asking about the “new world” of Cyberbullying.  The stereotypic bullying (physical attacks, threats, name calling, rumor spreading, exclusion) can be devastating enough.  But, with the advent and increasing use among children and teens of cell phones and social media, such as Facebook, bullying has reached new heights (or new lows).


Nearly 1 in 5 students between the ages of 11 and 18 report that they have been victims of cyberbullying.  In most of these cases, the psychological effects on these children can be substantial, including feelings of depression, and in some widely publicized cases, suicide.  Is cyberbullying a big problem?  Unequivocally, YES.

Cyberbullying is defined as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, or other electronic devices.  Examples are “anonymous” texts or web posts saying things like:  “I hate you. Everyone hates you.  You should die.”  Or, “I’m gonna get you.  I know where you live.  I’ll kill you and your family.”  Websites can be set up for students who can vote on “the top 10 ugliest (or fattest) kids in the school.”

Personal information can be circulated through anonymous web posts, on sensitive subjects, and a student can go to school one day only to find that seemingly every student in the school knows that s/he was just in a behavioral hospital, or untruths about sexual behavior.  And, you can’t “unring a bell.”  It is out there.  Can you see why this new electronic world, when misused, can be so devastating?

Youth Services of Elk Grove Township has partnered with District 59 to bring bullying prevention programming to Township children.  When we talk about  cyberbullying, we tell students to save all cyberbullying information, including tracking the source through the internet provider, or cell company, and taking a snapshot of the screen, and so they can take this to the local police.  There are legal and practical responses that can ensue.  For example, the student (and parents) can lose their internet provider because cyberbullying considered a misuse of their service.  We also tell students to inform school officials.  In some circumstance, with the right conditions, Illinois law allows school districts to suspend or even expel students for cyberbullying.

When parents ask what they can do if they discover that their child has been cyberbullied, the first thing we do is suggest that they remain calm, and make sure their child feels safe and secure, and loved and supported.  Next, we suggest that they explore possible solutions with their child, even taking their child’s input.  Parents may need to explain to their child the importance of setting up a meeting with school officials, or the police (if warranted).  Parents need to be respectful, sensitive, collaborative, but in charge.  Their goal is to have the cyberbullying stop.

We also provide them with websites, such as:

For further information, feel free to call Elk Grove Township Youth Services.  847-981-0373.  

Instilling Empathy

January 2nd, 2018

One common admonition from all of the world’s great religions is a variation of “treat others as you would have them treat you.” Oh, if we could only live up to this prescription.

Today, one of the biggest challenges we are seeing with school children is the extent to which they are treating each other poorly, often in mean-spirited, hurtful ways. Add to this the phenomenon of social media on phones and computers, and the avenues for inflicting hurt have exploded exponentially.

Children, of course, are always in a learning process, and it often takes time acquire important values and skills. But, it is up to ALL of us to do their teaching. So, what do we do?

1) Talk with your children about empathy, about trying to understand the views or feelings of “the other.” Tell them that you expect this from them.

2) Hold them accountable if they violate this expectation.

3) Since children learn most from what they see, demonstrate this value daily.

4) Support your child’s school in promoting and enforcing this expectation in the school culture.

As you speak with your children, recall the example provided by Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird: “If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.”

May it be so. Our children need this wisdom, and they need it imparted by us.

For more information, or for counseling services, call 847-981-0373.

Meijer Simply Give Program Benefits Elk Grove Township Food Pantry

December 15th, 2017

December 8-9, are double match days, which multiply the monetary donations that benefit in-need residents; the giving program runs through December 30, 2017.

Elk Grove Township’s Food Pantry is partnering with Meijer once again through its Simply Give program, which runs now through Saturday, December 30, 2017. The program ensures all monetary donations that are generated, remain in the local community.

“Through the Simply Give program, the Township has the flexibility to purchase grocery items that the food pantry needs,” said Mike Sweeney, Elk Grove Township supervisor. “The generosity of our residents, and of Meijer, enable us to continue to help those in-need who reside in the Township and are living through financially challenging times.”

When residents shop at the Meijer in Rolling Meadows, 1301 Meijer Drive, they can purchase a Simply Give donation card in any amount. The donation is turned into a Meijer Food-Only gift card and donated directly to the Elk Grove Township Food Pantry.

On Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9, 2017, Meijer will double match any size donation. For example, a $10 donation provides a total of $30 in support to the Township.

The Simply Give program is a signature fundraising effort for Meijer’s hunger relief efforts, and has been in existence since 2008. The program has generated nearly $32 million for partners across the country, including the Elk Grove Township Food Pantry, who are focused on helping to feed hungry families.

Meijer’s 2017 spring Simply Give campaign broke records and raised more than $3 million, which equals 33 million meals, making it the highest grossing campaign in the program’s history.

Elk Grove Township has partnered with Meijer for the Simply Give program to benefit the food pantry since the spring of 2016.

For more information, visit, or contact the Elk Grove Township Food Pantry at 847-437-0300.

Elk Grove Township, CCSD59 Seeking Donations for ‘Snow Angels’ Campaign

October 1st, 2017

Throughout the month of November, Elk Grove Township and Community Consolidated
School District 59 (CCSD59) are partnering for the third annual Snow Angels campaign.
The program collects donated snow boots and pants, which benefit in-need children
attending CCSD59 schools.

Community members are asked to donate new and/or gently used snow pants and
boots for girls and boys. These donations give under-resourced children the ability to go
outside for recess when snow is on the ground, because snow pants and boots are
required by the school district for a child to be able to participate.
“We are grateful for the partnerships we have established with CCSD59 over the last
couple of years, as well as with all of our community drop-off location partners,” said Elk
Grove Township Supervisor Mike Sweeney. “Each of these partners have helped us to
ensure these children have the winter gear they need.”

Drop off boxes will be at the following locations during the month of November:

• Elk Grove Township: 2400 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights
• Admin Building: 2123 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, and all CCSD59
• Parkway Bank & Trust Company: 1408 W. Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights and
951 Meacham Road in Elk Grove Village
• Prince of Peace United Methodist Church: 1400 Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove
• Shinnyo-En Chicago Temple: 120 E. Devon Ave., Elk Grove Village
• Christus Victor Lutheran Church: 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village
• Frisbie Senior Center: 52 E. Northwest Highway, Des Plaines
Donations for the Snow Angels program will be accepted until Thursday, November 30,
2017. For more information, contact Elk Grove Township at 847-437-0300.

Elk Grove Village, Rolling Meadows square off in food drive

September 27th, 2017

Students from Elk Grove and Rolling Meadows high schools are now participating in Elk Grove Township’s 2nd annual Cereal Bowl Competition. The young people, along with local community members, will be collecting boxed cereal donations over the next two weeks to benefit in-need families who utilize the Elk Grove Township Food Pantry.

Residents living in portions of Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights and Rolling
Meadows utilize the Food Pantry; approximately 155 Elk Grove Township families are served every month.

The competition will culminate on Friday, October 6, 2017 during the 7:30 p.m. football game between the
two high schools at Elk Grove High School. The school with the highest number of boxed cereal donations
will be named the competition winner and receive a travelling trophy.

“It is so important to ensure that our young people are aware of real need in our local communities, and to
give them an opportunity to do something to help,” said Elk Grove Township Supervisor Mike Sweeney.
“Increased awareness about hunger is one of the many positive results stemming from this healthy

In 2016, both high schools participated in the inaugural event, and Rolling Meadows High School won. In all,

1,290 boxes of cereal were collected between the two high schools, which were then donated to the Elk
Grove Township Food Pantry. Cereal donations garnered through the 2016 competition kept the shelves at
the Food Pantry stocked with cereal for nine months.

Officials at Elk Grove Township also invite community members of Elk Grove and Rolling Meadows to show
their support by bringing boxed cereal to the game to donate.

The Elk Grove Township Food Pantry truck will be stationed in the football field’s parking lot, and donations
will be tallied based on which school individuals report they are supporting.

For more information, please contact Elk Grove Township Administrator Paul Pioch at 847-437-0300.

About Elk Grove Township
The mission of Elk Grove Township is to carry out the duties and responsibilities of Township government as prescribed by Illinois law. The ways in which these goals are accomplished is by providing assistance to promote the health, safety and welfare of all Township residents, and to maintain the highways and property of the Township both professionally and economically. Additionally, this mission is to be carried out in a timely and efficient manner with the highest degree of service to the taxpayers, thereby continuing the tradition of service provided by Elk Grove Township.

The boundaries of Elk Grove Township are Central Road on the North; Mount Prospect Road on the
East; Devon Avenue on the South; and Rohlwing Road; (generally Route 53) on the West. About 66%
of Elk Grove Village is in our Township; 55% of Mount Prospect; 20% of Des Plaines; 15% of Arlington
Heights and 10% of Rolling Meadows. About one-fourth of the geographic area of the Township is
unincorporated, a large portion of which is Forest Preserve. For more information, visit

Elk Grove Township Hosts Job Fair at Sheraton Chicago/Elk Grove Village

August 17th, 2017

Elk Grove Township is hosting a Job Fair to include 43 employers from the Chicagoland area. The fair will be held at the Sheraton Chicago/Elk Grove Village, 121 NW Point Boulevard, Elk Grove Village, on Thursday, August 24, 2017 from 2:15 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

There are more than 1,000 jobs that participating employers are looking to fill. Job seekers are advised to dress professionally and bring copies of their resumes. The event also will include a workshop titled, “How to Work a Job Fair” from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Additional resources will include free profile pictures for online job sites such as LinkedIn, “Ask an Expert” professional employment advice, and information about services and training from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

“Elk Grove Township’s mission is to ‘empower people through community’. One of the ways in which we achieve this goal is by providing opportunities for our residents to find better, suitable, and sustained employment,” said Elk Grove Township Supervisor Mike Sweeney.

Companies that will be present at the Job Fair include: ACTS-Aviation Security, Inc., Aerotek, Apex3
Security, Black Diamond, Cabela’s, Clearbrook, Colors for Plastics, Comfort Keepers, Double Tree Wood
Dale, Express Employment Professionals, First Student, Gate Gourmet, Glass America, Gerber National
Claim Services, Grand Prairie Transit, Home Instead Senior Care, Illinois Truck Centre, Inc., Kepner
Products Company, Lutheran Life Communities, LSG Sky Chefs, Magnetic Inspection Laboratory, Inc.,
Manpower, MC Machinery Systems, Medieval Times, New York Life Insurance, Nation Pizza, NWSRA
(Northwest Special Recreation Association), PACE, Pearson, RCC (Royal Call Centers), Reliance-One,
Scanwell Logistics, Staffmark, Superior Group, Sure Staff, Transamerica, Ceannate, Fresenius Kabi USA,
Gate Group, John B. Sanfilippo and Sons, Little City/Countryside, Primerica and UPS.

Representatives from each of the businesses will be on hand to speak to potential candidates and conduct interviews. Job seekers can attend for free by registering at and searching: Elk Grove Township Job Fair. For more information, please call 847-437-0300.