Whether it is an adoptive child struggling to adapt to a new family, a youth harassed by bullying and depression, or families overwhelmed by parenting pressures, Metropolitan Family Services’ Evanston/Skokie Valley Center “Mpowers” families to find solutions, heal, and thrive. The human services agency annually serves almost 3,000 families and individuals in Evanston, Skokie, Golf, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, and Niles. Here are five “mpowering” offerings the center brings to the local community.
1. Integrated physical and behavioral health care
There is strength in strategic partnerships, and Metropolitan actively seeks alliances with like-minded partners to bring new and expanded services to families and communities. These partnerships include Metropolitan and Erie Family Health Center, who together are bringing integrated physical and behavioral health care services to Evanston families. Erie medical staff are able to refer pediatric clients to a bilingual Metropolitan therapist, who works at Erie once a week. Families feel comfortable, as they are able to receive both types of services at Erie, and working onsite allows close coordination between Metropolitan and Erie.
2. Access to incredible camp opportunities
Youth and families accessing Metropolitan’s behavioral health services also benefit from a collaboration with McGaw YMCA. Through funding provided by the Jay Johnson Charitable Trust, youth and families get to visit McGaw’s Camp Echo in Fremont, Michigan. For many participants, it provides an amazing first-time opportunity to experience camping.
3. Abuse and neglect support and prevention
Abuse and neglect among older adults and adults with disabilities are often grossly underreported. Metropolitan is the Adult Protective Services agency for Evanston and Niles Township, and it also leads a coalition of Skokie agencies that serve adults with disabilities in providing training for staff and participants on effective prevention and reporting efforts. The coalition also fosters inter-agency communications to improve case coordination and awareness of each other’s services.
4. Substance abuse awareness and prevention
Opioid use has had a devastating impact on families and communities throughout the country. Educating youth on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, along with promoting youth empowerment, resistance, and leadership skills, are the goals of Metropolitan’s Substance Abuse Prevention Services (SAPS). Participating students attend Lincoln Junior High and Niles North and Niles West High Schools, and services are funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
5. Parenting support
Metropolitan is also helping to equip parents with training through its Parenting Fundamentals program. Parenting Fundamentals provides universal family support through its curriculum, customized for four age groups: 0-4, 4-8, 8-12, and 12-18. The program, offered in English and Spanish, is provided at multiple locations including Metropolitan’s Evanston office, Evanston Head Start, Erie Family Health Center, the YMCA and Curt’s Café. Funding from the Evanston Community Foundation and Finnegan Family Foundation, along with the venues provided by the many organizations who partner with the program, all are essential elements of Parenting Fundamentals’ success in Evanston.
Interested in an evening of fun that will help support Metropolitan Evanston/Skokie Valley work in “Mpowering” families? Join us at Spring Fever, taking place from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at the Evanston Golf Club in Skokie. Former Evanston Mayor Jay Lytle and his wife, Bonnie Lytle, will be honored. For details, visit www.metrofamily.org