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Glancer Magazine

TO GIVE, TO INSPIRE | Teen Centers Helping Local Kids with So Much


Having a teenager in the house has many challenges. Not only are we navigating the growing independence and the increased academic challenges, but also the new communication skills (or lack thereof). Our teenagers are under a lot of pressure these days, and sometimes all they need is a place to go that’s not their home and people to talk to that are not their parents. Teen Centers like The Alive Center in Naperville and the St. Charles (STC) Underground Teen Center understand these needs and have created spaces and free programming to cater to their local tweens and teens.

“We offer various programs for the teens within the St. Charles boundaries,” says Darby Beasley, Teen Program and Center Director of STC Underground. “We have study nights, exam crams, computer lab and then fun table games and video game systems for the teens to hang out and socialize.” The center is operated by the St. Charles Park District and is open Tuesday through Saturday. They receive grants and donations from local organization to help offset programming costs. One of the grant programs they worked on with Kane County had teens research and present to the Board of Directors of the Park District to make a motion to have all tobacco use banned in STC parks. The motion passed and the ordinance was set in place.

The Alive Center is a one-of-a-kind teen center in Naperville whose mission is to be a teen-led, teen-driven center focused on empowering the youth of today to become impassioned, resilient leaders of tomorrow. The older teens lead their programs for the younger teens and tweens to help make the experience more relatable. “It is a powerful peer model of teens helping teens,” says Kandice Henning, President of the Alive Center. “Along with mentoring and free tutoring, we have workshops on a variety of topics such as leadership, career development, healthy cooking, art and music, cyber safety, STEM and much more.”

The Alive Center has free drop-in hours for 6th and 12th grade kids after school and over the summer.

In both centers, teens can go to a relaxed facility and feel fully supported in discovering who they are. Both welcome donations and volunteers for various programs and events. For more information on the STC Underground Teen Center visit and for more information on Naperville’s Alive Center, visit

Mindy’s June Giving Inspiration: If you know a teenager that has accomplished a great goal, let them know. Your acknowledgement and praise might be what they carry with them to continue achieving.

ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.



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