By Lynda Francis, Director of Success of All Youth

“We seek to be a community that meets the diverse developmental needs of all of our kids.” —Linda Francis, Director of Success of All Youth


Imagine a community in which all kids and their families are fully connected and all community organizations, institutions, and members are working together effectively to empower every child and youth in the community to reach her or his full potential.

Realizing that community is the mission of Success of All Youth (SAY).

SAY is the collective effort of the libraries, school districts, colleges and universities, social impact organizations, townships, village governments, park districts, faith-based institutions, businesses, and individuals of Oak Park and River Forest—basically everyone working together to improve outcomes for our kids. We have realized that many of the challenges we have cannot be tackled by a single institution, so we are working collectively to ensure the success of all youth.

We seek to be a community that meets the diverse developmental needs of all of our kids. This is no easy feat, and we don’t have all of the answers just yet, but we are learning how to coordinate and align our priorities, efforts, and resources.

So what are we currently focused on?

  • Improving how we communicate to reach and connect all families.
  • Improving and increasing ways to engage parents and guardians.
  • Ensuring that adults are connecting with kids in ways that reflect care, understanding, and support.
  • Improving mental and behavioral supports to achieve better child/youth health outcomes—for example, through library programs such as Strengthening Your Child’s “Mind Muscle” parent workshops in September 2016 with Neuroscience and Mindset Educator Stefanie Frank.

Figuring out how to connect more kids through activities, sports, the arts, and enrichment so that they can develop socially and emotionally and have a greater sense of belonging and self-efficacy.

Improving cognitive outcomes, particularly for kids who are not operating at their full potential.

We will soon be sharing our status, community goals, and progress with you so that you can be a part of this journey as we work to make Oak Park and River Forest the best place to raise ALL kids.

Success of All Youth is part of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation family. Learn more at and on Facebook @SAYoprf.