Goodwill's Revive program brings new staff and new supports for Peoria children
A new program at Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois Peoria reaches out directly to youth and their families at risk of experiencing violence.
The “holistic” service provides mental health support, as well as “wraparound services” for young people ages 10 to 24, and their families.
The program is funded primarily by American Rescue Plan dollars, both from the State of Illinois and aviolence prevention funding round put out by the City of Peoria late last year.
“That created a new student services coordinator position who's meeting with families and youth to identify needs that may not directly relate to mental health and violence, but we know contribute," said Youth Program Manager Lyndsie Gravemeier.
Gravemeier says this includes housing and food insecurity. The program officially started in March and they’ve already established connections with 26 kids.
“20 were served on sort of a light touch track where we're working just with the youth in a setting where they already are. So school agencies, after school programs, things like that,” she said. “And then six of the youth are on a more intensive track where we are working together with them and their families.”
Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Lowery is the team member making contact and assessing the needs of those students and families, the lifelong Peoria resident says she was attracted to the position because of the wide age range.
“I read about how the Revive program was servicing youth from ages 10 to 24. And that immediately drew me in,” she said. “Because it's not just about the youth in middle school, it's going beyond and helping them to be successful young adults as well.”
Lowery says the needs she’s running into so far are complex and varied.
“I did have a parent express need, with helping, she needed help with a deposit because she had to move,” she said. “And that was because she had had a surgery, she had been off of work for six months. So that caused stress in the home. I feel as I get more people in, we'll find out what the needs are.”
Children and families come to Lowery through a mix of avenues. Lowery always carries flyers advertising the program, receives referrals from schools and regularly attends area networking events.
A vital part of the job is building a relationship of trust with parents, Lowery says she approaches this by being an open book, sharing some of her own experiences. Lowery is a survivor of domestic violence, a single parent and has lost a child.
“I had him when I was young,” she said. “And then I have some high schoolers and now I'm starting over and I've got eight year old triplets. So there's just many things in my life.”
In addition to Lowery, the Revive program also employs a certified child therapist and a behavioral interventionist. Lowery hopes the program sets Peoria children up for success.
“I'm born and raised in Peoria. So this is my home. This is my town,” she said. “I'm proud and I want to see everyone be successful in our hometown.”
If you’re a family in need of assistance, you can find more information on the Revive program by calling 309-226-8766, emailing email@example.com or filling outGoodwill’s contact form here.