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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published October 23, 2008                                                          

Robert Crown opens doors in Aurora

  By Christine Cuthbert

   Every day children in the Fox Valley are struggling with issues of obesity, negative body image and more.
   And as an area with a high Spanish-speaking population, often times the language barrier has prevented these kids from getting the help they need – until now.
   Members of the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, a local organization that has been teaching health and sex education to children for 50 years, opened the doors of a new satellite center in Aurora last week, and the community is thrilled about the impact it will have.
   “We’re going to require that the people who work here are bilingual so that anyone who comes for classes can learn and understand,” said Catalina Ramos-Hernandez, who will head the Aurora center. “Having someone here who is knowledgeable of the needs of the community is a big deal.”\
   Having a location in Aurora will open up the center’s programs to thousands of more children, and Ramos-Hernandez said the staff will be able to focus on certain issues that effect their area more than others.
   “We have a big problem with obesity,” she said. “So we’ll be working with the Kane Country Department of Health to decrease that.”
   Ramos-Hernandez said the need for the center in Aurora was critical. Tight school budgets have cut transportation funding so schools are unable to bus children to Hinsdale for classes. Having the center in Aurora opens up classes to children there as well as those in Naperville and other surrounding communities.
   “It’s not just a location, it’s a positive force for change,” Robert Crown Board Chairman Ross Forbes said. “We do a lot of outreach west, and it made more sense if we were in the community.”
   Along with negative self-image, obesity and bullying, the Aurora site will also focus on issues such as limited life expectancy. With numerous murders in Chicago’s south and west suburbs in recent months, kids are more likely to engage in risky behavior since they don’t expect to live very long.
   Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said he’s grateful to have the Robert Crown organization in his city.
   “Having them here will create a healthier, stronger community,” he said. “It’s a joyous day in Aurora, one to celebrate.”
   The newest center in Aurora follows the Robert Crown expansion into Lawndale in 2002. Just as Aurora will cater to a large bilingual population, The Homan Square location offers classes specific to the needs of that community, which struggles with early sexual experimentation and obesity.
   Kathleen Burke, chief executive officer for Robert Crown, said work for the center continues to grow because youth are constantly facing new challenges and pressures.
   “We are opening new frontiers and expanding our reach by working to offer programs in new communities and with new partners,” she said.

       Making a Difference is a yearlong partnership between The Hinsdalean
and the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, which works
to teach and motivate youth to lead healthy, happy and safe lives.



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