Kenneth Young Center is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit, comprehensive provider of mental health and senior citizens’ support services. Our mission is to help people “feel good, do better and find solutions” by providing:
- Counseling for adults, children, families.
- Assessment, stabilization, linkage for adults/children in psychiatric crisis.
- Treatment, support, and recovery services for those with serious mental illness.
- Service coordination and in-home services for frail elderly persons.
- Volunteer opportunities.
We are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a nationally respected body with stringent standards of excellence in care.
Who Is Kenneth Young?
Kenneth Wayne Young played many roles in his life: husband, father, pastor, military man, scholar, advisor, friend. He was many things to many people. He loved to preach and give speeches, and when he spoke, everyone listened. He had a way of making each listener feel as if he was speaking just to them. He had a spirit that captivated others and inspired greatness. He knew when to lead and when to let others shine as leaders. Over thirty years after his death, those who knew him talk about him with warmth, reverence, and always a smile.
But one of Ken’s greatest titles had to be “community activist”. During desegregation, he fought to integrate his community in Cicero, Illinois. He worked tirelessly for the Family Service Center there to give equal rights to people of all colors, believing to his core that every human being had the right to be cared for and respected.
When his family moved to Hoffman Estates, he worked as Pastor of Our Saviour’s United Methodist Church and quickly got involved with the Elk Grove-Schaumburg Township Mental Health Center, which would later be renamed in his memory as Kenneth Young Center. An idealist and revolutionary at heart, he volunteered for the center as a member of the board, becoming a trusted advisor to the CEO and leadership team. At that time, the center focused exclusively on mental health services, advocating for the most vulnerable in the community to have access to quality and compassionate mental health care. Despite years of his own health problems, Ken’s tenacious spirit never faltered. He tried to never miss a Sunday at the pulpit and helped at the center whenever possible. At 60 years old, Ken passed away from cancer in October, 1986. Just months later, the center where he spent so much of his time got a new name: Kenneth Young Center.
The rest, KYC friends, is history.
Board of Directors
- Paul Kelly (Chair), Elk Grove High School
- Ahmad Alamiri, Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Abdullah Amin, Plating International
- Wayne Anderson, Motorola Solutions
- Susan E. Cowen, President and Chief Executive Officer
- Nancy Czarnik, Village Of Elk Grove Trustee
- Sarah Jerome, Community Volunteer
- Donna Moriarty, Siemens Industry, Inc.
- Kyle Rettberg, Neal, Gerber, & Eisenberg LLP
- Susan E. Cowen, President and Chief Executive Officer
- Grace Hong-Duffin, Chief Operating Officer
- Tish Rudnicki, Chief Program Officer
- Pam Baldinelli, Director of Child and Adolescent Division
- Mike Brown, Facilities Manager
- Crissy Castillo, Director of Older Adult Division
- Kate Garbarek, Director of Development and Communications
- Dr. Jerry Gibbons, Medical Director
- Gongmin Mou, Technology Director
- Cathy-Ann Romero, Human Resources Director
- Linda Springer, Director of Adult Division and Housing Division
- Rachel Zavala, Accounting Manager
Susan E. Cowen
Susan became the Chief Executive Officer for KYC in May, 2015 with twenty-five years of experience in the non-profit sector. After serving as the Executive Director for Family Service of Glencoe, Chief Executive Officer for Youth Network Council, and Chief Executive Officer for Illinois Collaboration on Youth, Susan’s experience in leadership, business development, and fundraising offer insight into youth and family services, Illinois regulatory requirements, and organizational development. “KYC is an organization ready for growth, serving the most vulnerable people in our community with dignity, compassion, and respect,” said Susan. “With the dedicated staff we have and the committed leadership of our Board, I knew we could ensure KYC’s long-term success and expand our mission to maximize the independence of people in need.”
Susan completed her Ph.D. Coursework in organizational design, nonprofit management, and social policy at the University of Illinois, a Master’s Degree from San Diego State University also in Social Work, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University in Law and Public Administration. She is a licensed clinical social worker, mother of two, and active runner and cyclist.
Grace joined the KYC Executive Leadership Team in March of 2016 after spending a significant portion of our her career working for the State of Illinois. Prior to her joining KYC, Grace served as a Senior Policy Adviser and Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Human Services, where she helped manage almost $6 billion budget and was responsible for approximately 13,000 employees. She ensured Illinois residents received direct services including access to public benefits, community health programs, services for people with disabilities, and behavioral health programs. As the consummate public servant, Grace also spent 8 years working as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney assisting victims of crimes. She was drawn to KYC’s diverse mission, compassionate commitment to clients, and immense growth potential. Grace is continuously amazed by the wonderful work and dedication of the staff.
Grace has her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University, Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. When not at KYC, Grace and her husband love to spend time with their three children, even if that means camping.
Tish has been with KYC since 1990, serving in a variety of roles throughout the agency. For more than 16 years, Tish acted as the Money Management and H.O.M.E. Support Coordinator, working directly with seniors to ensure they had quality supports in place to maximize their independence in their own homes. She transitioned to the Coordinator of Advocacy and Support before being promoted again as the Manager of Older Adult Services. As Manager, Tish grew the Older Adults Division significantly, where it now serves over 11,000 older adults in our community each year. Since 2016, she continues to serve KYC as the Chief Program Officer, overseeing all clinical and support services to clients from 3-105 years old. Her compassion for clients and staff, critical and strategic thinking, and fun-loving spirit guide the organization as a member of the Executive Leadership Team.
Tish has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Miami University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Tish enjoys spending her free time with her family and friends, hiking, biking, playing golf, and gardening. She also enjoys entertaining at her home in Barrington - and cooking with vegetables from her garden!
Pam started her career KYC in 1997 as a Clinical Intern while studying for her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling at Roosevelt University. After completing her internship, she spent nine years as a social worker for Catholic Charities, counseling pregnant and parenting teens. She then worked at Ravenswood Community Mental Health Center as an Intensive Case Manager on the child and adolescent team. In 2000, Pam returned to KYC as a therapist on the Adult Outpatient Team. Pam has specialized in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), providing in depth treatment to adults with suicidal and self-destructive behaviors, in addition to her work in private practice. Pam transitioned to be the Adolescent and Transitioning Youth Coordinator, overseeing and providing therapy to teens and young adults. In 2014, Pam became the Director of Child and Adolescent Services, leading the Division through a strategic restructuring to provide quality services at both the Schaumburg and Elk Grove Village locations, as well as Screening Assessment and Support Services (SASS) from the Mount Prospect Office. She also oversees the Positive Youth Development Team, engaging young people from local middle and high schools to make healthy lifestyle choices that prevent pregnancy, drug use, and alcohol consumption.
Pam is a gifted listener and storyteller, with a passion for serving others.
Mike joined the KYC Leadership Team in 2017 as the Environment of Care/Facilities Manager, overseeing the buildings' and grounds' maintenance at our four office locations. Mike has a long history of service, most recently as the Facilities Director for a local school district, overseeing the operations of buildings for kids aged 5-14 and ensuring the architecture, engineering, and life-safety needs of the district were fulfilled. He’s also worked as a Building Commissioner for a municipality and Construction Manager for a nonprofit building homes for low-income families. With each job, Mike has found joy in providing quality customer service and safe environments for people of all ages to live, learn, and grow. When coming to KYC, Mike wanted to join a team of professionals with a shared commitment to service. “Every life helped improves clients’ happiness, their family’s togetherness, and the world’s goodness,” says Mike.
Mike has his Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Indiana University and is a Certified in Construction Building Operations and a Certified Property Maintenance Manager. When not at KYC, Mike is an involved member of his church, spends time with his family, and is active in the outdoors.
Crissy came to KYC in 2006 as a Choices for Care Screener on the Older Adults Team, completing nursing home prescreen evaluations at Alexian Brothers Medical Center. In 2009, she was promoted to become the Choices for Care Program Team Lead, overseeing and growing the program for five years. Leaving KYC for just a few months in 2016, Crissy returned to be the Director of Older Adult Services, advocating for clients while leading the Older Adults Division. “KYC puts clients first and goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we serve our clients” said Crissy.
Crissy got her Bachelor’s degree at Northeastern Illinois University and a Master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, both in Social Work. When not at KYC, Crissy can be found with her husband Arnie and two young children, Sophia and Santino.
Kate joined the KYC Team in 2016 after managing the Friendship Senior Options Foundation in Schaumburg. With over a decade of experience in fundraising and communications, as well as a degree in Strategic Communication from Miami University, Kate continued her education at the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and received her Certificate in Fund Raising Management. "I'm deeply motivated by KYC's mission and commitment to serve the most vulnerable people in our communities," shared Kate. "I look forward to expanding KYC's outreach to ensure every person in need receives quality, compassionate behavioral health and older adult services."
Gongmin has worked at Kenneth Young Center since 1997, developing CIS, a nationally certified electronic health record system. As CIS’s founder and KYC’s Technology Director, Gongmin oversees the daily operation of data collection and processing for all behavioral health services, as well as the technology needs for the agency.
Gongmin was a Ph.D. Candidate at Northern Illinois University with a concentration in Information Management in Government and has a Masters of Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shandong University in Jinan, China.
Cathy-Ann came to KYC in 2012 as the HR Manager, overseeing the daily human resources needs of the organization. She was promoted to HR Director and now also manages KYC’s Volunteer Services in addition to paid employees. Prior to coming to KYC, Cathy-Ann worked as an HR Consultant and for multiple village governments in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. As an experienced professional in HR and management, Cathy-Ann brings strategic leadership for employee and volunteer relations. “I am excited that I can add value to KYC while continuing to learn and grow professionally,” said Cathy-Ann.
Cathy-Ann has her Master’s in Human Resource Management from DeVry University and a Master’s of Arts in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University. When not at KYC, Cathy-Ann can be found spending time with her husband, visiting her two adult sons, or walking the family dog, Skyler.
Linda came to KYC in 1987, working at as a Crisis Services Therapist, providing individual, family, couple, and group counseling to both adults and children. She was promoted in 1990 to serve as a Senior Clinician and supervisor, before becoming the Coordinator of Adult Services in 1998. Overseeing the entire Adult Services Team, Linda provided extensive leadership support to the outpatient team. In 2012, as Adult Services expanded to include community living and the Drop-In Center, Linda’s role expanded to its current oversight, ensuring quality programming for all adult clients at KYC.
Linda has her Masters of Science in Psychology from Western Illinois University and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. When not at KYC, she’s a talented baker, happily married, and proud parent to three adult children and a Labrador named Jack.
Rachel has over two decades of experience working in accounting and finance for nonprofits. She came to KYC in 2013 as the Senior Accountant, ensuring successful daily operations, budgeting, year-end audits, and grant reporting. Prior to KYC, Rachel spent fifteen years at Quantrro FPO Solutions, working with over 60 agencies including AgeOptions and the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago to manage grant budgeting and reporting.
Rachel has her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a Concentration in Business Systems Management and Accounting from Robert Morris College. When not at KYC, Rachel spends time with her adult children and young grandchildren.
Our annual report outlines the highlights of our fiscal year: July 1 to June 30.