Youth Development

The Youth Development Program was launched in 2003 to focus on enriching the lives of youth living with sickle cell disease. Children suffering with Sickle Cell Disease are generally absent from school more than the norm due to the pain they endure during a crisis. As a result, they tend to fall behind in the learning process. Therefore, we have developed a program that is designed to create recreational, educational and enrichment activities that enhance self-esteem and facilitate the development of skills needed to successfully cope with this chronic illness. Typically support programs, such as this, focus directly on the person(s) affected. The Youth Development Program has chosen to take a more comprehensive approach by engaging the family into the education and support process. Activities are structured to include the patient, their siblings and their parents/guardian.

  • Fast Trackin’ Youth Tutorial Program
  • The Dream Makers Parent Advocacy Seminars

Fast Trackin’ Youth Tutorial Program

The goal of the youth tutorial program is to enable the students, through professional tutoring and mentoring, to become successful academically while assisting them in realistically appraising their vocational options. The primary focus of this program is to enhance the student’s reading, comprehension and math skills. The model that we deploy integrates the arts and horticulture into the learning process to augment/compliment the subject/lesson for the day. The intent of the tutoring program is to supplement the curriculum being taught by the educational institutions.

Parental Support: The Dream Makers Parent Support Seminars

The Dream Makers Support Center’s  goal is to give family members affected by sickle cell disease the skills needed to successfully support on behalf of family members with sickle cell disease. The Center is for both, parents of children and young adults with sickle cell disease  as well as adults with sickle cell disease. There are 3 core areas of focus in the support center: support in the schools, support in the healthcare system and support in employment settings.

Sickle Cell Screening

Prior to 1989, Sickle Cell testing was not mandatory for newborns in the State of Illinois. Through our work with medical professions specialized in Hematology and review of statistical data for positive newborn sickle cell screening results, HAH learned that there was a great need to encourage young adults over the age of 18 to get screened,  not only for  Sickle Hemoglobin, but other Abnormal Hemoglobins as well. In 2006, collaborating with Clear Channel Radio and the University of Illinois at Chicago Sickle Cell Center, we conducted a pilot Sickle Cell Screening Program. This program was specifically designed to attract young adults between the ages of 18 and 35- their “child bearing” years. The goal of this pilot was  to encourage screening coupled with education regarding the genetics of sickle cell disease thereby  increasing awareness of the need to know yours and your partner’s sickle cell status.  In response to the pilot’s success, with the support of the University of Illinois at Chicago Sickle Cell Center we continue to offer this valuable service.

Educational Awareness

We partner with various health organizations to host Sickle Cell Disease seminars and workshops, as well as develop custom-designed workshops for groups and organizations.


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