Happy Holidays from
Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
                                                                                         December 2012

 Message From Our CEO

Dear Friends,


As this year draws to a close, I want to thank you for your incredible support. Whether you were a volunteer, made a financial gift, served on our board, or participated at an event, your contributions enabled C4 to help so many others in need.


As you will read, generous donors made a big difference to our C4 families and Drop-In Center participants this holiday season. We are also very grateful for your contributions to our Holiday Gift Fund for our children and older adults. Every gift carries a message of hope.


On behalf of the entire C4 community, I wish you and yours very happy holidays!




Eileen Durkin

President & CEO



staff and toys at C4 North
C4 North Staff check out the stockroom full of gifts!

Inspiring Donors

C4 Holiday Spirit  

  staff with gifts for kids
C4 Clark staff take an inventory. 

Thanks to the tremendous generosity of Sonco Real Estate, our C4 families will find gifts to open under the tree this holiday.


It all began when Sonco co-owner Jack Korol accepted an invitation to tour C4 Clark after meeting CEO Eileen Durkin at a business meeting.


 Korol brothers
Jack Korol (center) with brothers Steve and Gary.


"I was very impressed with what C4 does," recalls Korol, who also operates a distribution center in Elk Grove Village with brothers Steve and Gary. "My father-in-law is a psychiatrist and seeing the work going on at C4 really hit home."


After visiting C4, Korol decided to open his warehouse to C4 clinicians from Clark, Peterson and North, asking them to select toys and gifts to distribute to C4 families. When the shopping spree was over, there were an estimated seven pallets of boxes stuffed with toys, gifts and crafts for needy C4 families. C4 staff is now distributing the assortment of floor puzzles, crafts, puppets and other toys to children.


"We like to give back to the community," says Korol. "It's an important part of what we do."








Secret Santa Special Gift 

The spirit of the giving was alive and well at our Drop-In Center this week, thanks to the generosity of Field Trip Factory employee Pam Cameron. In lieu of a Secret Santa gift, Pam's company encouraged employees to do something that would be meaningful to the person whose name they chose.


The co-worker she chose had lost two friends to suicide; Pam was inspired to target her good deed to people coping with mental illness. When she contacted C4, staff made several suggestions.


Pam chose to donate a holiday lunch for Drop-In Center participants: mostaccioli, salad and Christmas desserts were a big hit with the nearly 60 people treated to the feast.


Pam said she chose the Drop-In Center because she liked the idea of peer support. "No one should feel alone in this world," Pam said. "Everyone should have a place in the world where they feel welcome and loved."



  drop in center feast
Enjoying holiday lunch at the Drop-In Center.






Special Thanks from Parenting Fundamentals!  


We are very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bensinger and Mr. and Mrs. Roger Bensinger, each of whom donated $4,000 to support a donor event this November for Parenting Fundamentals. Our parenting education services reach nearly 300 low-income Chicago families every year.




C4 in the Community! 

Peer Specialist Earns Recovery Support Credential

Kurt Helmbacher

Kurt Helmbacher, a peer specialist with one of our Community Support Teams at C4 Clark,  recently earned his credential as a Certified Recovery Support Specialist from the State of Illinois.

The CSSR credential is a significant achievement, requiring 100 hours of both continuing education training and supervisory hours. The candidate must also pass a written exam.

Kurt is one of five C4 peer specialists, having joined the staff in November 2009.

Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and substance use issues, Kurt observes that the CSSR training helped him take a more "active role" as a peer specialist.

"I'm much more comfortable now telling my own story if I think it will help someone," Kurt says.  "It's been empowering."


C4 Associate Director Presents at
Cook County Forum

C4 Associate Director Viviana Ploper was a key presenter at "Removing the Stigma and Breaking Down the Barriers," a forum on women's mental health sponsored by the Cook County Commission on Women's issues. Ploper discussed Mental Health First Aid training at the December 6 forum held at St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

Prevention Saves in Treatment Costs, Parenting Director Tells National Conference

Parenting Fundamentals Director Katharine Bensinger testified at the National Federation of Families Children's Mental Health Conference held November 14-18 in Washington, DC.  Katharine discussed how prevention services, such as parent education, can save future spending for treatment.

In This Issue
Inspiring Donors
Inspiring Consumers
Peterson staff with gifts
Kawana Williams checks out gifts that will go to Children at C4 Peterson.

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Ways to Help C4!
  • Give a gift that celebrates the true meaning of the season. Contribute to our Children's Holiday Fund or Older Adult Holiday Party.
Help us make sure that every child has a gift to open, and that our older adults enjoy a special celebration. Give the gift of joy!

  • Thank you for making a difference! 

MHFA in the New Year!


Boosting your mental health literacy is a great way to start the New Year!

Register for a Mental Health First Aid Training today.  The 12-hour training take place at 4740 North Clark Street, Chicago, from 9 am to 3 pm.

Here are the upcoming trainings for 2013:
  • January 11-12
  • February 7-8
  • March 7-8 


Our Gift to YOU!

Watch our special holiday video with an inspiring performance by our own Board Member Sharon Pulliam and greetings from
CEO Eileen Durkin and our Drop-In Center participants.

Watch our video on YouTube!

View our videos on YouTube


C4 in the News

 Chris Carroll, Specialized Services Director and head of our children's crisis hotline evaluation team, talks about the surge in mental health crises among Chicago schoolchildren with Catalyst reporter Sarah Karp.

Read  Catalyst Article

Members of Silent Voices, the blog published by our Drop-In Center Writer's Worksop, were recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. You can read about the work of C4 writers Kelly Greenwood, Elizabeth Hipwell and Sheri Hillson in the article "Voices Emerge from Silence."

Read Chicago Tribune Article


Inspiring Consumers

Art of Connection

sample art

When you're out and about this holiday season, be sure to stop by the galleries at the School of the Art Institute, where some C4 artists are exhibiting their exciting work! Four young women, part of a teen art therapy group at C4 North, worked with therapists Dali McGuire and Anna Goldberger as well as intern Erika Molina to prepare for the annual exhibit.

"The Art of Connection" focuses on mental health and a non-traditional art therapy method: installation art.  The exhibit showcases work by graduate art therapy students and the students they work with at their internship sites.   


"The girls did an incredible job being transparent with the audience about their experiences as young adults," observed Erika Molina. "Their art pieces put the viewer in their shoes, which was very empowering for the young women." 


The exhibit runs through January 4, 2013 at 33 South State (7th floor) Chicago, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 am to 6 pm.  



student at installation
Aine, one of four C4 artists, puts finishing touches on the exhibit.



 Read more about the exhibit 





Did you know that C4 has helped move more than 50 residents with mental illness from nursing homes back into the community?  In next month's issue, read the inspiring story of a woman who regained her independence under the Williams Consent Decree. 



Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4)
4740 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640

773.769.0205  Crisis Line and All Calls


Offering hope and healing to adults and children recovering from mental illness, emotional trauma and substance use.