Texting and calling your friends is not the same as hanging out in person, and a Zoom prom is not the same as a real prom (Jimmy Fallon agrees). Gov. J.B. Pritzker, himself a parent of two teenagers, acknowledged this reality when he directly addressed students at the end of his March 31 press conference.
Teenagers who need extra support or someone to talk to do have access to resources by phone and online. Below are some resources for mental health and learning—along with some ideas for ways to connect, have fun, and stay active while practicing safe physical distancing.
Counselors, social workers & more
From Oak Park and River Forest High School
- Oak Park and River Forest High School counselors and social workers are available to chat, email, or videoconference. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Access the school’s COVID-19 Info Center for updated info on meal distribution and food assistance, remote learning, and more »
- Huskie Tips for coping with COVID-19 »
From Oak Park Elementary School District 97
From your library
- Virtual mental health assessments with Rush University Medical Center »
- Get in touch with Teen Services Coordinator Stephen Jackson at StephenJ@oppl.org.
- Teens invited to share their voice on managing stress and anxiety, creating new app »
- Learn more about the library’s Social Services and Public Safety Team »
Free phone support from Thrive Counseling
- Thrive Counseling Center has a free phone support line for any emotional issues you may be experiencing during this uncertain and often stressful time. Call 708.383.7500, ext. 888, Monday through Friday, 9 am-2 pm.
- Learn more about Thrive Counseling Center »
From the Community Mental Health Board, the Oak Park and River Forest townships & the Village of Oak Park
Additional online resources & articles
- Society of Pediatric Psychology resources »
- From The New York Times: “Helping teens make room for uncomfortable emotions” (Get full NYT access through the library)
Connection & fun
20 ways to stay active
Our Teen Services staff Stephen Jackson and Darcel Washington put together this fun list of ideas:
- Design a new logo image for Teen Services! Enter the image creation contest »
- Chronicle this historical event in time. Record and submit your stories to the Oak Park Oral History Project »
- Create a special reading area in your house. Get tips from Miss Beronica »
- Set a book reading goal. Find digital title recommendations »
- Bake cookies or a favorite dessert.
- Play a game with younger siblings, and play board games with the whole family.
- Create a singing or dancing video.
- Apply for scholarships.
- Create kindness jars.
- Go for a walk (while staying at least 6 feet away from other people).
- Start a gratitude journal.
- Start a diary.
- Make a list of senior relatives you can reach out to during this time—and then follow through!
- Redecorate your room.
- Write a book, song, or a letter.
- Listen to new music.
- Do something you’ve been putting off.
- Work on New Year’s resolutions.
- Stay in touch with your friends by group video chat.
- Apply to be on our Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board for when library buildings reopen!
Ways to connect
The Moms of Tweens and Teens website offers a printable Survival Guide with ways to help get your kids organized as well as binge-worthy TV shows and movies to watch together. Access the Stuck at Home Survival Guide »
Online enrichment & learning
College and career preparation
- New! The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) student portal offers resources and tools to help students choose a college, learn about careers, find scholarships, simplify the financial aid process, learn how to budget their money, and more. Watch ISAC’s Facebook Live videos Tuesdays at 10 am »
- Free SAT prep resources. See a list of 10 different websites that offer SAT prep. Some offer full-length tests, some offer diagnostics that can help you see areas to improve, and some have flash cards and helpful tips for how to prep. See which one works best for you!
- Take career assessments for guidance. Not sure what careers you’re interested in? Career OneStop offers interest, skills, and work values assessments to give you some guidance on what career paths might be a good fit for you!
- Set up an account with College Greenlight. This is a great resource for researching colleges, learning more about what schools might be a good fit for you, and finding scholarships. You can create a profile and College Greenlight will filter scholarships that match your profile.
- Tour colleges online. Tour hundreds of colleges with virtual tours. It’s a great way to learn more about schools that you are not able to visit and just see more options across the country!
- Get cash assistance. Scholly is offering cash assistance to students facing a financial hardship through the COVID-19 crisis.
- Emerson Collective: Clearing pathways to a meaningful education by supporting students and empowering them about social justice.
- BrainPop is a group of educational websites with more than 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12, together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, math, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music.
- Engaging Congress is a free, fun, interactive game incorporating primary resources that explores the tenets of representative government and the challenges faced in our current society.