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DIVERSE LEARNERS ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2018-2019

Dr. Crystal Balfour: Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychologist, Under the Rainbow program at Mt. Sinai Hospital

Melba Brooks: Special Education Teacher for CPS district office

Norri Browning: Horizons for Youth parent of a diverse learners in high school/college program

Jimmie Clevenger: Title I teacher, IDEA Inclusion Specialist for CPS, mother of two diverse learners

Barbara Cohen: Special Education Advocate and Founder of Special Family Support, LLC

Meghan Colgan: Vice President of Programs, Horizons for Youth

Lorena Contreras: Horizons for Youth parent of a diverse learner in elementary program and high school program.

Erin Coughlin: CPS Special Education elementary school, Horizons for Youth Big Sib, tutor and Summer Academic Program teacher

Renee Curtin: Former High School Special Education teacher and Horizons for Youth paid tutor

Pat Doyle: Partner – Winston & Strawn, Horizons for Youth Board Member

Bob Dunklau: Vice President/CEO – OMI Industries, Horizons for Youth Board Member

Dr. Ari Goldstein: Founder, Cognitive Solutions Learning Center

Moira Hathcock: Leadership Council Member, Parent of two diverse learners

Peter Leonard: Director of Student Assessment for CPS, Horizons for Youth Big Sibling Mentor

Dr. Michelle Lia: Assistant Director for Professional Development, Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education, School of Education, Loyola University Chicago

Debbie Ludolph: Sales Executive – Aon Hewitt, Horizons for Youth Board Member, parent of diverse learner

Carly McKeague: Special Education Teacher and Case Manager in CPS, Horizons for Youth Big Sibling Mentor

While other Chicago groups screen for high-achievers, Horizons for Youth accepts and serves students of all academic abilities. We currently have 90 Diverse Learners identified in our program, including diagnoses of: ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Specific Learning Disability, Language Impairment, and Developmental Delay.

We do whatever it takes to ensure our students defy the odds. For our students with diverse learning needs, we:


  • Diagnose why students are struggling in school through comprehensive psycho-educational examinations provided at no cost to families
  • Secure IEP/504 learning plans to confirm that students will receive the support they need at school
  • Oversee the implementation of the plan, ensuring needs are addressed
  • Teach students how they learn, empowering them to self-advocate
  • Train teachers on evidence-based interventions
  • Navigate families through identification and response
  • Provide professional tutoring conducted by highly trained instructors
  • Pair students with licensed clinical social workers for counseling when needed

“I am extremely grateful for the staff at Horizons for Youth and all that they do for my children. They really care about my kids and go above and beyond!”

Yessenia, Program Parent

“All these years, I just thought I wasn’t smart.”

A Diverse Learner alumnus, discovering that he just learns differently from his peers