Helping Kids Succeed in School and in Life

The Education Center Kids' 2019 Best Friends Benefit



The Education Center will Celebrate 40 Years of Helping Youth Succeed at the Kids' Best Friend Event

Each day for the past 40 years, The Education Center has been dedicated to its vision of helping children discover their own strengths and dreams and pursuing those dreams against all odds. Through the efforts of the organization's founder and executive director, Dr. Michael Litow, the center has helped students learn the skills "to succeed in school as well as in life."

The center's 40-year record of achievement will be celebrated at the Kids' Best Friend Awards Benefit in October. Many inspirational success stories will be shared by former students and grateful parents.

The Education Center will also honor two individuals who have led efforts to enhance the lives of children and families. Michael Vickery, director of the Institute for Community, will receive the Kids' Best Friend Award, and Nicki Anderson, president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, will be honored with the Making a Difference Award.

"As we celebrate 40 years of working with students throughout the area, we are pleased to honor these two individuals who have devoted their lives to serving children and families, enriching lives and making communities stronger," said Litow. "They exemplify the positive leadership that is vital to the success of our youth."


Kids' Best Friend Award

Michael Vickery, winner of the Kids' Best Friend Award, has served for 20 years as the director of Institute for Community. This non-profit organization partners with other groups to provide educational and enrichment services for children and families. Vickery has created and directed programs that impact the lives of thousands of kids in the western suburbs, including summer camps, after-school care, academic enrichment, and youth leadership training programs. The institute also offers a free lunch program in partnership with the Northern Illinois Food Bank, serving over 5,000 free lunches every summer. Vickery's work ensures that families living in diverse and multi-family housing communities have access to opportunities that promote faith, friendship, and quality of life.


Making a Difference Award

Nicki Anderson, the Making a Difference Award winner, is the first woman to serve as the president & CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.  She has been called a true "servant leader" for the vast amount of work she has done with organizations in Naperville and beyond. She has served on several not-for-profit boards including 360 Youth Services, SamaraCare, IDEA Health and Fitness, and Loaves and Fishes Community Services. Anderson fosters business and community relationships that enhance the quality of life for all families. She shares her values of family, service and innovation to make our community the best place to live and work. Prior to her role as CEO, Anderson founded Reality Fitness in 1993, which was one of the first in-home personal training businesses in the region. Reality Fitness went from a one-woman operation to a staff of 12 with the addition of a brick and mortar facility. She traveled throughout the world educating small and large health clubs about customer service, marketing and innovation.

2019 Kids' Best Friend Benefit and Awards Dinner

The 2019 Kids' Best Friend Benefit and Awards Dinner will be held on Saturday, October 12, in the Grand Ballroom of the Double Tree by Hilton Lisle Naperville, 3003 Corporate West Drive, in Lisle. Tickets are $150 per person and include a cocktail reception, dinner, raffle, and live auction. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact the center at 630-420-7807 or visit . The Education Center of Developmental Resources is located at 113 East Van Buren in Naperville.

NCTV "Spotlights" The Education Center

In a series of interviews on NCTV's "Spotlight on Naperville," students, parents of former students, and board members discuss how Executive Director Dr. Michael Litow helps empower young people to take responsibility for their own lives, become self-reliant, and "succeed in school and in life."

"Find a way and not an excuse."

Dr. Mike Litow, board member Mike Tegge, and parent Maria DeBartolo discuss how DeBartolo's son and other students at the Education Center learn to take responsibility for their own behavior.
"Look ahead and prepare or look behind and regret."

Dr. Mike Litow and former student Sagar Thakkar discuss how Sagar and other students who are struggling at school learn how to problem-solve, choose to succeed, and make their own situations better.
"Succeed in school and in life"

Dr. Mike Litow and parent Jeanne Newman discuss how the Education Center helped a bright but discouraged college student find his own path and pursue a course of study that allows him to succeed in the life he chooses.
"We are all in this together."

Dr. Mike Litow and parent Scott Marple discuss how the involvement of parents, job shadowing by students, and mentoring by business partners help students learn life skills and personal responsibility that help them succeed in school and in life.

Our mission is to help children succeed in school as well as in life. We discover what a child is good at and then build on their own interests. Children and teens trust us because we believe in them.

Our close relationships with school systems and the business community in Chicago and its suburbs, allow us to advocate for our students with guidance counselors and teachers as well as to connect a child with a potential mentor or employer. And we never turn away a child because of money. Whatever it takes, we go the distance for our kids.