In 1972, troubled youth in and around south suburban Park Forest started gathering at a local drop-in center. The center, located in a small village cooperative sales office, was staffed by a few volunteers and a village youth worker, C. Gary Leofanti.
Today, that drop-in center is a dynamic health care and social service agency which has earned a national reputation for meeting the needs of children, youth and families – Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center.
“Everything Aunt Martha’s offers today – primary health and dental care, mental health counseling, child welfare, juvenile justice, prevention and youth development services – was in the minds of the founders when this organization began. “A vision, 38 years ago, is today very much a reality,” notes Leofanti, the agency’s Founder and President.
Aunt Martha is a concept, the embodiment of the kind, caring relative to whom a youth in need could turn for help, or a sympathetic ear. Our agency’s name was chosen to convey the warm, family atmosphere we want people to experience when they receive our services.
Aunt Martha’s now reaches more than 80,000 individual clients each year, and remains true to its founding vision to respond to the needs of youth, families and communities by providing access to the resources, knowledge and services necessary to help them thrive.