1/1/2018 - Donate to YSB through Amazon


Easy way to Donate to YSB!

Simply go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Amazon will ask you what charity you want to support and you can choose Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley. The next time you want to order something from Amazon instead of going to amazon.com go to smile.amazon.com and whenever you purchase something from the smile website, YSB will receive .5% of the sales.

There is no extra cost to you. The items cost the same, the shipping is the same, you can still get prime and free shipping, etc. It works. 

Spread the word!

Such an easy way to help our programs, and our kids… Please pass on to your friends, family, foster parents, everyone!


3/28/2018 - Get To Know YSB Board Members - John Armstrong

John Armstrong
Board Secretary/Treasurer
Board Member since November 2015

John was born and raised in Ottawa.  After attending the University of Illinois, his banking career took him to Chicago.  About six years ago, his family relocated back to Ottawa. John is currently Executive Vice President & Cashier at The First National Bank of Ottawa.  His wife, Christine, (also a native Ottawan) and he have three boys; JC (7), Grady (5) and Levi (2).

John feels honored to serve on the YSB board as Secretary/Treasurer.  YSB’s mission of “helping young people and families succeed by serving them in their home, school and community” is crucial to the markets we serve.  While this board is able to provide oversight and some direction, it is the hard work of the agency’s staff that makes YSB successful.

Since John joined in 2015, there have been countless success stories of children and families who have benefited from the hard work of the agency.  The annual fundraiser is always a great event that is able to promote YSB’s mission and raise funds for the agency.

John states that “There are always challenges in our paths to deliver our services, from uncertainty of funding from the state and federal governments to the safety of our case workers out in the field.  My goal is to continue to help guide management in the execution of YSB’s mission in an efficient and safe manner.”

4/2/2018 - Foster Parents of the Quarter - Duane & Amy Sherman

Foster Parents of the Quarter

April 2018

Congratulations to Duane and Amy Sherman!

Duane and Amy Sherman have been licensed foster parents since November 2010. They have assisted several children in their return home to their parents and are currently fostering a sibling pair. They chose to become foster parents because they felt a desire to help children in need. Through one of Amy’s cousins, they learned that there were many children nearby needing help.

The Sherman’s have also “quietly” recruited foster parents, 1 by 1; and inspired their new recruits to also spread the word about foster care needs, including the always present need for more foster parents. In the process, they have recruited families for YSB.

For a while, they were running a support group in Crystal Lake which became too difficult due the busy schedules of 5 children in their home. A new, small group has started with another family leading.

One of the recruited families has brought foster care community outreach to light at theirs and the Sherman’s church home. They organized a “Lunch and Learn” one Sunday morning at church for any member to hear the Sherman’s be interviewed as experienced foster parents. The license worker and agency presenter were invited guests. This group is connecting with another church in the area that is also starting a support network for foster families. As well as looking for other community connections that can be made. This same church is offering the Empowered to Connect simulcast for free to all who attend at this site in April 2018.

Thank you to the Sherman’s for your generosity towards these children in need, and always for helping to make this a better world to live in for those who need it the most.


4/18/2018 - Having Fun in the Ladd After School Program


Making Friends and Having Fun in the Ladd After-School Program! 

Many families face a daily struggle to manage their time as they work a full time job, or several part-time jobs. Often, this can create hardship for their schedules as their children finish the school day well before they can leave from work to pick them up and take them home.

Fortunately, After School Programs are created and offered in most communities to offset this time-management crunch. For the past 15 years, The Ladd After-School Program, run by the Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley and financed through fundraising and family fees, has been one such program working with and helping children in their community.

Having time to unwind after a long day of school can be just what a child needs. Daily activities in the Ladd ASP include going outside to play, flying kites, or going into the gym for organized games. When the weather is bad, children are given seasonal crafts, coloring projects, painting and games of their choosing. Parents also love that the children are given homework time, as adult educators are available to help them with any questions they may have. To keep the fun going, contests are held every 1 to 2 months in which the winner receives a prize.

These programs succeed through the love and care of local educators who wish only for children to succeed in life. Two such people are Nancy Piccatto, who runs the Ladd ASP, and after school educator, Julie Kobold.

Nancy says “this program is so important for our families and working parents. We love the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, because it is so true”.  Nancy adores her time with the kids, especially on days when the children have an early 11:20 a.m. dismissal. The group will walk over to the local Casey’s General Store to pick up pizzas and eat them in the town park. 

Nancy hopes to add more children to this fun program each year. More than anything, she loves that the kids look forward to attending, and that it feels like a little family where they can be themselves, have fun and be safe. The best evidence for the success of this program is when parents come to pick their children up and many will say “I’m not ready to go yet!”.

If you are interested in the Ladd After School Program, please contact Nancy by e-mail at NancyP@ysbiv.org, or by phone at 815-228-1967.

Pictured are Nancy Piccatto and Julie Kobold