Registration for Snowball 2017 is Now Open!!

      *Registration closes on Friday April 27th, 2017*

           *Snowball will be held from May 12-14th, 2017 at Camp Chi, Wisconsin Dells*
                 

How to Register:

Step 1: Click on the link provided to save a spot for 2017: Save a Spot for Snowball 2017 

Step 2: Download, fill out and sign ALL paperwork. Completed paperwork can be scanned and emailed, faxed, dropped off or mailed to us. Click on the link to download paperwork: 2017 Registration Packet

  • Email: kellygrover@jcfs.org or call 773-516-5510
  • Fax #: 847-676-0574
  • Address: 3033 W. Touhy Ave Chicago, IL 60645

Step 3: Participation fee is $200. Payment can be sent in cash, by check or by calling Chris Mysyk at Response with your credit card # at 773-516-5505. *Please see registration packet for more info*

  • Checks made out to: Response. Next to Memo write: Snowball 2017 
  • To charge by credit card: Call Chris Mysyk at 773-516-5505 with credit card # and expiration date. No American Express cards accepted. 

Step 4: All done! Start getting excited for Snowball and be looking for updates from our team! 

                    *Paperwork and payment must be submitted before spot is guaranteed* 

  Questions, comments or concerns? Please contact Kelly Grover at KellyGrover@jcfs.org or call 773-516-5510

 

 

 What is Snowball?

Snowball can be described as the best parts of summer camp packed into one weekend!  It’s a 3-day trip planned by teens for teens that will give you the chance to connect with students from all over the Chicagoland area.  With support from Response staff, our Teen Leaders facilitate a weekend full of fun activities and interactive workshops on topics that are important, including diversity, leadership, healthy relationships, social justice, and many others.  

 Snowball’s Mission:  Response’s North Shore Operation Snowball is committed to youth leadership and prevention education for Chicagoland teens. Snowball believes in encouraging healthy decision-making and adult/teen partnerships in an actively supportive and nurturing environment. We do this in two ways:

  1. We provide up to 25 high school age Teen Leaders opportunities for extensive leadership development, group facilitation training, and peer education skills over the course of an academic school year
  2. Our Snowball 3-day retreat is designed as a safe space for 100 teens from all over the Chicagoland area to engage in conversations and activities led by our Teen Leaders—supported by adult leaders—that both challenge belief systems and inspire extensive self-reflection

Have Questions?

We would love to answer any questions you have about Snowball. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send an email!

Kelly Grover
Kellygrover@jcfs.org 
773-516-5519

 

DJ Fish
djfish@jcfs.org 
773-516-5517

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 STORIES FROM SNOWBALL ALUMNI

SNOWBALL: MORE LIKE AN AVALANCHE OF POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON MY LIFE

 

By: Ronnie Kroell, participant and student leader 1999-2001

 

I would not be where I am today without SNOWBALL. There isn’t a day that goes by without thanks for the lessons that I learned, the people I met, and the confidence I gained from being a part of such an incredible program. Words simply do not exist (in any language) to describe the warmth that fills my heart when I look back on my experiences.

 

Snowball gave me a place to be ME. I didn’t have to put on a mask to hide who I was or pretend to be something that I wasn’t to be accepted. It was a safe space to learn and grow; to know that I was never alone. Not only were the programs educational, but they were entertaining and inspiring! The bonds that were formed in a few short days will never be broken.

 

As I write this, I am wishing that an “Adult Snowball” existed! Perhaps it could teach us how to be a better friend to one-another, to embrace our differences, and to celebrate our similarities. This program taught me that there was a time to learn and a time to teach, but above all else it gave me the gift of self-love and appreciation. After all, how can we ever begin to embrace the differences of those around us if we cannot even love the reflection staring back at us?

 

Snowball continues to have a priceless influence on my life. May it continue to influence and educate the hundreds of participants that sign-up each year; then the thousands that come in contact with them over the course of their life-times. I like to call this - the “SNOWBALL EFFECT”.

 

Submitted with LOVE and LIGHT … Keep shining SNOWBALL!
January 16, 2013

 

Response Center Testimonial

I remember first getting involved with Response Center. I was a freshman, and TeenAIDS came to do a presentation in my gym class. It was spring-time and for some reason we were in the main gym all sitting on the floor. I thought the presentation was very cool and I wanted to be just like the teens doing the presentation, so after it was announced that they were looking for new members of the group, I somehow fought my shyness (and believe me I was shy) and went to apply. I didn’t get into TeenAIDS, they were full I was told. but I did get into TYDE (at the interview, Annice, the group leader, wanted to see my bright blue nails, which I thought was very weird at the time), thus, beginning a four year involvement that in many ways shaped who I am today. I was the super-involved, overcommitted Response Center member. I’m pretty sure at some point I was active in ALL groups. Response Center was my home away from home, the true extent of the word commitment, and I loved every aspect of it.

While in college, I went to Eastern Europe and researched the role of language in outreach and public education efforts against the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. This project stemmed directly from TeenAIDS and involved a lot of things about diversity, acceptance, and positive language I learned through Response Center. 

I’m an OB/GYN and I chose this specialty before I got to medical school, while I was living in Germany. After graduating college, I received a fellowship from Congress and the German Bundestag that provides a stipend for young recent American grads to work in Germany for a year in the field of their undergrad or professional training. The problem was that while applying for the fellowship I didn’t quite have a field. I was fairly certainly that I was going to apply to medical school, but I wasn’t medically trained yet, and had spent my undergrad years getting dual language and literature degrees. But, through Response Center, and things that I’ve done since, I had a background in outreach and HIV/AIDS work. I lucked out and found a job working for two different organizations in Hamburg. The first one, my part time job, was working for Aids-Hilfe—the biggest HIV/AIDS NGO in Germany. My job was to translate brochures and outreach materials from German into different languages for public dissemination and education.  My second, full-time, job was working for a small NGO that worked with women immigrants and migrant sex workers. We offered psycho-social and legal counseling, and offered integration and interest courses for recent female immigrants to Hamburg. We were also an umbrella organization for an EU-wide project that collects data, provides outreach work, and publishes reports and materials for migrant sex workers throughout Europe. Through Tampep, I was involved in collaboration and data collection with public health organizations in Germany and the rest of Europe, and lots of outreach work. We provided condoms, information, and counseling to migrant sex workers working in Hamburg (prostitution is legal in Germany and many women migrate there to take advantage of that opportunity). Teaching sex workers about STI/HIV prevention, condom use, and condom negotiation required skills I learned providing AIDS education to my peers in high school. It is while working there that I decided to work with women and become a physician who provides for women’s healthcare needs. Currently, I’m involved in research projects in Moscow and Central Asia that targets migrant populations, their wives, and migrant sex workers and their risk of HIV/AIDS transmission. What I learned through Response Center continues in my professional life. 

But aside from helping me find an early professional interest, Response did a lot more for making me a person that I am today. As I said earlier, I was shy, really, and Response Center created an environment where I could meet people and interact with my peers without fear of being judged or laughed at, well unless I was doing something funny. Response Center taught me about acceptance and compassion and humility. It taught me about diversity and listening to others, not just their words, but their characters and who they are. I’m finding it hard to verbalize it all now, but Response Center was just that kind of a place: open, accepting, diverse, where teens came together to learn from other teens, to learn from each other how to be better, more accepting adults. Whether it was the natural teenage blues, or the difficulties of home life, and there were some, Response was a place where I wanted to be. It felt accepting and comforting, it made me feel like I mattered and was making a difference, whether in someone else’s life, or on a wall decoration. Response cCnter, my years with it, helped me find who I am, helped me become the adult I am today. I’m not perfect, but I am that much better because response center was there and allowed me to come hang out on late evenings after school…and to this day, when very bored, I sing the banana song, quietly and all to myself.

 

-Alex Golobof, M.D.


I learned about the Response Center through my high school counselor at Niles North.  I have very fond memories of the Teen Outreach Program and Snowball retreats, as well as connecting with other friends who were interested in peer mediation.  I also used the response center’s other programs, such as speaking with a counselor when I was fighting with my parents, and even bringing my dad in for a session over some of our issues (which was literally fighting constantly about leaving my wet towels on the floor.  Man, what kind of brat was I?!?).  My first annual exams/PAP smears were done through the Response Center as well, and I received birth control through the facility for years.  One fond memory that sticks out was us painting a “mural” in the back room, and realizing we had spelled response as “Resposne” accidentally, after already painting in the letters.  I believe my experiences there led me to earn my Bachelor’s in psychology with a counseling concentration, which is surprisingly useful as a personal trainer, my current profession

-Anonymous  

 

I went to Niles North ‘98-‘01 and participated in Teens For Change and Snowball. I don’t remember how I heard about Response Center; I think it was one of those things that everyone just knew about… something that was always there for us. Walking through the doors of Response Center I remember feeling this real sense of unconditional support and acceptance. In particular I remember RC being this total bastion of safety for LGBT youth, and that is something that is so essential and so lacking in most communities. I remember Outreach Staff listened to us in a very deep way, we really felt heard in a way that teenagers don’t generally get from grown-ups… and I think that was a big part of what made me want to become a Psychologist myself. And that’s what I’m doing now, living in Perth, Western Australia and working for the Criminal Justice System doing group therapy in prisons. Response Center provides such an important service to the community and I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

- Emily Parkinson, ’98-‘01

 

 

I found my voice and myself through SNOWBALL 

 

Before joining Response Center, I was a shy, quiet, freshman who preferred to just stick to myself. I was bullied in high school terribly. When my sister suggested Snowball, I had no idea what to expect, except, pictures and stories she shared with me about when she attended years before. My first Snowball I was terrified, nervous, not knowing what to expect. When I came home from that weekend, my life had changed. And it continued for several years. The next year I joined Teens for Change and Snowball Staff. As I did the following year as well. Snowball gave me a voice. Snowball gave me a purpose. It gave me a reason to step out of my shell and find light in the otherwise dark days of high school. Between the staff at Response, who changed my life, and the friends I made, I finally had somewhere to find myself and help others. I learned how to open my mouth and be assertive for myself and others.  I learned to have confidence in myself, something that seemed impossible. I NEVER had any self-esteem. At Response Center, that wasn’t acceptable. And for that, I am forever thankful.  I learned to stick up for things I believed in. To go in front of classrooms of students and do presentations. To believe in myself that I could be something, and I WAS someone that mattered. That I WAS worth it. I would like to say that all of this would have happened if I wasn’t involved in Response Center-but that would be a complete lie. Response Center gave me a purpose and gave me my life. Through my involvement, I was even honored with a Humanitarian Award from Response Center. What an amazing honor! Response Center left me with the gift and determination to go out there and change lives. I proudly graduated from college and became a Social Worker, helping children and families. I even was an adult leader for Deerfield High School’s Snowball in 2005. It has always been a part of my life and always will be. Who else still has their shirts and Snowball binders!?! The fact that this amazing program can still continue to provide teens with life changing events, is the best thing there is. This program changes so many lives. This program saves our lives too.  I am forever grateful for Snowball, Response Center and the amazing and inspirational staff members that changed my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Fondly,

Diana Gelfand, proud Snowball and Teens for Change participant and leader, 1999-2001

 

I was prepared for the big world outside

 

Response Center provided me the only release I could get from a very strict Russian Jewish household and sheltered Jewish private school education. I didn’t have sex education at school or home and we certainly didn’t talk about issues teens were facing. Response Center provided a great opportunity for me to learn how to deal with issues and it surfaced my love for volunteering.

I can’t possibly explain in words what Response Center did for me. I learned how to deal with issues teens face, made friends and blossomed out of my insecure shell. Above all I met mentors that I still keep in touch with to this day, more than ten years later.

When I went to college, I was prepared for the big world outside of my sheltered and restrictive upbringing. I knew the importance of drinking responsibly, having safer sex, and working with individuals with diverse upbringings. All these factors played a huge role in shaping who I am today.

Today I’m responsible, hard-worker in cooperate communications department at a large Chicago company, CME group, I volunteer when possible, I spread knowledge when possible and I have a deep appreciation for how I can impact the world around me. I am so grateful for the programming Response Center offers. I hope the organization sticks around for generations to come

-Alex Gorbokon

 

How are you able to talk to me like a person?

 

How do I put into words how agonizing it is to be a bundle of hormones in an awkward body and feel like no one understands? I suppose I don’t’ have to If anyone reading this is over 18. I was hitting the peak of my ‘I’m different and no one understands’ adolescence when I entered Response Center to volunteer for TeenAIDS. I’d seen them present at my school and I knew of the kids who had found their voices and their confidence at this office. In a strip mall. Above Edwardo’s pizza.

 

So I went. I filled out the forms. I volunteered. Some of the other kids there were from my school. Many weren’t. I hadn’t really thought of kids from other schools…my school was such an insulated planet of angst that I had forgotten it was part of a solar system.

 

The adults who worked there were baffling. Too old to be in college, but too young to be the kind of adults I had interacted with before. What do you mean your in your mid-twenties and getting a graduate degree in Psychology? Or Social Work? How are you able to talk to me like a person? I’m 16. No one talks to me like a person. They talked to me as if I am to be tolerated until become a person. Even the receptionist was kind.

 

 I didn’t talk much at first. I didn’t know what to say. Eventually I began to open up a bit. I would come in early and talk to the staff about nothing. I felt like the easiest place to be in my whole world was the worn sofa in their office. I attended meetings and asked questions. 

 

I also made friends. After meetings I would go to a local diner with the other volunteers from nearby towns. We did know the same people, since we didn’t go to school together, but we found plenty to talk about. I never realized I could connect with people like this. I was eye opening.

 

The TeenAIDS group practiced presenting about STD’s and prevention at Response Center. One time I got spermicide in my eye after demonstrating putting in a  condom on a  banana. A few months prior this would have sent me running home to burrow under my bedcovers for the rest of my life. That day  I laughed harder than anyone in the room and was the first to let everyone know that my eyeball was very likely pregnancy free.

At some point we stopped presenting at Response Center and moved to the local high schools to meet with peers. I was able to talk about the importance of sexual education and prevention without snickering. I was able to answer questions knowledgably. At the time I didn’t know where I’d found the courage to do this. Looking back it is so incredibly obvious, but isn’t everything when you’re a decade ( plus) out of it?

 

I couldn’t get enough of the staff and my new friends. When the opportunity came up to volunteer for a drug awareness counterpart to TeenAIDS I was the first one talking to strangers who had wandered in and didn’t yet have a clue about how awesome this place was. I was encouraging them to talk to the staff and watched new kids come out of their shells.

Response Center changed who I am at a fundamental level. The staff, volunteers and everyone who has ever used their resources knows that it is an integral part of so many people’s lives.

-Simona