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S24 Episode 01: Kids, Stress and Mental Health


KidsMatter is a local nonprofit working to empower kids to realize their purpose, know their value and find their pathway. Executive Director and CEO Nina Menis describes the community resources available to help youth cope with anxiety and emerge stronger from the pandemic.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit

Quote from the episode:

“I think that anxiety is just a natural reaction to what we have all experienced. Part of it for young people is to know that what they are feeling is normal as we’re doing a re-entry – getting back with their friends, with the programs they’ve been involved in. It has been an opportunity to build those resilience muscles during COVID. What I find interesting is that everybody’s experience was a little different. So everybody is coming out of it with different needs. Either way, it’s normal and KidsMatter is there to partner with the community, the schools, families and youth to help them with this re-entry period.”  - Nina Menis

About Our Guest

Nina Menis, CEO and Executive Director, KidsMatter, bringing over 30 years of experience and a passion for supporting youth in the community.

Read about Nina in this article by Hilary Decent in the Naperville Sun.

About KidsMatter

KidsMatter is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, serving kids in Naperville and beyond. Its mission is to build resilient kids who say "no" to destructive choices and "yes" to their endless possibilities and its vision is to empower kids to realize their purpose, know and understand their value and help them find their pathway.

Here are a few of the vital resources and support for youth that KidsMatter provides:

  • Programs and resources to help kids cope with stress
  • Leadership training
  • Resources for parents

Visit to find a wealth of resources.

Want to help?  KidsMatter has volunteer opportunities, a youth board, the Empower Gala on Spetember 17, 2021, and also invites donations of any size. 

KidsMatter partners with Naperville Park District to promote the annual Kite Fly at Frontier Sports Complex to kick off summer and provide a fun event for kids and families.

Naperville Park District provides year-round activities for youth and families. Visit the Park It In Naperville page for the most recent seasonal ideas for fun!


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Your contribution will help Naperville residents in need enjoy the benefits of recreation programs.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
© 2021 Naperville Park District