Alive Center NFP

What makes you come Alive?

aka NaperBridge   |   Naperville, IL   |


Our Mission is to create Teen-Led, Teen-DrivenTM centers focused on empowering the youth of today to become the impassioned, resilient leaders of tomorrow. We serve all local teens - 5th -12th grade - in need of a place to belong, become empowered and discover who they are!

Ruling year info


Executive Director/CEO

Kandice Kay Henning

Main address

500 West 5th Ave.

Naperville, IL 60563 USA

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NTEE code info

Youth Community Service Clubs (O51)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Alive Center empowers the youth of today to become the resilient and impassioned leaders of tomorrow by helping them to find purpose. The Alive Center is a one-of-a-kind teen center in Illinois that deeply impacts thousands of youth through a powerful peer mentoring model. Alive provide teens and tweens a unique place to connect, discover and come alive! Our goal is for kids to stop looking for acceptance outside of themselves and instead accept and embrace who they are. We encourage them to focus on their gifts and talents, developing what makes each of them unique, helping them to find that critical purpose in life... What makes them come alive! Our free Teen-Led, Teen-Driven programs, classes, events, and Drop-in Hours have been designed to build confident and resilient kids and are offered year-round. Our flagship center in Naperville Illinois has been so successful that we are expanding to other cities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Teen-Led Tutoring

Free tutoring for youth from local high schoolers.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

We pair high schoolers up with a junior high students and they hang out and form a bond during our after school drop-in hours.

Population(s) Served

Free after school drop-in hours for all middle and high schoolers! Mentoring, tutoring, clubs, classes and just plain fun included.

Population(s) Served

Mindful Mondays includes mindful art. Wellness Wednesdays we make healthier recipes. Fitness Fridays we play games that include exercise. Led by high schoolers!

Population(s) Served

Teen-led media group that provides Alive with a teen voice. They create memes, blogs, videos, etc. with teen content.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Teen/tween Open Mic Nights twice a month. Kids can investigate their creative side in a safe space.

Population(s) Served

Alive has teen-led STEM clubs such as Girls Who Code, Computer Science Club and our Science Exploration Club.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Nonprofit Distinguished Services Award 2018

Naperville Jaycees

Nonprofit of the Year 2016

Naperville Glancer

Diversity in Business 2021

Daily Herald Business Ledger

Voted Best of the Best, Charitable Organization, in DuPage County. Reader's Choice Award 2020

The Naperville Glancer

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

After School Drop-in Hours

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This is the number of teen visits every month.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goals for 2021 are:

Our goal for each program is to:
● Provide teens with a space to create and innovate new Teen-Led-Teen-Driven programs, clubs, events, and campaigns.
● Provide local teens with a free, accessible, safe, inclusive, and supervised place to go after school (especially for teens whose parents work).
● Provide high quality, accessible tutoring that is free and thus available to all local teens.
● Increase self-esteem and confidence in our junior high teens, getting them ready for high school.
● Bring new life experiences and coping skills to our local teens.

We expect to achieve the following outcomes:
- Achieve 5,000 teen visits to Alive
- Provide over 100 mentoring hours
- Provide over 150 tutoring sessions
- Increase Alive teen self-confidence by 50%
- Increase Alive teen ability to cope with stress by 50%
- Increase Alive teen sense of belonging by 50%
- Increase in Teen Advisory Board leadership by 50%

STEM Goals:
● Introduce STEM to 150 girls
● Introduce STEM to 200 minority and/or low-income youth

We are honored and thrilled to be one of the first teen centers in the nation that is serving both junior high and high schoolers, privileged and at-risk, through a peer mentoring model. High schoolers lead and create all of our teen programs. It is a powerful peer model of teens helping teens where they all become empowered in the process. Our teen leads are learning early in life that they can make a difference along with learning valuable business and life skills. The younger teens and tweens they are serving are lifted up through our TLTD programs and will grow up to be the future leaders of Alive. Our program also keeps teens off the streets and out of trouble while helping them to learn, lead, create, innovate, build resiliency skills, and discover who they are and find that critical purpose in life... What makes them come alive!

Alive opened to satellite locations, leveraging free spaces from other organizations, in 2018. We plan to continue to open more to help empower more kids!

Alive serves teens and tweens who are interested in connecting with what makes them come alive, building leadership skills, increasing their health and well-being, and having a stronger sense of community and belonging. Our teen initiated Drop-In programs serve junior high and high school students living in the cities of Naperville, Aurora, and surrounding areas. All tweens and teens are welcome. Our convenient location allows most of our teens to walk to us straight from school or the bus. In addition to scheduled programming, the Alive Center is open for drop-in hours every week day from 3pm to 6 or 7pm during the school year and from 12 to 5 pm each week day during the summer.

Approximately 60% of our drop-in teens come from single parent families, 50% have a disability of some kind (including ADD, ADHD, autism, and mood disorders), and 33% come from families below the Median Family Income of DuPage County. As well, 15-30% of our drop-in kids are African Americans.

Teen-Led, Teen-Driven TLTD TM
Alive’s Teen Initiated Drop-In programs are innovative Teen-Led, Teen-Driven (TLTDTM) programs that provide teens with support and a space to innovate and lead while empowering younger teens and tweens in the process. Alive believes engaging youth in the solution to today’s challenges is critical to our future success:
• Teens have the ability to lead and innovate.
• Teens relate well with other teens (peer programs).
• Teen mentoring/peer programs increases community connection which is healthy for all teen risk factors.
• Teens bring fresh perspectives to community issues.
• Teens teach us about new technologies.
• A ‘teens-helping-teen’s peer model enables both sides to learn valuable skills, gain new experiences, and build relationships leading to more empowered, resilient teens.

Our Teen Initiated Drop-In programs include:
● Free after school drop-in hours providing local teens with a safe after school alternative. This is especially popular with teens whose parents work and those with special needs. Kids make new friends at our Drop-in Hours. The program includes:
o Complimentary tutoring.
o A mentoring program which provides our younger teens with older teen mentors.
o Clubs such as Girl Empowerment, Debate and Poetry that meet during our drop-in hours to provide our teens with an opportunity to share and learn life skills.
o An art room with projects and unstructured art time.
o Board games, video games, snacks, and a large space to play ping pong, bags, etc.
● STEM programs in our Alive Innovation Lab to get more kids interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) at a young age and to address the current STEM skills gap- such as Girls Who Code, Computer Science Club, Science Exploration Club, and Robotics.
● Life Skill Classes such as meditation, healthy cooking, mindful art, fitness, self-esteem workshops, career development, physical fitness and more.
● Leadership and innovation opportunities for old

In one year the Alive Center is currently doing:
- 3500+ kids reached a year
- 47 Teen-Led, Teen-Driven programs a year
- 10,000 Teen Visits
- 250+ Mentoring hours
- 275+ Tutoring sessions
- 20 STEM programs impacting over 1700 kids, 145 which were African American
- Increased Alive teen self-confidence by 69%
- Increased Alive teen sense of belonging by 82%

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,


Alive Center NFP

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Alive Center NFP

Board of directors
as of 2/1/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kandice Henning

Alive Center

Term: 2015 -

Dwight Yackley

BBM Corporation

Jim Hayes

Retired from Accenture

Kim Coyne

Winfield Trust

Paul Hinterlong

Naperville City Council

Anita Knotts

Lotus Institute

Paul Novak

T2 Asset Management

Chris Gandy

Midwest Legacy Group

Tina Hinch

Retired from Nokia

Ed Bugg

City of Aurora Alderman

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/01/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation