ST. CHARLES – Parents sometimes are blindsided by the fact their children are involved with drugs and/or alcohol.
To help educate them on the warning signs, the Kane County Juvenile Justice Council is co-sponsoring a presentation called "Wake Up Call" at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Geneva High School auditorium and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Central High School auditorium.
The presentation will include a life-size exhibit of a teen's bedroom highlighting warning signs that can indicate drug and/or alcohol use.
"It includes dozens of examples of where a teenager might store or hide alcohol or other illegal substances," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said during his monthly media briefing on Dec. 4.
McMahon is chairman of the council's board of directors. Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Seberger, a representative on the board of directors, attended a presentation of "Wake Up Call" in Indiana.
"This particular presentation teaches parents about different substances and then walks them through this bedroom," Seberger said. "I saw parents audibly gasp. It's things they never knew was happening. It's things they never knew to look for and it's really eye-opening."
In conjunction with both events, there will be a resource fair for parents and community members. Those interested in attending will be able to register for the events later this month or in early January, Seberger said.
McMahon said the council's major goal is to "identify kids who are at-risk and try to keep them out of the system and get them on the right path."
"The goal of this council is to be more proactive, to address issues before somebody comes into the juvenile justice system," he said. "That's the successful outcome, someone who never comes into the system in the first place."
Maurice Martin, a junior at the Dream Academy in Elgin, and his mother Sherry Green, also were in attendance at the monthly media briefing. Maurice designed the new logo for the Kane County Juvenile Justice Council.
"This logo is showing unity and togetherness," he said, in talking about the new logo. "The rings are what the community is putting in together. What everybody puts in matters to the whole community."
He worked on the new logo for two months. Martin had also developed the logo for a local nonprofit organization, Building Families Together.
Seberger said the council is pleased with the new logo.
"I think it much better captures the council's purpose and the collaborative nature of what we're trying to do," she said.
McMahon noted there has been an increase in juvenile crime.
"We're seeing a significant increase in crimes committed by juveniles involving vehicles, whether it's a car burglary, whether it's a vehicular hijacking or whether it's a theft of a motor vehicle. Both the city of Aurora and the city of Elgin, I believe, have seen an increase in those types of crimes committed by juveniles over the last 12 months."
He doesn't know the reason for the increase.
"Those types of crimes tend to be crimes of opportunity," McMahon said. "It's an opportunity both of kind of idle time but then also an opportunity because people leave their keys in the car or warm up the car up before they're running errands or leave valuables on the front seat that are in plain view. It's very easy to smash that window and grab that laptop, cellphone or wireless headphones."
More information about the Kane County Juvenile Justice Council is at its web page at jjcouncil.countyofkane.org.