Bryan Stevenson Inspires Crowd at ETHS

bryan_stevensonThe Moran Center was honored to partner with Family Action Network to bring Bryan Stevenson to ETHS on March 23, 2015 and host two follow-up events to inform community members how to respond to Stevenson’s call to action. Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. In 2014, Stevenson published Just Mercy, a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice. Just Mercy has been named one of the best books of 2014 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe ,The Seattle Times and Kirkus Reviews. View Stevenson in this Ted Talk.

Kathy Lyons Participates in Panel Discussion after White Guy On The Bus

white-guy-on-the-bus-6892White Guy on the Bus is a provocative new play making its world premiere at Northlight Theatre, written by Bruce Graham and directed by Northlight Artistic Director BJ Jones:

A wealthy white businessman and a struggling black single mom ride the same bus week after week. As they get to know each other, their conversation reveals a complex web of moral ambiguity, revenge, and racial biases.

Thematically, this new play offers a candid and unexpected perspective on issues including:

  • Inequity of educational opportunities based on socio-economic status,
  • The pervasiveness of stereotyping across race, class and gender lines, and
  • Racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Executive Director Kathy Lyons participated in a post-show discussion with several other community leader panelists including Morris Brent of the Youth Job Center, Eileen Heineman of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, and Kevin Mott of Connections for the Homeless.

Race: Are We So Different Panel Discussion

James B. Moran Center for Youth AdvocacyThe Moran Center was proud to be a Community Programming Partner for an exciting exhibit: Race: Are We So Different. Co-presented by the YWCA Evanston/North Shore and the Illinois Holocaust Museum, this exhibit is the first national exhibition to tell the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view. Combining these perspectives offers an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States. On December 7, 2014 for “Race and the Law – Criminal Justice and Immigration” – Deputy Director Patrick Keenan-Devlin was a panelist addressing the timely subject of the intersection of race, racism and the American legal system.

Northwestern Donates Funds to Area Youth Groups


More than $229,000 for youth protection and service agencies in Evanston and Chicago

July 31, 2014 | by Storer H. Rowley

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern University will donate more than $229,000 to area agencies that provide services and protection to children.

For the second year in a row, Northwestern will donate funds that would have been Penn State University’s football bowl revenues from the past season but instead were relinquished to Big Ten Conference members. Each Big Ten school will distribute those funds to youth-focused organizations selected by the universities.

Northwestern will provide funding to seven youth protection and service agencies located in Evanston and Chicago. The organizations and Northwestern’s corresponding donation are:


  • Connections for the Homeless, which provides housing, employment and support services to individuals and families ($36,000).
  • The Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, which acts as an advocate for children in the courts and in the community ($36,000).
  • YWCA Evanston/North Shore, which provides a comprehensive domestic violence program that serves approximately 1,000 women and children annually ($36,000).
  • Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.), which offers after-school and summer enrichment programs for youth, counseling and crisis intervention programs ($36,000).


  • Metropolitan Family Services, which empowers families to heal through services that address family conflict, children’s mental health and the prevention of abuse and violence ($45,000).
  • The Night Ministry, which provides services to homeless youths, including a youth shelter program and street outreach efforts ($17,500).
  • Northwestern Settlement, which serves children and families in the West Town area of Chicago with preschool and after-school programs, summer camps and an award-winning children’s theater program ($25,000).

“All of these organizations help protect and assist children in our home communities,” President Morton Schapiro said. “Northwestern is pleased to be able to provide this financial support to help them carry out their important missions.”

Northwestern made similar donations in 2013 to six of the seven groups listed above. Connections for the Homeless was added to this year’s recipient list. The organization targets homeless families with children as a priority of its latest strategic plan. More than 400 Evanston children from school districts 65 and 200 are reported as homeless by their families.

Last year Northwestern provided funds to Metropolitan Family Services in the Evanston/Skokie area. However, this year’s funds will go to the organization’s main service area in Chicago.

– See more at:


Lucile Krasnow
Special Assistant for Community Relations
Northwestern University
555 Clark Street
Room 209

Evanston, IL 60208
phone-847-467-5762; fax-847-491-2376

Moran Center’s Access to Education Initiative Receives Funding from ECF

The Evanston Community Foundation awards $10,000 to educate early childhood professionals and families about special education rights and advocacy.

Evanston, IL. June 11, 2014 – At the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) Grant Awards and Celebration event on May 30, 2014, ECF awarded the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy $10,000 to launch the Access to Education Initiative.

The Access to Education Initiative will assist low-income Evanston families with young school-aged children in exercising their educational rights and receiving proper services. “We will partner with early education and childcare providers to help families access the supports and services guaranteed them by law. Often times a combination of a lack of awareness of their rights, cultural or social barriers raised by perceived stigma associated with special education, and language barriers can prevent a family from feeling equipped and empowered to advocate for their young child.” Kathy Lyons, Moran Center Executive Director, explained.

Warren W. Cherry Preschool is one of the early childhood education partners who will participate in the Access to Education. Rhonda Cohen, Child Development & Inclusion Director, says, “We are enthusiastic about the expansion of Moran Center services and are excited to partner with them to educate parents of young children in our community.”

A key component of the program will include support from a Moran Center psychologist who will be qualified to provide professional advice and psychological assessments.

Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Moran Center Deputy Director and Special Education Attorney, elaborates, “At the Moran Center, we see the devastating effects of teens engaging in self-destructive behaviors that often stem from years of academic failure and unresolved social-emotional challenges. It is well established that early intervention at the pre-school and elementary levels is the most effective and efficient way to prevent problems that lead to academic failure, truancy, and delinquency in later years.”

The Moran Center launched its Special Education Legal Advocacy (SELA) Project in 2010 and initially served children already represented by Moran Center attorneys in the juvenile justice system. However, as the SELA project has grown, the Moran Center has gained an increasing number of SELA clients who have never been involved in the juvenile justice system. Lyons explains, “Through the Access to Education Initiative, we hope to reduce the number of disconnected Evanston youth by increasing the number of children and families who the public education system equipped with the knowledge, training, and skills to successfully advocate for their children and ensure that their educational needs are met.”


The Woman’s Club of Evanston and the Moran Center GROOVE Together

The Lady Bunch show nets over $130,000 to support juvenile justice programs.

Evanston, IL. May 28, 2014 – At their annual Contributions to the Community Breakfast held today, The Woman’s Club of Evanston announced that its 63rd Annual Spring Benefit Show netted over $130,000. This year’s show beneficiary is the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that provides legal aid and social services to low-income Evanston youth.

For six nights in March, over one hundred volunteers from The Woman’s Club, along with the Moran Center staff, produced and performed The Lady Bunch, a 70s-themed song and dance variety show. Although this year marks the 63rd anniversary of the Benefit Show and the 125th anniversary of the Club’s founding, the partnership with the Moran Center was innovative and set unprecedented records.

“We were so honored to be selected as the show beneficiary,” said Kathy Lyons, Moran Center Executive Director. “The Woman’s Club generously opened their doors and their hearts to us and rallied behind our mission of supporting and advocating for struggling and disconnected Evanston youth. They hosted our Opening Night benefit and helped us keep expenses to a minimum. It was a truly collaborative effort that was rewarding on so many levels.”

“From their pledge to sell out our opening night performance, to their high visibility onstage, to their close coordination with our sponsorship team, the Moran Center team was truly committed to making the show a great success,” said Jessica Hornsten, Benefit Show Producer. “Our partnership serves as an example of what can be accomplished by devoted and dedicated community members.”

“We are thrilled to announce that net proceeds were over $130,000, far exceeding any anticipated grant amount,” said Kathy Rocklin, President of The Woman’s Club, “We were so inspired by the Moran Center’s dedication to their clients. Even during show rehearsals, they were fielding calls from clients and responding to kids in crises. It feels good to know that the show will support the critical services that the Moran Center provides.”

Proceeds of the show will be used to implement a new violence prevention program targeting Evanston middle school students. “Voices, Ideas & Perspectives” (VIP) is an innovative alternative-to-discipline program that teaches kids effective problem solving and conflict resolution skills while building self-esteem. Additionally, the show’s success will support increased demand for legal services and crisis counseling aimed at keeping kids in school and out of the criminal justice system.

Board Chair Honored with DePaul Pro Bono Award

Colby-and-Kathy-DePaul-Pro-Bonol-Award-858x1024The Moran Center’s Board Chair, Colby Kingsbury, was awarded DePaul College of Law’s 2013 Pro Bono Alumni Award on April 25, 2013. The award was presented at the College of Law’s annual Service Awards Reception for law students. Kingsbury was the keynote speaker and was joined at the event by Kathy Lyons, the Moran Center’s Executive Director. For more information about the event, please click here Way to go Colby!



Moran Center Stands Against Racism

stand against 2014The staff of the Moran Center joined the YWCA of Evanston on Friday, April 26, 2013 at their annual Stand Against Racism rally. The Moran Center was one of 45 organizations and more than 2,000 people to participate in this event. The staff lined up on Ridge Avenue in Evanston with Alderman Jane Grover.