Young Lions Roar helps Rock Island kids with mental health

The Young Lions Roar program is the first of its kind in Rock Island, helping kids with their mental health through poetry, rap and other music.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — A new afterschool program in Rock Island is helping kids put their energy, thoughts and feelings into art.

Young Lions Roar Director Aubrey Barnes said the purpose of the program is to help children’s mental health through art. 

“I taught and I worked in behavior schools for about seven years,” Barnes said. “And while I was working in behavior schools and kind of like growing as an artist, I kind of combined those two worlds worlds kind of inadvertently and start teaching like workshops at different schools.”

He said he used his own experience to create the Young Lions Roar program.

“At the end of the day, whether you do poetry, and end up doing it as a career, or

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Kids’ mental health care leaves parents in debt and in the shadows

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Rachel and her husband adopted Marcus out of Guatemalan foster care as a 7-month-old infant and brought him home to Lansing, Michigan. With a round face framed by a full head of dark hair, Marcus was giggly and verbal—learning names of sea animals off flashcards, impressing other adults.

But in preschool, Marcus began resisting school, throwing himself on the ground, or pretending to be sick—refusals that got more intense and difficult to deal with. His parents sought therapy for him. Rachel and her husband had some savings for retirement, college, and emergencies; at first, the cost of Marcus’ therapy was not an issue. “We didn’t realize where it was going,” Rachel said.

Today, Marcus is 15 and has a younger sibling. His parents have depleted their savings and gone into debt to pay for treatments for his severe depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Frequently agitated and

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