CROYA: The community beacon for student service

Jason Xing, Managing Editor of Global

On Friday, February 10th, LFA’s Varsity Swim Team volunteered at CROYA in preparation for the committee’s 2023 CROYA Bowl Fundraiser. 


CROYA stands for Committee Representing Our Young Adults. The organization represents local students in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood from 7th to 12th grade, providing social activities and retreats, community service projects, as well as leadership opportunities. 


As a local committee, CROYA connects high school students through Weekly Youth Meetings each Wednesday from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Youth meetings offer students opportunities for interaction alongside the organization of activities and service projects. 


On weekdays, CROYA’s Student Union is seldom empty of all things fun. Walking through the front entrance, the center offers food, a game room, ping pong, and pool tables, along with a music and dance studio for students to recharge and unwind after school. 


“The values that are most important to us are acceptance, respect, empathy, and accountability,” said Todd Nahigian, CROYA Manager. “People who come to CROYA will be treated with those values. Anyone who walks through the door is welcome here, and anyone who participates in any of the programs or the meetings is afforded the same respect and acceptance,” Nahigian stated. 


With the aforementioned values, CROYA instills an appreciation among students towards a sense of mutual positivity often taken for granted. Simultaneously, CROYA drives students to converse and cultivate positivity through discourse and initiative. 


Unlike most community centers with adult executive committees, CROYA runs on a Youth Executive Committee. The youth committee convenes on a monthly basis to organize community service initiatives, fundraisers, and social programs. Student members may propose special projects during weekly meetings and work collectively to undertake the initiative of interest under the guidance and outreach of CROYA staff. 


Under student leadership, CROYA successfully raised over 30,000 dollars with its February CROYA Bowl. Priding itself in community engagement and outreach, CROYA maintains robust partnerships with the Artisans Guild of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, House of Peace, as well as the Kiwanis Organization, the American Legion, the Rotary Club of Chicago, Feed my Starving Children, and North Chicago Community Partners. 


Aside from service and socialization, CROYA devotes significant efforts towards Peer Training and support. Aware of young adults developing greater reliance on their peers. CROYA prepares students with the ability to actively listen, problem-solve, and upraise their peers in any circumstance. 


“When a teenager has a problem, they’re more likely to go to their friends than to an adult […] because the whole goal of adolescence is to create your own identity and [be] separate from your family,” Nahigian explained. 


“Those characteristics [that CROYA seeks to instill] are empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard. Then, the people that need help from you or the people that you go to for help will be more able to help you in a positive way,” Nahigian said. 


Working with students from public and private boarding schools, CROYA prides itself upon empathy and its outreach- in opening existing social groups and fostering appreciative conscience and consensus beyond curricular settings. 


As individuals with vast ranges of identities and diasporas call Lake County home, CROYA remains steadfast in offering an olive branch for young adults to discern their worth and, above all, perpetuate the networks fostered amidst a world of prevailing differences.