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To empower the young adult and the family to overcome mental and behavioral health challenges through an integrated therapeutic model that supports the clinical, emotional, educational and spiritual journey into life-long recovery and independent living.

You are not a client
you are Family.

Successfully Graduating empowerU and moving forward with your life is our goal for your young person and your family. But we remain available should you need us once you complete the program.

Treatment Services

  • Guided Core Curriculum For Young Adults & Families
  • Individual Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Support
  • Life Skills Coaching
  • empowerU Family
    "My husband and I have been struggling with our youngest son for quite a few years.  His attitudes, demeanor and behaviors frustrated and bewildered us.  Our relationship as husband and wife was definitely being negatively affected because of the constant upheaval our son was creating in the house.  Failing to finish college or successfully hold on to a job, he returned home for the second time - and at this point, there seemed to be no desire on his part to get his life together.  A recommendation from a dear family friend led us to the door of the Karla Smith Foundation and the empowerU program.  Meeting with the staff and involving ourselves with the bi-monthly support group and activities has given us hope.  Sharing and listening to other group members who are struggling with similar circumstances is very comforting and let's us know we are not alone.  Learning about the mistakes and successes of other families helps guide us in our personal walk with our son.  We definitely learn from each other - what works and what doesn't, the up and downside of medication and how to maneuver through the maze of available programs and services being offered in our area.  We have a long way to go, the atmosphere and tension in our house is far from gone and our son remains in somewhat of a holding pattern, but at least now, we feel like we are a part of an organization that genuinely cares about us and our son and is doing everything it can to support and guide us into a healthy outcome for all of us.  If it weren't for the Karla Smith Foundation and the empowerU program, I honestly don't know where we would be as a married couple or where our son would be - his behavior and our indecision as to what to do about him was tearing us apart.  I am so thankful and grateful for the patience and attention of the KSF staff and all other empowerU families whom we have met, laughed and cried with over these several months."
    empowerU Family
  • empowerU Family
    “…I am not sure when the empowerU program began, but if only I had known about it in 2009, it would have eased some of the confusion I felt in trying to find doctors and counselors when we moved to Illinois.   And the education and support is very beneficial.  Over the past years, I have sought counseling for myself just trying to figure out how to help our daughter with her drinking problem.  I realize now how much HOPE I have knowing that KSF is there to help and support us."
    empowerU Family
  • empowerU Family
    "In the last several months working with empowerU has first and foremost made my son realize that he does indeed to get help to function in life. He finally realized (I believe) that this is a priority for him. The empowerU staff have helped us realize that our roles as parents are changing with our son and we are working towards being support instead of enablers. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have appreciated and felt finally supported by the staff. I no longer agonize over decisions about my son but feel comfortable calling the empowerU staff for help. We have a long way to go on this road but feel that finally we are going forward instead of sinking in quick sand. I continue to try to figure out how to pay them back for what they have given us…unending help, love, resources, and can only say that I will pass their name on whenever I meet someone who was in crisis like we were. Thank You."
    empowerU Family
  • empowerU Family
    "Last September my son had been fired from a job that he loved and had been at for nearly a year. He was fired for inappropriate behavior. This was the 16th job he had been fired from in about 11 years for the same reasons.   In addition he was having much difficulty in managing his everyday life, i.e. hygiene, anger.  My husband was furious and unable to figure out what to do. I was becoming aware of my son’s prevalent symptoms of Mental Illness and decided that we as a family could not manage him anymore… [My husband and I] met with KSF staff to discuss what the empowerU Program could provide. It was exactly what we needed at the time since we felt we had run out of options. Within weeks they were steering my son towards options for getting help with nearly all aspects of his life, from budgeting his money to helping manage his anger. In addition they helped get him in to see a psychiatrist that would finally be able to help actually diagnosis his condition and help with a plan of care. They also invited us to join the family group of the empowerU System. We were able to meet some other parents, some of whom were wading their way through seemingly horrible situations and others who were just like us. We immediately felt a sense of relief that we did not have to go through this by ourselves. The empowerU staff made themselves available to us 24-7, which was a relief because things continued to get worse with our son. For the first time my husband cried from years of not the frustration of not knowing what to do. This was sad but a big step for him."
    empowerU Family
  • empowerU Family
    "We wanted to let you know how helpful your Foundation and the empowerU Program has been to us. Our lives were changed forever when our now 21 year old son began a total mental breakdown in August of 2013. Even though he was diagnosed at the age of 8 with Bipolar Type 1, we and he had been able to handle things with the help of a wonderful doctor and many others. As you know, from August to November he was hospitalized four times and spent a short time in a crisis unit in Granite City.  So many things have happened that were setbacks for us getting him help and you all have always been there either in person or by phone at all hours of the day and night. There were times when we just no longer had the strength to fight another battle so you did it for us.  Thanks for all the calls you made to help us find a temporary residential placement for him. Your calls to "check up" on us and the group meetings with other parents have taken away that "alone" feeling you have when others don't understand your life decisions when someone you love has a mental illness. Again thanks for your continued knowledge and support. You make our lives livable!"
    empowerU Family

Why empowerU?

Because 21 days is never enough. Most individuals fail treatment an average of 7 times before they enter recovery. EmpowerU changes this statistic. We understand that recovery from substance use disorders, depression, anxiety and more, requires more than 21 days. And we understand that it requires more than the traditional outpatient group therapy model. It requires continuing care in a structured environment that fosters self-awareness, coping skills, and personal actualization. It requires a commitment to understanding the disease, the opportunity to learn how to recognize our triggers and the encouragement to identify ourselves as “worth living.” EmpowerU clients graduate our program having discovered a life worth living, and they leave us in active and successful pursuit of continuing independence.

About empowerU

EmpowerU is a private Outpatient Treatment Program. The family centered program serves young adults and their support network through a comprehensive therapeutic model that includes education, individualized therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and life skills coaching. Each client and their family receives an individualized treatment plan based on clinical and personal life goals. It’s our job to help you actualize the goals.

What makes us different?

EmpowerU doesn’t stop with therapy or education. That’s just the beginning. EmpowerU promotes a lifestyle change. Located within a small, safe downtown community, our clients are required to volunteer, to explore and to engage with local businesses and individuals. They are encouraged to take action to better their physical health by utilizing local yoga and fitness facilities within short walking distance of our center. They are encouraged to participate in group activities, field trips and social events with others in recovery and everyday members of the community. Clients are held accountable through state-of-the art technologies proven to aid in recovery, and they are mentored and supported by a team of caring and highly qualified staff and volunteers who understand and support their recovery. Our clients leave healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally. They leave with a network of support. And as we consider your young adult and your family to be our most important asset, that support remains available to you indefinitely.

Interested in empowerU?

Let us know.