Candor Health Education (formerly The Robert Crown Center for Health Education) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024: 50 years of educating and empowering fourth through eighth-grade students, helping them navigate changes associated with growing up.

Since the Robert Crown Center opened in January 1974, its mission has been to positively impact young people’s physical, social, and emotional health through innovative education programs in partnership with parents, schools, and communities.

Candor Health Education serves over 85,000 students annually in 650 schools, providing them with science-based, medically accurate information that normalizes taboo topics. Its programs are designed to plant seeds that will grow into informed decision-making as students mature.

Students learn about how their bodies will grow, the impact of substance use on a developing brain, and skills to build healthy relationships.

They fill a gap, serving many schools without dedicated health teachers or staff who feel comfortable delivering lessons on sensitive topics like puberty, human reproduction and embryology, and teen sexual health.

The Candor Health Education programs are a safe space for young people to learn and ask questions, especially when misinformation on these topics is so easily accessible. A former student said, “Supporting elementary and middle school health education is critical. The world is changing how we view sex and how we view gender. Kids need access to safe places to ask questions and learn information without being judged.”

Over half of Candor Health Education’s budget comes from school fees, and they receive some government funding for substance abuse prevention from the Illinois Department of Human Services and High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) office of Chicago.

However, Candor Health Education raises additional money from foundations, individuals, and local businesses to fund continued programming. Right now, they are looking for supporters to help raise $33,000 to give away 50 programs for free, impacting 1,250 students.

Candor Health Education continues to expand outside the Chicagoland area as well. Since the pandemic, the organization has been offering virtual program delivery, which allows Candor Health Education to extend its reach to a broader audience. They currently provide programs in central Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and New York.

For more information on its programs or how you can donate or get involved, visit ■