For over a century and a quarter, Maryville Academy has served as a great source of guidance for children and families in Illinois. The academy addresses many critical issues in the community today through a range of programs, which touch the lives of more than 2,500 people every year.
Maryville Academy celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2008. Its rich history stems back to the late 1800s, when the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left many families homeless and children walking the streets to fend themselves. Taking notice of this situation, Patrick A. Feehan, then the new Archbishop of Chicago, set out to provide a safe and constructive environment for these children. Ultimately, by 1883, Bishop Feehan and his Board of Managers constructed and opened St. Mary’s Training School for Boys on an 880-acre working farm just outside of Des Plaines.
St. Mary’s weathered the many changes and events that would follow its establishment—world wars, depressions and an influx in the number of children who were wards of the state in need of care. Led by Rev. John P. Smyth, the staff adapted to the ever-changing world around it and remained steadfast to its mission of helping children, reinforcing the family dynamic and essentially building a better community for all.
From residential care, mental health and healthcare services to family support, education and youth development programs, Maryville Academy remains a staple in the lives of thousands of people in the Chicagoland area. The organization operates numerous facilities throughout northern Illinois and continues its presence in the Des Plaines community.
Maryville’s Des Plaines Campus is home to three different programs. The Jen School serves adolescent males aged 14-21 enduring emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities. The school provides an integrated therapeutic and educational program. Resident males, as well as members of the community, participate in the programs of the Jen School, which emphasize social and emotional growth.
Two additional residential programs are provided. The first of which is the MISA Program, which serves adolescent males aged 13-17 dually diagnosed with a mental illness and substance abuse. The second is the St. George Program, geared towards treating young men aged 13-20 dually diagnosed with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
Also in Des Plaines is the Scott Nolan Center, a psychiatric hospital for children, adolescents and young adults. Its Acute Unit is an inpatient psychiatric program for those aged 3-21 who are in immediate need of psychiatric aid and who exhibit behavior that may present harm to themselves or others. Severe mental health disorders are attended to at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and mental health counseling for residential children, their families and members of the surrounding community is available at the Child & Family Behavioral Health Center. A Partial Hospitalization Program is also offered at the Scott Nolan Center, as is a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Program.
This truly just scrapes the surface of the scope and depth of facilities, programs and services offered by Maryville. Outside the immediate Des Plaines community, Maryville Academy operates a number of other facilities, including the Eisenberg Campus for Young Women in Bartlett, Illinois, the Center for Children in Chicago, the Farm Campus for Young Women in Durand, Illinois and the John & Mary Madden Center in Chicago. Detailed information on these supplemental sites and their unique offerings is available on the organization’s website: www.maryvilleacademy.org.
Visitors are welcomed to Maryville Academy by a statue of a Guardian Angel. The statue has been a part of the Des Plaines campus that has greeted children and families for generations and stands today near the Administration Building as a reminder of Maryville’s mission of Rebuilding Lives… Rekindling Spirits…Renewing Hope.