Daily Point of Light # 2680 May 13, 2004

Dr. Michael Litow has been helping save young lives for more than 30 years. He has helped children and teens that are disconnected from the larger community face their challenges head on and find solutions and success that will make them productive. His work leads to a positive long-term solution for each of the youth and parents as well. The children he serves acknowledge Dr. Litow as being the one person that took the time and interest to make their situation matter.

As a child, Dr. Litow had a learning disability. His difficulty in processing information made him frustrated and more than a handful in school. However, the adults in his life stuck by him and encouraged him. With the help of his parents and teachers, Dr. Litow, was able to overcome his disability and as an adult, has been nominated for the Walt Disney American Teacher Award, which honors creativity in teaching. Dr. Litow has been a leader of the cooperative inclusion program between Sullivan and Buckingham Special Education Center, a school for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Buckingham students who improve significantly can be transferred to mainstream classes at Sullivan. Though he is part of Buckingham’s staff, he works closely with the students and Sullivan’s teachers to help the transitioning special education students into a mainstream school.

Dr. Litow teaches and counsels special education students at Sullivan Elementary on Chicago’s southeast side. He is also the founder of a 20-year old nonprofit counseling center, The Education Center, for children and young adults. What he endured as a child drives what he does now. He realizes all children can learn, but they all learn in different ways. He also advises before you can teach a child, you must reach that child. He states you should be accessible and spend time with the youth; listen to them, and do not be so easy to judge or condemn them.

The Education Center is an organization that has helped turn thousands of children’s lives around since its inception more than two decades ago. Established out of a profound sense that all children have the ability to succeed, Dr. Litow has created a unique life-coaching program at the Center. It includes tutoring, mentoring and vocational training. The vision of the Center is to help children discover their dreams and pursue them against all odds. Dr. Litow has received recognition for his lifelong work of advocacy on behalf of children that include honors from the Illinois House of Representatives, the United States Department of Justice, Phi Delta Kappa, the Chicago Jaycees, the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association and the National Junior Women’s League.

Dr. Litow has affected young people from all walks of life. He has been a mentor and a coach that helped give youth a second change in school and in life.