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Our Mission

We positively influence, and instill hope in, the individuals, families and diverse communities we serve by providing the highest quality education, prevention, and counseling services focusing on substance use, child abuse and mental health.

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 It just makes sense…we’re better together!


Two pillars in the community are joining forces to enhance the services offered by each. Mutual Ground and Breaking Free have signed paperwork to combine their entities and are planning a full merger by July of 2020.

Both Mutual Ground and Breaking Free have served the community for more than 40 years. Mutual Ground, founded in 1975, provides education, awareness and life-changing services that empower individuals, families and communities to end the cycles of domestic and sexual violence. Breaking Free, founded in 1977, helps build strong family foundations and rebuild the lives of those impacted by substance use. Together they will be able to provide exceptional service to members of the community who are experiencing a wide range of issues that often overlap.

Research reveals complex intersections between substance use issues and domestic violence, sexual assault/abuse, historical trauma, structural violence, and other forms of interpersonal trauma. Mutual Ground and Breaking Free are uniting in an effort to develop coordinated, collaborative, or integrated treatments that are gender-inclusive, trauma informed, culturally attuned, and specifically designed to address the needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence, and those facing substance use issues.

According to Teddi Krochman, retiring Executive Director of Breaking Free, “We share a commitment to delivering services that build on each person’s strengths. Through counseling, education and ongoing supportive services, we strive to create a community in which individuals and families thrive and live to their full potential.”

Michelle Meyer, Executive Director of Mutual Ground, states “By joining forces with Breaking Free, Mutual Ground will be better able to meet the increasingly complex needs of individuals and families. Both agencies have a strong history of collaboration with schools, law enforcement agencies, local coalitions and other human service organizations, providing a vital service to the community and helping thousands of people annually. This merger strengthens our collective ability to help people heal when they are facing overwhelming challenges.”

Learn more about Mutual Ground.

From left, Mutual Ground Board President Andi Danis and Executive Director Michelle Meyer pose with retiring Breaking Free Executive Director Teddi Krochman and Board President Cindy Heibel on Friday after signing paperwork bringing the two longtime social service agencies together.

From left, Mutual Ground Board President Andi Danis and Executive Director Michelle Meyer pose with retiring Breaking Free Executive Director Teddi Krochman and Board President Cindy Heibel on Friday after signing paperwork bringing the two longtime social service agencies together.


Our Impact

Our compassionate staff uses nationally recognized prevention and educational programs to build the life skills people need to thrive and make positive decisions for themselves and their families.

- DREAM After-School Program in West Chicago had over 255 youth enrolled in the program
- Nurturing Parenting Curriculum was delivered to 751 adults and children
- Counseling Services helped 881 clients with substance abuse disorders and mental health concerns
- Community Comprehensive Prevention Programs impacted over 13,981 people



Years Serving our communities

Services are provided throughout Kane, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall and Will counties



Thousand individuals Impacted annually

We assist all persons in need regardless of their ability to pay


Our Programs

We provide the highest quality education, prevention and counseling services focused on substance use, child abuse, family relationships, mental health and wellness.


Substance Use Services

Counseling programs and services for adolescents and adults incorporate evidence-based programs and practices to treat drug and alcohol problems, mental illness and relational problems. Our services include: comprehensive assessments, individual and group counseling, outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs for adolescents and adults, gender-specific outpatient and intensive outpatient programs for women, specialized  treatment programs for adolescents and adults involved in the criminal justice system, specialized substance use treatment services at Hesed House in Aurora, drug and alcohol alternative to suspension programs and school-based counseling for adolescents, and Anger Management classes for adolescents and adults.

COMMUNITY Based Prevention Services

Prevention programs and services incorporate evidence-based programs that help children and adolescents make healthy choices and remain drug- and alcohol-free.  Services include: after-school programs, communication campaigns, youth advisory committees, classroom-based curriculums, training and technical assistance for parent groups, schools, and community coalitions, and community-wide public policy development.

Family Based Prevention Services

Family Based programs and services develop healthy nurturing parenting skills that prevent child abuse and neglect. Our Services include on-site and community-based parent education utilizing the Nurturing Parenting Program.


Recovery: a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.

SAMHSA , Recovery & Recovery Support


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