A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty


Celsy Young, Age 31

Director of Marketing and Communications, Center for Prevention of Abuse

Young is responsible for coordinating and implementing marketing strategies, working on the front lines, developing community awareness and managing all aspects of public relations, while discovering growth opportunities for CFPA.

“Celsy Young works around the clock. The Center for Prevention of Abuse is the only agency of its kind in the state of Illinois that has all the sanctioned services … under one roof. CFPA’s services, provided to more than 6,000 people a year, are essential, and they are 24/7,” said her nominator. “She is the primary coordinator for the agency’s signature fundraisers, including the Duck Race, now in its 35th year. Celsy is a highly valued, hands-on team player with a heart for doing good work, tackling challenges head on, caring for all people, while always looking for bigger and better ways to promote CFPA’s important work. She is invaluable.”

In addition to the Duck Race, which typically raises more than $200,000 annually, Young helped create the highly successful “I Run with Survivors” 5k run/walk during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  She helped coordinate a virtual global conference on human trafficking for CFPA in 2021 and is prepping to do the same regarding childhood trauma in 2024.

“Abuse can be a dark topic, but Celsy always manages to find the light and to let it in for all to benefit,” said her nominator.   

Outside of work, Young has served as a Big Sister to Rhaya through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She also has been a dedicated Rotary Reader through the Rotary Club of Peoria, volunteering at Peoria’s Trewyn School. Young also has been active with Build Peoria. She recently became a first-time mom to Franklin.

Young family


Childhood ambition: “I wanted to be a doctor with a country music singing career on the side.”

Advice to 20-year-old self: “Embrace the chaos of life. You can’t plan everything and some of the most incredible times come from the unanticipated chaos.”

Unknown to colleagues: “I’m a first-generation college graduate.”

Best advice: “What you put out in the world is what you get back.”

Motivating social issues: “Racism and inequality.”

Book recommendation:How to Human by Carlos Whittaker.”

Local inspiration: “Joyce DeRenzy, former chief operating officer at the Center for Prevention of Abuse. … She’s inspired me to ‘go for it’ when I’m doubting myself.”

Peoria needs: “A waterpark!”

‘She works around the clock … Celsy is a highly valued, hands-on team player with a heart for doing good work’
— Celsy Young nominator