CICERO – Students from Cicero’s Corazon Community Services organization visited Springfield on April 2 to have a chat with local legislators about just how important it is to keep after school programs.
The students are participants in Corazon’s Teen REACH Program, Fuerza Program and the Stay in School Initiative.
Esperanza Salgado, director of Education and Leadership Programming for Corazon, said the students’ visited the State Capitol jointly with the Act Now advocacy to impress upon state leaders the importance of funding for after-school programs. But first, they were given a lesson on how to talk the talk in Springfield.
“We did a quick training session with Act Now about how to talk to the representatives and senators before we stopped at their offices,” Salgado said.
Among those to hear from kids were state Sen. Steven Landek, D-Bridgeview.
To press the point, the students, ages 13 to 17, offered personal examples of how after-school programming was important to them.
“They just wanted to tell them about themselves and the Teen Reach after school program at Unity Middle School,” Salgado said.
The day-long visit included a walk through the state Capitol and a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
“The kids were very impressed, and for many of them, it was the first time they had ever been to Springfield,” Salgado said. “We were very excited for them.”
Landek said in a statement he believed investing in youth is important to the area’s future.
“Corazon is a valuable organization in Cicero doing some great work. I was honored to have the opportunity to meet some of the youth they reach,” he added.
More information on Corazon Community Services, at 5116 W. 14th St., Cicero, can be found at corazoncs.org.