JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow is partnering with the Collins Street Neighborhood Council/Unity Community Development Corporation and the Spanish Community Center to establish an after-school program to provide children a safe haven from street gangs and drug dealers.
The Collins Street Neighborhood Council is currently accepting registrations for the after-school program. For information or to register, please call Collins Street Neighborhood Council President Amy Sanchez at (815) 483-4958 or visit online at www.unitycdc.org.
State’s Attorney Glasgow recently presented CSNC President Sanchez with a check for $2,400 to fund the first four months of the pilot program, which will be hosted by the Spanish Community Center on Joliet’s East Side. The State’s Attorney used money forfeited to the state by convicted criminals who were engaged in drug dealing to fund this pilot program. The program is not funded by taxpayers.
Glasgow met personally with Sanchez and other CSNC board members earlier this spring to discuss an after-school program to serve youths who are at risk of becoming involved in street gangs and drug dealing. The State’s Attorney was particularly concerned by Sanchez’s description of one at-risk youth who is being raised by his grandmother. This young man is resisting harassment and recruitment efforts by local street gangs during unsupervised free time after school while his grandmother is working.
“We know firsthand because of the work we perform in cooperation with our local police that many youths experience these kinds of pressures along the Collins Street corridor and in many other neighborhoods,” Glasgow said. “It is critical that we work together with grassroots organizations like the Collins Street Neighborhood Council and the Spanish Community Center to protect the children in our neighborhoods and provide them with positive recreational and educational alternatives.”
The after-school pilot program will give young people living along the Collins Street corridor a chance to engage in sports, sound art technology, drama and dance under the supervision of caring adults. One of the innovative activities will allow students to record songs or poems with professional recording equipment. Glasgow and Sanchez both believe these activities will
help participants develop self-esteem, resolve conflicts and establish important life goals.
The program will be offered to up to 45 youths. The Spanish Community Center, located at 309 N. Eastern Ave., will develop programming under the direction of CSNC and will provide classrooms and recreational space.
The Collins Street Neighborhood Council was established in 2009. The organization places strong emphasis on preserving family values and developing a cooperative spirit between public and private sectors. One of the aims of the council is to develop positive recreational activities in the neighborhood and improve the delivery of existing services to under-served populations.The Spanish Community Center was founded in 1967 with a mission to provide social services to the city’s growing population of Spanish-speaking citizens. The center has a proven track record over the past four decades of providing diverse services and welcomes all community members regardless of race or ethnic origin.