- Published: Thursday, April 16, 2015 09:57 AM
Many at-risk children never make it out of violent and impoverished neighborhoods. After school programs like Teen REACH were created to educate children and keep them out of trouble.
Unfortunately, Governor Bruce Rauner seems to believe Teen REACH is a non-essential program. He recently eliminated the funding for the rest of this state budget year. He then eliminates it altogether in the next state budget.
Both moves are mistakes.
Teen REACH serves 14,000 youth by providing a safe, fun and productive environment during after school hours. Through the program, youth can receive homework help, tutoring and mentoring and education on reducing risky behavior like substance abuse, criminal activities, violence and sexual activity. In addition to this, REACH organizes recreational activities, sports, cultural and art activities and service learning projects.
As a former law enforcement officer, I know and value the difference programs like Teen REACH make in the lives of at-risk children. We have opportunities to reach these kids now and steer them toward success. Every day that the governor suspends this program is a loss of opportunities and potentially lives.
I am willing to continue work with the governor moving forward, and hope that he realizes what Teen REACH means to our community and state.