September 29, 2020

Uplifting Illinois youth through afterschool programs

A guest blog post from Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross

As Winnebago County’s State’s Attorney, one of my most rewarding experiences has been to meet with and uplift young people. Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it was my honor to visit several Rockford-area afterschool programs. There, I both listened to students, and shared the principles of respect and self-respect that are the bedrock of a peaceful community.

Even in non-pandemic times, out-of-school-time programs increase safety in our county.

Marilyn Hite Ross, Winnebago County State’s Attorney

Since then, I have been gratified to see how afterschool providers found innovative ways to continue to reach kids: through distance-learning opportunities, distribution of meals and supplies, and summertime educational and recreational opportunities. Now, with COVID cases forcing Winnebago County schools to alternate between in-person and remote learning, YMCAs, YWCAs, and community organizations have stepped in to provide safe spaces for the children of working parents.

Even in non-pandemic times, out-of-school-time programs increase safety in our county. As a recent report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids states, quality programs like these can help reduce crime, boost academics, and increase graduation rates. That is something we can applaud at the start of this school year, and always.

Honorable Marilyn Hite Ross
Winnebago County State’s Attorney

Caption: At top, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross pictured (front row, 5th from left) with afterschool program participants at RESA Middle School in Rockford, Illinois.

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  1. Afterschool Programs

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  1. Illinois