Showing posts from March, 2019

No Small Matter

No Small Matter is the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for good in America today: early childhood education. Through poignant stories and surprising humor, the film lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of the first five years, and reveals how our failure to act on that evidence has resulted in an everyday crisis for American families. No Small Matter will be debuting in Illinois this summer as part of larger campaign to raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities faced in early childhood.

A Statewide Legal Aid Hotline Established to Serve Illinois Veterans

In 2013, an amendment to the Access to Justice Act created the Illinois Access to Civil Justice Council, with the mandate to create a pilot statewide legal assistance hotline and coordinated network of legal support services for military personnel, veterans, and their families. This effort is funded by a $2 filing fee on all civil filings until 2020. The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) was charged with the implementation of this network now called the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN). Why is this important for the veteran community? Civil legal problems destabilize families and can be barriers to benefits, housing, and employment. The top civil legal needs fall into the broad categories of housing, family, and consumer law issues. In addition, veterans often need assistance with VA benefits and appeals and discharge upgrades. IL-AFLAN provides free legal aid services across Illinois utilizing a network of 10 legal aid organizations and law school clinic

Illinois General Assembly Debates #CivicsInTheMiddle Grades

Fresh off successful implementation of a high school civics course requirement , the Illinois General Assembly is considering driving high quality civic learning down to the middle grades. House Bill (HB) 2265 would require a semester of civics within grades 6, 7, or 8, including instruction on government institutions, discussion of current and societal issues, service learning, and simulations of democratic processes. The dilemma: Middle school students are ill-prepared for informed and effective civic engagement in our democracy. According to the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Civics , only 23% of 8th graders demonstrate proficiency in civic knowledge and skills, with a stark civic achievement gap along racial and ethnic lines. 44% of school districts have reduced time for social studies since the enactment of No Child Left Behind in 2001. The solution: High-quality civic learning opportunities in Illinois middle schools for ALL students can

Reclaiming Southwest Chicago

Guest Blog by Chris Brown, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) When 500 people gathered at St. Adrian Church in 2017 to announce the next phase of the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Campaign it was both the culmination of years of work and the declaration that there was so much more to do. In a community that had been devastated by the foreclosure crisis, people would have been forgiven if they thought the neighborhood was dead and moved on. Instead, most of them stayed and fought for a better place to live, work, and play. They came together that day in May to say they were there for the long-haul. This begs the question: Why? Mostly, it was because they had built a network of people in the community, people like themselves that shared a common interest in the schools and safety and immigration and employment options. They knew this because they had participated in a Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) community organizing campaign. They had met one to one with neighbors an

Golf for the Greater Good

In Wheaton, Cantigny celebrates 30 years of golf excellence and growing the game. To many, Cantigny Golf’s scenic and challenging 27 holes may appear to be well over three decades old. The layout has a mature look and feel, thanks to the stately oaks and hickories lining its lush fairways. Can it be only 30 years since Andy North struck the inaugural tee shot? It’s true. Cantigny Golf was dedicated on June 5, 1989. Amid many spectators, a 9-hole exhibition match was played that day by North, the two-time U.S. Open champion, and three top amateurs from Illinois. Two of the latter were reigning 1988 high school champions—an early sign that youth would be well served at Cantigny Golf. (This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the 9-hole Cantigny Youth Links.) In its January 1990 issue, Golf Digest named Cantigny Golf the “Best New Public Course in America.” The honor was a tribute to course architect Roger Packard and it put Cantigny on the map for golfers throughout the region.