A Letter to the Editor: Zion Township’s Summer Program Celebration

A letter to the editor by State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor)

I had the delightful pleasure of spending an evening at the Zion Township’s Summer Program Celebration last week. If you don’t know anything about what is happening with this group of student workers and their leader/mentors, you should.

This dinner and program was the culmination of a summer of work and mentoring of 34 students who were selected and placed by the Lake County Jobs Center. Some students were assigned to outdoor work projects that assisted the community with clean-up and repair; others were assigned to work with local partners which included the Zion-Benton Library and Northpointe Resources.

This was not just a work program, but mentoring as well, incorporating the 6 words that our community has been promoting over the last year, as well as advice on saving money, importance of education and college, and the life lessons gained by pushing through challenging situations (including all the heat and humidity this summer!).

I am so proud of the students who finished the program, parents who encouraged, mentors who challenged, cared and taught life lessons, and the staff of Zion Township, led by Cheri Neal who, with severe budget cuts, found creative ways to continue the program through community partnerships. It is a wonderful example of how much a community can accomplish through resourcefulness, perseverance, and dedication, ultimately investing in a brighter future for these young people.

Well done!