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August 7, 2002

Futures For Kids Conference to Highlight After School Programs

CHICAGO -- The State of Illinois recognizes the importance of creating opportunities for youth to participate in structured activities when school is not in session. To this end, Teen REACH was created as a cornerstone of the Futures for Kids program. The successes of Illinois' efforts will be highlighted when First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan hosts the Futures for Kids conference: All Day - Every Day: The Promises of After-School Programming, August 7 - 9 in Chicago.

Futures for Kids is the statewide resource for programs and policies related to the health, safety and education of infants, children and teenagers. State services under the Futures for Kids umbrella include those directly serving infants, children and youth, as well as programs for parents, educators and others who interact with kids.

“The creation of research-based programs to effectively address the prevention of youth delinquent behaviors and increase school success has been a priority of this administration,” Mrs. Ryan said. “We are pleased to bring the state’s leaders and experts together to take a closer look at this important topic and help us continue to provide safe alternatives for out of school time.”

The conference, to be held at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 North Michigan Avenue, will feature exciting keynote speakers including A.C. Green, a former NBA star and founder of the A.C. Green Youth Foundation, LeAlan Jones, internationally acclaimed co-author of Our America: Life and Death on the Southside of Chicago, and the Honorable Thomas R. Fitzgerald, Supreme Court Justice, First District.

“Our objectives for this conference are to increase knowledge about the effectiveness of out-of-school programming and to strengthen community outreach efforts that promote healthy and safe choices young people can make regarding risk-taking behaviors during out-of-school time,” said DHS Secretary Linda Reneé Baker. “We also hope to combine out-of-school programs with the state’s other prevention activities to give us the best possible result.”

Those participating in the conference include Teen REACH providers, local health departments, Division of Community Health and Prevention providers, nurses, health educators, dieticians, licensed social workers, volunteers and youth.

The conference is sponsored by DHS in partnership with the Youth Network Council, the Chicago Area Project, the Illinois Abstinence Coalition, the Illinois Council of Area Projects, the Ounce of Prevention and Prevention First, Incorporated.


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