PRCC Staff Participates in Press Conference About Youth Programming Closings

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By Jorge Cestou

On January 1st, 2015, over 30 agencies throughout the state of Illinois began the new calendar year for their youth programming. These programs provide services to thousands of young individuals through their afterschool tutoring, mentoring, drop-in center services to youth experiencing homelessness, and jobs for youth.

The Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) was one of those excited agencies to start the year with their excellent programming.

The joy for many of these youth ended last week on January 29th, 2015, at 3:47 P.M., with a letter from Governor Bruce Rauner’s advising the agencies to cease any and all operations for these programs.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015, PRCC staff participated in a press conference at the Thompson Center to demand of Governor Rauner to restore all of our programs so our youth can receive these services that help them with getting good grades in school and away from possible trouble. Our programs aid in violence prevention efforts by helping young individuals stay focused on finishing up their homework and receiving mentoring to become productive adults.

“Governor Rauner promised us to support the underserved communities and by closing our programs he is assuring us that his campaign commitment was a lie.” `said Fr. Pflegger of Saint Sabina Church.

The participants of this press conference echoed the request to the Governor to restore our programs.   “Restore the contracts. Help our Youth.” chanted all press conference and rally participants

Juan Calderon spearheaded the PRCC contingent to this press conference and rally.

Jorge Cestou of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center was interviewed by Univision. He expressed his concern for the wrong action from Governor Rauner and to retract contract commitments. Also, he explained how not having these programs will affect underserved communities like Humboldt Park, and other Latino communities the PRCC serves.

View video (Spanish).