Rockford community members, including state Sen. Steve Stadelman (D), Rep. Litesa Wallace (D), Police Chief Daniel O’Shea, and Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana, held a press conference at the YMCA of the Rock River Valley on Thursday to support a program that may have new life and help fight increasing crime.
During the state of Illinois’ budget impasse earlier this year, funding for the Teen Reach program was cut. The program is designed to target at-risk young people who struggle with poverty and a lack positive role models.
With the stop-gap budget, funding for the program has been secured.
“Without meaningful mentoring and without meaningful opportunities for them, not only in education, but after school and otherwise, they look for attention in other areas, and that often that finds them in the criminal justice system,” Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato.
The program has served about 50 young adults in the past.