Call to Action: Support for City Youth and Young Adult Programs

The City Manager's Office says the City needs to cut programs in order to reduce spending. A survey was created to collect input from residents on which programs to save and which to cut from among 46 programs. 

We believe the survey is ill conceived and deeply flawed. It lists life-saving programs alongside programs that have far less impact and thereby puts at risk the most vulnerable citizens in our community. 

Many Evanston residents have already completed the survey. We are very concerned about the impact of the survey process on the vital work done by the Youth and Young Adult Programs Division and other important City programs. Here is the City's explanation of the survey process


(1) Complete the survey no later than Wednesday June 6th. Online you'll find it here. (See "Completing the Survey" below.) If you prefer to complete a paper survey, pick up a copy at the Evanston Public Library or any Evanston community center, and deliver the completed survey there as well. The City's survey deadline is Thursday June 7th, and in the past we have seen the City's website crash during unusual demand, so we urge you to be proactive and complete the survey prior to the deadline.

(2) Sign the petition in support of the Youth and Young Adults Programs Division - find the petition here.

(3) Speak to City Council about the importance of the Youth Division and what you think of the survey process. City Council is scheduled to meet on these dates prior to the final budget vote: June 11, 18, 25, July 9, 16, 23, August 13, September 10, 17, 24, October 8, 15, 22. Arrive at Council Chambers (2nd floor, Civic Center) before the meeting begins, and sign up to speak. The amount of time you'll have depends on how many others are speaking, generally from 1 to 3 minutes. (See "Talking Points" below.)

(4) Tell your alderperson how important the Youth and Young Adult Programs Division is to Evanston.

1st Ward - Judy Fiske - email her 
2nd Ward - Peter Braithwaite - email him  
3rd Ward - Melissa Wynne - email her  
4th Ward - Don Wilson - email him  
5th Ward - Robin Rue Simmons - email her 
6th Ward - Tom Suffredin - email him  
7th Ward - Eleanor Revelle - email her  
8th Ward - Ann Rainey - email her  
9th Ward - Cicely Fleming - email her  

What ward am I in? 

Completing the Survey

A. The first part of the survey lists 46 programs/services and asks you to select the 10 you believe to be most important. The following are programs/services related to youth and young adults:

  • Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program (24th on list)
  • Summer Food Program/Child Nutrition Program/Congregate Meal Program (25th on list)
  • Youth and Young Adult services (26th on list)
  • Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center (27th on list)
  • Certificate of Rehabilitation Programs (31st on list)

B. Next the survey lists the same 46 programs and asks you to select the 10 you think the City should consider for reduction/elimination. 

C. Then the survey asks for your top 3 priorities. Some ways you might wish to answer:

  1. Youth and Young Adult Division programs
  2. Providing jobs, food, and mentoring to young people
  3. Recreation programs for young people in marginalized communities

D. The survey also asks for 3 areas where you recommend the City to look to find savings, and 

E. for any additional ideas you have for the 2019 budget. 

F. Finally, the survey asks for your ward, your gender, your age, and your "ethnicity." It doesn't ask for your name or address.

Talking Points

The City of Evanston's Youth and Young Adult Programs Division:

  • is well known to be a success
  • has served more than 6,500 at-risk youth and young adults and their families in Evanston since 2012
  • has helped young Evanston residents find jobs, training, and educational opportunities
  • has helped remove legal obstacles to employment and housing for young Evanston residents
  • has placed young Evanston residents in 2900+ summer and year-round jobs
  • has placed 500+ high-risk Evanston adults in seasonal, full-time and part-time jobs
  • has partnered with every community-based organization serving Evanston youth
  • has an Outreach Team that strengthens Evanston's social safety net and case-manages high-risk clients with activities including violence interruption and alternate dispute resolution and mediation
  • in the words of Police Chief Richard Eddington, has "created a productive workforce for Evanston ... contributed greatly to public safety ... defused many potentially violent situations over the course of the past two summers ... contributed substantially to the reduction of retaliatory shootings during summer 2015"
  • Won first place among medium-sized cities in the National Summer Youth Jobs Challenge by the U.S. Conference of Mayors
  • Has on staff Certified Level 1 Kingian Nonviolence Trainers
  • Has received extensive employment-related training from the Chicago Jobs Council
  • Has received Violence Interrupter Training from Cure Violence (formerly known as Cease Fire Chicago)
  • Has been trained in Delivery Trauma Informed Care by the Industrial Council of Near West Chicago
  • Has been trained in Mental Health First Aid by the National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Has CPR/AED certification from the American Red Cross
  • Has created and facilitated 6 new workforce development programs
  • Has established youth mentoring programs for young people with behavioral challenges in District 65 Schools
  • Has received more than $1.5 million in federal, State, County and private grants since 2012
  • Has increased mental health awareness and access to mental health for young people by partnering with NU's Family Institute, ETHS, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Has received awards from numerous organizations including the US Conference of Mayors, UIC Jane Adams College of Social Work, McGaw YMCA, the James B. Moran Center, the First Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Chicago Scholars 35 Under 35 Young Leaders, and the Weissbourd-Holmes Family Focus Center, among others
  • has had a positive impact on thousands of valuable lives here in Evanston.

Become an OPAL Member

OPAL engages and equips Evanston residents to actively participate in the decisions that affect their lives. By educating and mobilizing voters - and supporting qualified community leaders - OPAL works tirelessly to ensure that local leadership reflects the diversity and priorities of all residents throughout Evanston's nine wards. OPAL's comprehensive programs work to increase accountability and activate Evanston residents who have been underrepresented.

We are a grassroots movement of Evanston residents inspired to action in an effort to organize the community to work collectively toward the goal: a city where each child, resident, and neighborhood is equally valued. Let's work together to make Evanston a more equitable community.

Most OPAL activities are powered by volunteerism, but there are financial costs, including data display boards, Constant Contact, event rentals, handouts and supplies. Please become a member with a one-time donation of $25 to support our work! Youth membership (age < 18) is $10.

Join online at the OPAL website

Print a membership form you can mail