Boys & Girls Club
Senior Resource Day
With it’s commitment to the well being of the senior population in Zion Township, a senior Resource Day was established like no other. Zion Township recognized that seniors had no way of knowing what resources were available to them and that when they did attend resource fair events, they would breeze through them scouring for free stuff but never really connecting with the agencies. In response, Zion Township created an educational event for seniors to help them year round. We formed partnerships with the Zion Park District who provides the space for the event and transportation to the event, a local nursing home who provides the food for breakfast and lunch, and in an effort to increase our collaboration, we invited our neighbor, Benton Township, to also be a part of the event. The seniors check in and receive a bag, a program and pen. While enjoying breakfast, vendors line up to give a 1-2 minute presentation on available services. Seniors follow along in their program and check off the booths they want to make sure they get to. The program lists each vendor with a brief description of services and contact information. Seniors then visit engaging booths followed by lunch, served by Zion elementary school district students. Each vendor donates a prize, which is raffled off towards the end of lunch to conclude the program. Approximately 200 seniors and 40 vendors attend each year.
Summer Work Program
Zion Township’s Summer Work Program is a perfect example of collaboration across every sector of our community. Zion Township partners with the Lake County Job Center to advertise jobs for 14 and 15-year olds via the local schools, library, newspaper, our website and Facebook page. We partner with agencies to place youth. Senior homeowners are solicited for projects that do not require power equipment to complete. Working on crews, youth help out at the local Farmer’s Market, Adopt-A-Highway trash pick up, clean out lockers at the schools, and clean up Zion parks, trails, and ponds
One of the goals of the Summer Work Program is to teach youth from underprivileged families the foundation of a work ethic and prepare them to enter the workforce with the basic skills needed to achieve self-sufficiency and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. In the past 14 years, over 1,000 youth have participated in the program and have learned the application and interview process, earned a few paychecks, received money management skills, and completed work projects that enhance the community. This year, special attention was given to hiring mentors instead of supervisor and working strategically to infuse key character traits into the youth, including respect, responsibility, safety, kindness, perseverance and integrity, which are the traits the entire community has adopted. Each youth is also drug tested and given the opportunity to participate in a drug treatment program as appropriate to address this potential barrier to success. Many of our youth even gain part time employment at the agencies they are placed at after the Summer Work Program session was completed.
Zion-Benton Leadership Academy