This January, City staff hosted the first class of West Chicago's Local Government Academy (LGA). A total of nine participants attended the weekly classes held in the City Council Chambers. The participant pool ranged from students in the 6th grade to freshmen in college. For some, this was their first visit to City Hall, but all decided to participate in the program because they wanted learn about their community, City government, and how to get more involved.
Participants were honored for their efforts at the conclusion of the course by Mayor Pineda and the City Council at the April 1, 2019 City Council meeting.
The eight-week course introduced students to the history, origins and types of local government; the history of West Chicago; and the role of the City Manager/Administrator, the City Council, and the Administrative Services Department.
Students were quickly introduced to the challenges facing many local communities in Illinois due to the financial crisis at the State level. They participated in a budget activity to cut services or increase taxes/fees to fill a $100,000 revenue shortfall - scenario that has become all too familiar for government agencies, including West Chicago.
During the sessions, students were asked to reflect on questions such as:
- How do you define community?
- Is community important to you?
- What is the responsibility of an individual to community?
The overall theme of their responses was that people need to come together in order to improve the lives of others. This is such an inspiring message from our future leaders.
The purpose of the LGA and programs such as this one is to bring the community closer together - to learn about and from each other in order to create and build relationships so that when we face new challenges we will be ready to find common solutions together.
The LGA supports the vision of One West Chicago, which is to broaden participation, invest in long-term relationships, and form partnerships.
Our diversity is our strength.
For questions regarding the LGA, please be sure to contact Adrian Marquez at (630) 293-2200 ext. 123.