August 08, 2017
The South Side YMCA hosted U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on August 7, 2017. Led by the South Side Y’s Executive Director, Cherese Ledet, Senator Durbin visited Early Education & Care and Day Camp programs, which are funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Bobbie Dickens, Child Care Site Director, and Stacy Peterson, Early Childhood Education Operations Director, told the Senator about their program. Senator Durbin read from the book “Fix it!” by Head Start student Dikota Powell, age 5.
Powell wrote her book as part of the continuous quality improvement project made possible by a $1.4 million grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The initiative expands the work of the “Y Essentials Quality Initiative” to drive quality improvement in critical early learning education programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
The South Side Y’s Early Education & Care program is funded primarily through Head Start, a federally-funded program that promotes the school readiness of children ages 0-5 from low-income families by supporting their development in a comprehensive way.
Senator Durbin met with Y summer day campers who were practicing their basketball skills in the gymnasium. Y summer day camp enables children and youth to take part in unique experiences and adventures, while also building self-esteem, developing interpersonal skills and making lasting friendships and memories.
The YMCA works with each family to ensure they are able to afford day camp services. Fifty-five percent of day camp children enrolled at the South Side YMCA benefit from the Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). CCAP is funded, in part, by Child Care and Development Block Grants at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Y also provides financial assistance for memberships and programs to families in need. These dollars are provided through the generosity of the Y’s donors.
Senator Durbin has represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate since 1996. He currently serves as Assistant Democratic Leader/Minority Whip of the U.S. Senate, the second-highest ranking position among Senate Democrats. He serves on the Appropriations, Judiciary, and Rules & Administration Committees.