We are always proud to open the doors of our runaway youth hotline to the general public to visit. On occasion, we are especially honored to have community leaders tour our facilities. Ann M. Williams, Illinois Representative (D) for the 11th District in Chicago, recently visited and pledged her support to NRS and youth in crisis.
Rep. Williams is a supporter of human services programs like ours, voting along with her colleagues to maintain the funding of critical services in Illinois.
“We need to redouble our efforts on getting the full funding for these organizations because every day that goes by that there’s not full funding, is risking the health of the organizations, jeopardizing the infrastructure that exists.” – Rep. Ann Williams.
She has also worked hard for youth-related issues like education and continues to push for strong schools in her district. She is also working with her colleagues to create a balanced budget for Chicago Public Schools. “Strong schools lead to strong communities, and vice versa,” Williams said. “We need to provide adequate funding for our schools and move away from the crisis-driven budgeting that has become the norm.”
She is also a proponent of equal rights for all, giving her support to LGBTQ organizations like Equality Illinois.
Her work in government has been in support of youth and their needs. We are ecstatic that Rep. Williams is now more familiar with our work and our facility.
Led by our Crisis Services Supervisor Amelia Garcia, Rep. Williams, and her Chief of Staff Carter Harms, learned about the types of hotline and online (email, chat, forum) crisis connections we make. Amelia also explained how we connect youth to resources in our database of nearly 7,000 resources.
Our guests were able to observe our crisis service center operations as our staff and volunteers were supporting youth through hotline and online services. They learned about how we depend on about 120 trained volunteers for 24/7/365 coverage. They also were introduced to our crisis intervention training.
Afterward, Rep. Williams met with Executive Director Maureen Blaha, Director of Programs Gordon Vance, our Board Chair Randall Royer and Director of Development and Communications Katy Walsh. Rep. Williams learned more about the history of our work and the challenges we face in providing services.
We appreciate our local representative for visiting our facility and look forward to working with her to help youth in the community find the help they need.