Safety Net Works Student Ambassadors Take Charge

Auburn Gresham's Safety Net Works Liaison, Jocelyn Jones (Right-Center) leads a coalition meeting allowing community residents, school leaders, youth, and other agencies to share their voice regarding safety initiatives in Auburn Gresham.

Ernest Sanders

As part of Illinois State Governor Pat Quinn's Office,  The Safety Net Works (SNW)  is an initiative designed to stop the tragic and unacceptable loss youth in Illinois by leveraging both state and local community resources to enhance a young person’s positive and healthy development.

More specifically, the mission of SNW of Auburn Gresham is to cultivate and develop youth into leaders and agents of social change, in order to eliminate violence in our streets, and engage youth, businesses, churches, and residents in a collective effort to better our community. The SNW of Auburn Gresham also includes participation from youth in the community who serve as Youth Council Members and Youth Ambassadors. Their responsibilities include:

Please meet three of the SNW of Auburn Gresham Youth Ambassadors from Simeon Career Academy, Leo Catholic High School, and Perspectives Calumet High School

Rashad Crawford, a Simeon Career Academy senior searches the internet for safety related materials for the Auburn Gresham Safety Net Works.

C. Nicole Pierce

Rashad Crawford is a senior at Simeon Career Academy, and a Youth Ambassador for the Safety Net Works of Auburn Gresham violence prevention program. Crawford’s interest includes being an active student at school, wrestling for his school team, and being on top of things in his nursing class.

Crawford is very serious about gun and violent crimes among young people and works to make programs and resources known to his peers in order to steer them away from violence in any way possible. A Chicago-native, Crawford’s main goal is to become a brain or heart surgeon.

Za’Kari Phipps is a senior at Leo Catholic High School and student body president at his school. Phipps is very passionate about creating a change in his community and getting more youth involved in community organizing. He believes that the power to change lies within oneself.

Leo High School senior, Za'Kari Phipps spends some leisure time inside of their school's library learning about the Rockefellers.

Ernest Sanders

A powerful and passionate speaker, Phipps continues to deliver messages to youth in his community about getting in school, staying off the streets, and becoming a mentor for youth in the area.

Phipps' goal as a Youth Ambassador for The Safety Net Works of Auburn Gresham is to bridge the gap between his school and community resources that school students could take advantage of. He is on the chess team at his school and he wishes to influence children every chance he gets.

Elizabeth Tolbert is a senior at Perspectives Calumet High school and the Safety Net Works of Auburn Gresham Youth Ambassador. She joined Safety Net Works because she wants give back to her community, shape her understanding of how she can apply her skills, and make Auburn Gresham a safer place to live and learn.

Perspectives Calumet High School senior, Elizabeth Tolbert removes her college folder and University of Illinois bag pack from her locker as she ends her day at Cal High.

Ernest Sanders

In school, she is an active member of several after school activities including the National Honor Society, cheerleading, Us Empowered, year book, and the step team. She looks forward to becoming a role model for the youth like herself in the near future.

The Greater Auburn-Gresham Developement Corporation (GADC) serves as a coalition partner to the SNW of Auburn Gresham providing youth and residents a guarded walking path which allows them the best possible opportunity to walk and return from school safely and focus their attention on academics.

GADC is able to accomplish this feat by partnering with Catholic Charities St. Leo Campus of Veterans and concerned parents of local elementary schools. A total of 2 Veterans and 3 parents serve as parent patrollers.

Saint Leo Veterans parent patrollers Lawrence Burns, Anthony Jones, and Herald Watson, provide Auburn Gresham youth and residents a guarded walking path which allows them the best possible opportunity to walk and return from school safely and focus their attention on academics.

Ernest Sanders

This partnership began with a training facilitated by the City of Chicago to explain safe methods of deterring violent behavior when youths are entering or leaving school. 

Patrollers are also provided with vests and two-way radios to expedite communication when necessary.

For more information regarding the Safety Net Works of Auburn Gresham, please contact Jocelyn Jones at (773) 483-4333.