More than 643,000 children in Illinois - 1 in 5 - do not know when their next meal is coming. These children are food insecure, and they deserve better. Every child deserves three nutritious meals a day, yet many children are missing meals and spending much of the day hungry. The Rise and Shine campaign was developed on the recommendation of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger and seeks to remedy the problem of child hunger in Illinois. Please take advantage of this opportunity and ensure our children are receiving the nutrition they need to lead healthy, happy, growing lives.

For more information on  how to take advantage of free nutritious summer meals, see the poster below and click here!


rise and shine poster


Category: News

lightford floor 672 billsigningSPRINGFIELD – Most of us would agree that if we could do high school all over again, knowing what we now know about how the world works, some of our academic questions and concerns might focus on more practical subjects – maybe simply inquiring about how to get through day-to-day adult life unscathed.

How do I stay out of debt? What is the best way to pay back mounting student loans? How do I prevent the guy in the apartment next door from stealing my identity?

A new law, pushed through the General Assembly by Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D – Maywood), will require those questions to be answered in Illinois public high schools. The law will add identity-theft security, consumer debt and higher education loans to the list of mandatory subjects to be covered in high school financial literacy courses.

“Once out of high school, the ‘real world’ presents some daunting, if not scary, challenges,” said Senator Lightford. “It is extremely important to prepare our students for adult life in all its aspects so that they can avoid some of the most common and severe real world difficulties as they graduate from school, begin a career and start their own families.”

According to a leading producer of identity theft statistics, on average, close to 100 million Americans have their personal identifying information placed at risk of theft each year.

And thanks to climbing tuition and inadequate college savings, 40 million Americans now have at least one outstanding student loan, according to new analyses from credit bureau Experian.

The new law, Senate Bill 672, goes in effect on July 1, 2015.

Category: News

lightford floor PUNS signing releaseSPRINGFIELD – Students with developmental disabilities will soon find it easier to get the help they and their families need. Sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood), a new law requires the Dept. of Human Services (DHS) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to train public school case workers to register students with the PUNS (Prioritization or Urgency of Need for Services) database.

Experts argued that due to a lack of awareness, PUNS is under-utilized, and therefore, people with developmental disabilities across the state are not getting the services they need. The law will ensure students in Illinois public schools and parents have the information they need to register with PUNS if they so choose.

“A database that ensures that people with developmental disabilities are never overlooked and always given help is no help to anyone if it is not used,” said Sen. Lightford. “Through this new law, we can ensure that students in the greatest need receive the resources they require to succeed and lead healthy, productive lives.”

DHS and ISBE will also develop a new program to provide resources and training for case workers so they are as prepared as possible to provide these students and their families with the information and advice they need. The law also requires ISBE to inform parents and guardians concerning the PUNS waiting list through school districts.

The measure was signed into law July 27, 2015.

Category: News

Earlier this month, Senator Lightford (D – Maywood) and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus teamed up with Chicago & Cook County Building and Trades, Dawson Technical Institute – a pre-apprenticeship job training center for construction and utility trade careers – and the Illinois AFL-CIO to provide much needed guidance for people looking for promising careers by hosting a Pathway to Apprenticeship Informational Fair.

On July 20, the event gave 88 eager apprenticeship seekers information on when applications for specific apprenticeships are accepted, necessary qualifications and contact information for Apprenticeship schools. Representatives from 17 unique trades provided crucial knowledge from experts on how to navigate the process of finding the right apprenticeship program in the right career field.

Event participants were greeted by Senator Lightford – Chair of the ILBC, Tom Villanova – President of the Chicago & Cook County Building and Trades, Robert Barnett – Dawson Technical Institute Dean, and Jason Keller – Legislative Director of the Illinois AFL-CIO.

Also joining Senator Lightford in greeting and interacting with the event participants were fellow ILBC Chicago members, Senators Jacqueline Collins (D –16th), Mattie Hunter (D –3rd) and Patricia Van Pelt (D –5th), as well as Representatives LaShawn Ford (D –8th), Camille Lilly (D –78th) and Kenneth Duncan (D –5th).

 Check out the photos from the Pathway to Apprenticeship Fair below!

app fair groupapp fair attendees

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Category: News

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