Juliana Stratton, Lt. Governor-elect, participates in statewide ‘Day of Service’ at Boys and Girls club

Juliana+Stratton%2C+Illinois+Lt.Governor-elect%2C+reacts+after+feeding+a+bearded+dragon+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+12%2C+2019%2C+during+a+community+event+at+the+Boys+%26+Girls+Club+in+Carbondale%2C+Illinois.+The+event+kicked+off+a+statewide+day+of+service+held+by+Pritzker-Stratton+Inaugural+Committee.+
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Juliana Stratton, Lt. Governor-elect, participates in statewide ‘Day of Service’ at Boys and Girls club

Juliana Stratton, Illinois Lt.Governor-elect, reacts after feeding a bearded dragon on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, during a community event at the Boys & Girls Club in Carbondale, Illinois. The event kicked off a statewide day of service held by Pritzker-Stratton Inaugural Committee.

Juliana Stratton, Illinois Lt.Governor-elect, reacts after feeding a bearded dragon on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, during a community event at the Boys & Girls Club in Carbondale, Illinois. The event kicked off a statewide day of service held by Pritzker-Stratton Inaugural Committee.

Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz

Juliana Stratton, Illinois Lt.Governor-elect, reacts after feeding a bearded dragon on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, during a community event at the Boys & Girls Club in Carbondale, Illinois. The event kicked off a statewide day of service held by Pritzker-Stratton Inaugural Committee.

Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz

Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz

Juliana Stratton, Illinois Lt.Governor-elect, reacts after feeding a bearded dragon on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, during a community event at the Boys & Girls Club in Carbondale, Illinois. The event kicked off a statewide day of service held by Pritzker-Stratton Inaugural Committee.

By Brian Munoz, Editor in Chief

Juliana Stratton, Lieutenant Governor-elect, kicked off a gubernatorial-announced statewide day of service at the Carbondale Boys & Girls Club on Saturday morning.

Nearly 100 volunteers from six different counties painted, cleaned and helped renovate various portions of the club’s building.

Glenn Poshard, former SIU president and inauguration committeeman, said the Boys & Girls Club of Carbondale came to mind when they were looking at projects for today’s event.

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“Our foundation for abused children has a long history of helping the club,” Poshard said. “We’re thrilled with today’s turnout.”

The organization serves youth from kindergarten through high school and is seen as a “youth development agency” based on three pillars: academic success, good character/citizenship and living a healthy lifestyle, said Tina Carpenter, Carbondale Boys & Girls Club CEO.

“I think this is a way for everyone to come together and give back to their community – just really show what Illinoisans are really about and that is making sure that we build up our communities,” Stratton said.

Stratton is set to become Illinois’ 48th lieutenant governor and first woman of color to assume the position in the state’s history.

Stratton said that JB Pritzker, Illinois governor-elect and her mission is based around service.

“Public service, at the heart of it all, is service,” Stratton said. “JB and I are really focused on how we build a community, how we work with one another and how we serve one another to move forward.”

Stratton said that she and and Pritzker are “ready to start working” this coming week and wants those in Carbondale to know that the governor’s office is representing the entire state, including Carbondale – not just Chicago and central Illinois.

Education remains one of the top of the list items for the administration as they to work to improve Illinois’ schools.

“We had so many of our institutions of higher education really suffer because of our 736 day budget crisis,” Stratton said. “JB and I have committed to making sure that we prioritize making sure, first of all, that we get a balanced budget passed… that’s our constitutional responsibility.”

Pritzker’s administration plans on combating the Illinois “brain drain” with increased opportunities in higher education funding and bringing publicity to Illinois schools.

“We have to make sure we strengthen our institutions of higher education,” Stratton said. “We also want to make sure that college is affordable and accessible to all students… going back to the levels of MAP grants [and seeing] how we can expand those opportunities because we want to make sure that students that want to go to college in Illinois have that opportunity.

Poshard said that the governor-elect and the lieutenant governor-elect have pledged that they are going to do everything they can to help stop the migration of Illinois students.

“We think they’re going to get higher education back what it used to be – when we were one of the top 5 states in the nation in terms to our commitment to higher education, Poshard said.

Education is one of the three pillars for the Boys & Girls club of Carbondale.  

Data obtained by the organization shows that students who came to the programming 120 days or more in a year, on average, obtained A’s in math and English and children who attended 60 days or less, on average, obtained C’s, Carpenter said.

The club’s teen population has grown from 10 percent in 2009 to 60 percent in 2018, Carpenter said.

“I think it’s important for people to see that we are good stewards of funding and making sure that our kids are getting the best,” Carpenter said. “We stand by our word that the money goes towards making sure we have a stellar program for our kids, keeping them safe and helping them become our future leaders.”

Carpenter said that they’ve accomplished what the original board had set out to do.

“We’re really excited for the opportunity to serve more kids.” Carpenter said. “I like to say that magic happens here every single day and those relationships that our kids build here with our staff really is magic.”

Editor in Chief Brian Munoz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @brianmmunoz.

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