According to statistics, homicide is the No. 1 cause of death for Chicago residents between the ages of 1 and 34. On June 18, Corazon Community Services, in collaboration with the town of Cicero, elected officials and other community partners, held their 6th annual CeaseFire week promoting community safety and positive activity for summer.
Corazon Community Services is a non-profit agency in Cicero that is focused on engaging youth in leadership, health and service. The agency began as a youth center almost 10 years ago. It is now a new building where youth between the ages of 14 and 21 can go after school and during the summer and participate in different activities “so they’re off the streets, they have a safe space [where] they can go and have fun,” states Esperanza Salgado, director of community initiatives at Corazon Community Services.
The organization is the lead agency for CeaseFire in Cicero, which began in 2000 in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago and now includes 16 neighborhoods in the city and nine communities in Illinois.
“Their goal is to be violence interrupters, to stop violence here in Cicero,” said Salgado.
The week-long event included soccer and volleyball tournaments, a softball game, a family fun carnival open to families and children of all ages, a family health fair, a breakdance battle and talent show, and a number of outdoor activities for kids and teens.
Salgado states that these events will help combat violence in the community by raising awareness “for other kids to know that there [are] kids doing good stuff and being involved.”
Salgado said that over the last six years they have allowed for more and more youth to get involved during CeaseFire week.
“They’ll be more aware of the different services we provide and that [is] really the goal: to make sure that they’re involved, that they’re having fun and that they’re staying safe,” she said.
Corazon Community Services is going to be at different community parks throughout Cicero on Wednesdays and Fridays during the months of July and August. There will be different activities to make sure that it is safe space for kids to play and have fun. The first event is Friday, July 13 from 5-8 p.m. at North Warren Park.