OAK PARK, IL.—March 26, 2014—Illinois State Representative LaShawn Ford (D.) 8th District, received a Legislative Hero Award from the Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs during the organization’s Advocacy Day in Springfield earlier this month.   
A delegation from the West Cook YMCA that serves ten west suburban Chicago communities, nominated Rep. Ford in recognition of his continued interest in the contributions that YMCAs make to their communities and his legislative support to advance critically needed services.
“As one of Illinois’ 108 not-for-profit YMCAs that serve some 200 communities throughout the state, the West Cook YMCA is focused on youth development to nurture the potential of every child and teen; healthy living to improve the well being of persons of all ages; and social responsibility to give back and support community needs.
“Rep.LaShawn Ford has been an effective advocate for these very same ideals and goals,” said David Phelps, Board Chair of the West Cook YMCA whose organization nominated the legislator.
Phelps cited Rep. Ford’s visits to the West Cook YMCA and his particular interest in the organization’s early childhood program and its 128-room residence for men who are in transition in their lives.
Rep. Ford introduced legislation to provide state appropriations in support of these two important programs, including a Capital Improvement grant, now in the final approval stages, to assist the West Cook YMCA update its 60-year-old residence facility.
The legislator also assisted in securing a $ 58,250 Teen Reach grant to enhance academic enrichment and arts integration during the summer of 2014 in two underserved schools in the West Cook YMCA’s service community, Phelps explained. 
About the West Cook YMCA
The West Cook YMCA, located at 255 South Marion Street, Oak Park, was founded in 1903. Annually, the West Cook YMCA serves more than 10,000 youth, families, seniors, and single adults of Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Bellwood, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, River Grove and Stone Park with more than 100 weekly programs and classes focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.