Thoughtfully Engaging our Communities in 2024

Family, Field, and Community Engagement Lead Jesse Rojo shares what's on the horizon

Raising Illinois takes great pride in our commitment to Family, Field, and Community Engagement, a cornerstone of our coalition's mission. We know that families and community members are the experts in their own lived experience. Our dedication lies in aligning with the communities we serve, collaborating closely with families, providers and the community to create measurable, systematic change. This collective effort aims to shape a brighter future for every child, in every family, and in every community.

Through our impactful Family Leader program, we have established a structure of support for 12 remarkable parents, with plans for expansion! These Family Leaders are the bedrock of our coalition, empowered to influence the agendas of our policy groups, actively participating in decision-making processes, and representing families throughout Illinois. This collaborative approach extends to our Community Engagement series and state-wide Community Conversations, providing a platform for capturing valuable community feedback which then is lifted up through all of our Raising Illinois Policy Groups. Our Family Leaders have provided testimony to ISBE, addressed Governor Pritzker and other advocates in Springfield, and shared their experiences in our bi-annual events.

By incorporating community perspectives throughout Illinois into our work and our policy groups, we ensure that our agenda resonates within the community. Simultaneously, this process allows us to identify areas where our agenda may fall short and determine what additional work is needed.

In 2024, we are thrilled to build on our progress. We are set to conduct focus groups specifically with Fathers and Single Mothers, amplifying their perspectives and identifying their unique needs. Additionally, we plan to facilitate Community Conversations and policy discussions in Lake Zurich, Aurora, and East St Louis. We will also revisit Moline, Peoria, and Evanston for legislative forums - opportunities to engage directly with lawmakers, advocating for the needs of young children in their respective communities!

Be sure to keep an eye on our Action Center and social media for information on how to join an upcoming Community Conversation! If you’d like to host a Conversation in your area, please contact Jesse Rojo at

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Are you ready? Learn how you can get involved.