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Rockford Takes on the #10YearChallenge

Transform Rockford, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Rockford have taken on social media’s hottest trend, the #10YearChallenge. The challenge provides an opportunity to showcase side-by-side photos comparing what the city looked like ten years ago versus what it looks like today. Below are a few highlights of how the city, and its infrastructure, have changed over the last ten years.

UW Health Sports Factory

o   10 years ago – The dilapidated Ingersoll Factory sat vacant along the banks of the Rock River.

o   2019 – The old factory was converted into the UW Health Sports Factory, making it one of the largest sports facilities in the Midwest. Operated by the Rockford Park District, it is 108,000 square feet and features up to eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, an outdoor river walking path, full-service sports bar, meeting space, concessions and more. The building symbolizes the history of its original site and the shell of the former factory still remains in place today.

Morgan Street Bridge

o   10 years ago – The Morgan Street Bridge was deteriorating quickly, threatening east-west traffic flow on the south side of Rockford.

o   2019 – The new intricate white tied-arch bridge features interchangeable lighting, a bike path and pedestrian overlooks.

Main Street, Downtown Rockford

o   10 years ago – The Main Street mall in downtown Rockford was currently being torn-up to become a two-way street.

o   2019 –North and South Main Streets are now two-way streets, end-to-end. The street now offers café-style seating on sidewalks, on-street parking and “Gateway” streetlights and arches.

East State Street, Downtown Rockford

o   10 years ago – Several downtown buildings were vacant and aesthetically dated.

o   2019 – Every storefront in downtown is occupied. Several buildings received makeovers and now the streets are lined with everything from luxury lofts to hair salons, coffee shops, high-end restaurants & bars to specialty stores selling anything from t-shirts, home décor, skateboards, fine chocolates, antiques and more.

Auburn Street Roundabout

o   10 years ago – Auburn Street and North Main Street was a neglected intersection that was in desperate need of repair in order to attract new businesses and private investments.

o   2019 – A new roundabout took over the intersections with approximately 26,375 cars passing through the roundabout each day, according to traffic counts from the Illinois Department of Transportation. The Auburn Street/North Main Street corridor has attracted new businesses and has reduced automobile accidents.

Prairie Street Brewhouse

o   10 years ago – The 76,000-square-foot former brewery and warehouse sat vacant along the banks of the Rock River.

o   2019 – Prairie Street Brewhouse is a fully restored and historic five-story building that boasts a restaurant, two tap rooms, event spaces, outdoor patio, ten luxury loft apartments and a handful of boat slips on the Rock River. The restaurant brews its own beer and is known for its Thursday night “Dinner on the Docks” event during the summer months.

Amerock Building

o   10 years ago – The Amerock Building was purchased by the city of Rockford for $240,000. It recently became vacant after being the a site of major knitting and cabinet hardware industries.

o   2019 – The Amerock Building is undergoing a massive transformation to become the Embassy Suites Hotel & Rockford Conference Center. The 160-suite hotel is scheduled to open in 2020.

City Market Pavilion

o   10 Years Ago – Rockford City Market debuted featuring street vendors, musicians, food and children’s activities along Water Street in downtown Rockford.

o   2019 – Rockford City Market is still going strong, however it is now housed under a new pavilion. In the 2018 season there was a total of 78 vendors and more than 99,775 visitors attended the market.

Marchesano Drive (Rockford’s Southwest Side)

o   10 Years Ago – Aging commercial strip malls and former Box’s Bar-BQ could be seen along Marchesano Drive.

o   2019 – Rockford Fire Station #3 and the new SwedishAmerican Riverwest Clinic have given new life to a once abandon corridor on the city’s southwest side.

“A lot can change in a decade and a lot truly has changed in a decade right here in Rockford,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “These are exciting times as more positive change continues to take place in our region.”

“We’ve all been working hard to create active, vibrant and beautiful public and civic spaces. I think we can be proud of how far we’ve come and look forward with anticipation to how much farther we will go in the next ten years,” said John Groh, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO. “As a result of these advancements, there has been a huge shift in how our city perceives itself and how the outside world views our region.”


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Transform Rockford Reflects On Rockford’s Biggest Wins in 2018

As the year 2018 winds down, Transform Rockford reflects on big wins for the Rockford region in 2018. In no particular order, the top transformational wins in 2018 are listed below:

Family Justice Center Grant – In September of this year, the City of Rockford was awarded with a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women which will help the process of making a Family Justice Center in the city a reality. The new center will be a centralized and trauma informed facility, where specialized organizations will work together so survivors and their children may safely and more easily access the services they need. The $450,000 grant will not only help establish the facility, but will pay for the first 18 months of operation.

Barber Colman Advanced Manufacturing Center – In October of this year, the City of Rockford approved a multi-million dollar development project between Rock Valley College and the Rockford Local Development Corporation on the proposed Barber Colman Advanced Manufacturing Center project. The former Barber Colman textile machine factory, located on South Main Street, will cost approximately $32.3 to renovate with the goal of growing its own workforce in the field of manufacturing. The new center also has potential to encourage more private development on the west side of, clean-up a blighted neighborhood and welcome visitors and residents to the city’s downtown River District.

Erickson Institute Education Partnership – In November of this year, Transform Rockford, Alignment Rockford and Rockford Public Schools announced a partnership with Erikson Institute with a goal of capturing data about the preparedness of our region’s kindergarteners. By using the Early Development Instrument (EDI), kindergarten teachers will assess our region’s youngest students, all the way down to the neighborhood level, and in May results will be released. At that time, our community will learn what’s working, what’s not and how do we align resources accordingly to better manage our student’s physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, communication skills, and language and cognitive development.

Chicago Rockford International Airport Ranked Top 22 – In July of this year, the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) ranked as the 22nd largest airport in the nation for air cargo volume, up from a ranking of 31 in 2016. RFD ranked ahead of major airports such as San Francisco International, Salt Lake City International, Orlando International and others. Nearly 1.4 billion pounds of cargo traveled through RFD in 2017, a 50 percent increase from the prior year. Many factors influence the airport’s growth including UPS and the most recent announcement of Amazon investing in an existing hub for its Prime shipping program at RFD.

Rockford is Making a Comeback – According to the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday, November 18 headline, “Rockford is Making a Comeback.” And it’s not only making a comeback, in October of this year Reader’s Digest named it one of the “15 Best Places to Move to, Before it Gets Too Crowded.” Residents are starting to see the Rockford Region with new eyes. They are feeling prouder of where they live and are showing that they have more confidence in the future.

“2018 was a good year for Rockford. Our region had several positive wins and a lot of these accomplishments will continue to move forward into 2019,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “And while we’re seeing great growth and redevelopment, we still keep in mind that we have a lot of work ahead of us to become “Top 25 by 2025.” But I’m confident to say that we are seeing great alignment and collaboration that is foundational to our region’s future to be a place for all people, companies, and organization to thrive.”

To learn more about Transform Rockford and how to get involved, contact Strategy & Communications Manager Katryna Kirby at (815) 977-5840 or katryna@transformrockford.org.


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Transform Rockford Volunteers Hand Deliver More Than 3,000 Children’s Books to Local Students Throughout the Region

Transform Rockford is pleased to announce it hand-delivered more than 3,000 children’s books to local students throughout the region this week, surpassing its original goal of 2,000 books. This was all part of the first annual community-wide holiday book drive which took place November 19 through December 7. Community members, businesses and local organizations rallied together and donated new and mint-condition books from infancy through pre-K level, with the goal of bridging the winter break reading gap and putting books in the hands of young students enrolled in early childhood education programs. 

“We are so pleased with how our first annual book drive turned out and it’s all thanks to our great community,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “This is one way Transform Rockford is committed to growing our culture of learning and supporting our students and families.”

More than 60 volunteers helped wrap the books and several Transform Rockford Steering Committee members, residents and police officers hand delivered the books to students enrolled at Summerdale Early Childhood Center, Dennis Early Childhood Center and Kishwaukee Elementary School in Rockford, Donald C. Parker Early Education Center in Machesney Park, Washington Academy pre-K program & Lincoln Elementary School pre-K program in Belvidere, Caledonia Elementary School pre-K program and various day care centers throughout the region.

“It truly felt like the entire region came together on this book drive,” said Transform Rockford Steering Committee Chair Bobbie Holzwarth. “Boxes and boxes of books were donated, residents and business leaders came together to wrap books & hand-out the books, and thousands of local students were overjoyed to receive their very own book. It was a huge success!”

To learn more about Transform Rockford and other initiatives that are taking place, contact Strategy & Communications Manager Katryna Kirby at (815) 977-5840 or katryna@transformrockford.org.


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Transform Rockford to Host Community-Wide Holiday Book Drive, November 19 – December 7

Transform Rockford, a local organization with a mission to transform the community from within and become “Top 25 by 2025,” is pleased to announce it is teaming up with local organizations and hosting its first annual community-wide holiday book drive, November 19 – December 7. The goal of the drive is to bridge the Christmas break reading gap by putting books in the hands of young students and to encourage residents that children, as early as infants, should have access to books.

Community members are encouraged to donate new or mint-condition books from infancy through pre-k levels at one of the following locations:

·       Transform Rockford, 303 N. Main Street, Suite 110

·       Rockford City Hall, 425 E. State Street

·       Winnebago County Administration Building, 404 Elm Street

·       Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 102 N. Main Street

·       Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 303 W. State Street

·       Rockford Area Economic Development Council, 100 Park Avenue

·       Rockford Police Stations:

o   District 1 – 1045 W. State Street

o   District 2 – 1410 Broadway

o   District 3 – 557 S. Newtowne Drive

·       Midland States Bank Locations:

o   Machesney Park, 613 Harlem Road

o   Cherry Valley, 1972 Pawlisch Drive

o   Rockford – East State Street, 6838 E. State Street

o   Rockford – Spring Creek Road, 2218 N. Mulford Road

o   Rockford – North Main Street, 1401 N. Main Street

o   Rockford – Highcrest, 1700 N. Alpine Road

o   Rockford – Inside Schnuck’s East State Street, 6410 E. State Street

o   Rockford – Inside Schnuck’s Charles Street, 2642 Charles Street

o   Loves Park – Inside Schnuck’s Harlem & Alpine, 180 Harlem Road

“By hosting a community-wide book drive, all residents in the region can contribute to the Transformation Plan particularly in the area of education and supporting students and families, ensuring all are ready,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “Statistics show that students who read at home have a higher success rate in school and children who read at grade level by the time they enter into third grade are less likely to drop out of school.”

Transform Rockford’s goal is to collect 2,000 books which will be donated to students enrolled in early childhood programs throughout the region. Transform Rockford Steering Committee members, staff and volunteers will wrap the books and directly hand them out to students during the last week of school before winter break.

“Winnebago County wholeheartedly supports Transform Rockford’s holiday book drive,” said Chairman Frank Haney. “Putting books in the hands of children during the winter break is both a gift to our young people and an investment in them. This is yet another way our community can create a culture that values and celebrates reading.”

For more information on how to donate or get involved, contact Transform Rockford Strategy & Communications Manager Katryna Kirby at (815) 977-5840 or katryna@transformrockford.org. Visit Transform Rockford’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date on book drive details.


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Local Organizations Announce Partnership with Erikson Institute to Take a Community-Wide, Neighborhood-Level Approach to Achieve Readiness For All

The community is on a journey to become “Top 25 by 2025,” and Transform Rockford, Alignment Rockford and Rockford Public Schools (RPS) are excited to announce a partnership that will help the region hit its goal. At a news conference today, the three organizations announced a partnership with Erikson Institute, a premier early childhood development program that takes a holistic, population-based, measured approach to assess the readiness of kindergarteners in five developmental domains. Rockford is the largest community Erikson Institute will work with in the state.

Erikson Institute uses the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a population measure that provides a snapshot of children’s health, development and school readiness in the context of their neighborhood, to compel stakeholders on how the community, as a whole, can better support early childhood development. Erikson will work with RPS to collect data in five areas to provide a precise and holistic snapshot of a child’s development in the context of their community.

“We know our community needs to focus on literacy, but if we only focus on literacy, we’re never going to achieve our goals,” said Alignment Rockford Ready to Learn Team Co-Lead and Senior Minister at Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson. “The work is about readiness to learn. It’s about health outcomes, school attendance, access to immunizations, nutrition and social work and we’re glad to be partnering with Erikson Institute to address these issues.”

“Research is confirming that what happens in early childhood plays a big role in lifelong health, well-being and learning,” said Erikson Institute Associate Director Jaclyn Vasquez. “I’m excited to work alongside organizations and residents here in Rockford. The community impressed me since day one – they’re organized, efficient and ready to drive positive change. I know that once they receive specific data from Erikson, stakeholders and residents will get to work to help transform their city and get students on the right path.”

“Erikson Institute is here to help our community understand where our vulnerabilities are in early childhood so that we can strategically focus our efforts on solutions that invoke systemic change,” said Alignment Rockford Executive Director Anisha Grimmett. “Our school district is considered the education experts and provides the appropriate levels of support to children in the classroom, but we also have to provide children with the critical support they need outside of school, allowing them to come into the classroom ready to learn.”

Directly following the assessment, Erikson Institute will provide Alignment Rockford, Transform Rockford, RPS, and participating private schools with data that shows where children have strengths and opportunities for growth across geographic areas and neighborhoods throughout Rockford, informing the schools, stakeholders and local service providers where efforts and resources should be focused.

“This is where Transform Rockford comes into play. Our team leads for education and families & neighborhoods have already been collaborating to determine how we advance the Supporting our Students and Families strategy identified in the Transformation Plan,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “Having data from Erikson Institute will allow our residents and community stakeholders to tackle our weaknesses and build on our strengths to help in the transformation process of our city.”

“The initiative provides data that we do not currently have,” said Heidi Dettman, RPS 205 Executive Director of Academics. “It is, for all intents and purposes, the missing link to help us more deeply engage community partnerships to wrap around supports for our students and families. We will be able to gather information about children’s experiences in the early years, monitor their developmental trajectories and outcomes, and help to predict later school success.”

Five years ago when the community set on a journey to transform Rockford, residents joined in a call-to-action for improving the living and working conditions in our region. In October 2017, the community established a partnership with Tamarack Institute, an internationally recognized program that develops and supports strategies that engage local people to solve major issues in their own community. Thanks to the Collective Impact Support team, led by Northern Illinois Center for Non-Profit Excellence, and the support of several local businesses and foundations, Tamarack hosted a workshop to help the community identify a significant complex social issue in the area to solve and agreed to align around 3rd grade literacy as a keystone outcome for student success. In June 2018, using the Data Walk best practice tool, stakeholders teamed-up to create a deeper, shared understanding of the issue and began building a common agenda to achieve this key educational milestone. Bringing in Erikson Institute now allows Transform Rockford, Alignment Rockford and RPS to take a community-wide, neighborhood-level look at achieving readiness for all.

For more information on Erikson Institute, visit www.erikson.edu.

 


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Rockford Listed as One of the “15 Best Places to Move to in the U.S.” by Prominent Consumer Magazine

According to prominent consumer magazine Reader’s Digest, Rockford has been recognized as one of the “15 best places to move to in the U.S.” The recently published article highlights small cities and big towns across the United States that are flying under the radar and touts these places as “the perfect destinations to set-up house and put down roots.” Rockford is the only Illinois city included on the list, next to other prominent cities including Salt Lake City, Utah; Reno, Nevada; Kansas City, Kansas and Burlington, Vermont.

“Word is getting out and people are noticing that Rockford is on a comeback,” said Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President & CEO John Groh. “Our community offers acres and acres of forest preserves and parks, numerous museums and bike paths and year-round recreation. We should all be proud to call Rockford region home.”

The article specifically boasts Rockford for its small-town charm, unsuspecting, cultural, culinary and outdoor spaces, describing our city as a truly “off-the-beaten-path experience.” It also mentions that Rockford is home to dozens of museums, including the top-ranked family Discovery Center museum, offers a cable-run wake park and one of North America’s top Japanese gardens, has more than 10,000 acres of natural land for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy and mentions the new Embassy Suites convention center which is scheduled to open April of 2020.

“We’re excited that a well-known media outlet sees the assets and opportunities, along with the strengths of our community,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “Being recognized as one of the “15 best places to move to” is another sign of positive transformation our community is experiencing.”

To read the full article, go to https://www.rd.com/advice/travel/best-places-to-move-to-before-too-crowded/.


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Transform Rockford Welcomes New Steering Committee Members

Transform Rockford is pleased to announce the election of two new members to its Steering Committee. The newly elected members are Benjamin Bernsten and Daniel G. Saavedra.

“I am pleased to welcome our two newest members,” said Transform Rockford Steering Committee Chair Bobbie Holzwarth. “They each have a unique background, with diverse experiences that make them an asset in helping with the transformation process of our city.”

Benjamin Bernsten was named the President of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois in May 2018. Since joining Goodwill in 2012, Ben has been responsible for all aspects of Goodwill’s retail operation and legal affairs within its 18-county territory. He’s created numerous new programs and revenue generating operations including Goodwill’s e-commerce program. Ben graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, WI. He resides in Rockford and is actively involved in the community, serving on other numerous boards including Rock River Water Reclamation District, The Workforce Connection, Northwest Community Center, and GiGi’s Playhouse.

Daniel G. Saavedra is President and co-owner of Rockford-based Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects. He has more than thirty years of experience in the architectural profession and has received recognition for excellence in architectural design for more than thirty projects his firm has developed nationally and regionally. His experience includes more than 400 projects in the religious, health care, commercial, institutional, and residential, facilities. Some of these projects are the SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center, various projects at Rock Valley College, Rosecrance, Anderson Japanese Garden Visitors Center, Poplar Grove United Methodist Church, Practice Velocity, and many more. Dan grew-up in Colombia and came to Illinois in 1984 after obtaining his degree in architecture from the Universidad La Gran Colombia in Bogota, Colombia. Dan resides in Roscoe and is actively involved with as a trustee for the Rockford Art Museum and Northern Illinois Conference for the United Methodist Church. Dan has also volunteered in many non-for-profits organizations in the region including Transform Rockford.

Other Transform Rockford Steering Committee members include:

  • Nate Boelkins, UTAS
  • Tom Gendron (Emeritus), Woodward
  • Bill Gorski, Retired from SwedishAmerican
  • Bobbie Holzwarth, Holmstrom Law
  • Christie Jarrett, Stenstrom
  • Doug Jensen, Rock Valley College
  • Jim Keeling, Hinshaw Law
  • LoRayne Logan, Workplace Staffing
  • Paul Logli, United Way of Rock River Valley
  • Peter Provenzano, Supply Core
  • Dave Schertz, Retired from OSF
  • David Sidney, Transform Rockford

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Transform Rockford Introduces New Team

Transform Rockford is excited to announce it has a new team in place to help Rockford get on path to becoming a Top 25 community. The team is comprised of local residents who grew up, live in the area and are committed to making positive changes to the region.

David Sidney, Executive Director

David Sidney has been with Transform Rockford since the beginning. He served as a volunteer leader of the Shared Values team and facilitated several visioning sessions. He served as Project Director, a staff position since January 2016 and was named Executive Director June 1, 2018. Before working for Transform Rockford, David was an urban planner, first with Gary W. Anderson Architects and then with the City of Rockford. David is a Rockford native and graduate of Auburn High School and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban planning from the University of Illinois. In addition, he has a master’s in Christian ministry from Northern Seminary. David is married to Michelle and has a son, Judah, and another child on the way.

Jason Holcomb, Project Development Manager

Jason Holcomb joined the Transform Rockford team in 2018 after working for nearly ten years as a disability advocate both in the non-profit and private sector. He began volunteering at Transform Rockford in 2016 serving on the Project Support Team. He also completed a seven-month internship with Transform Rockford as part of his master’s program. Jason is a graduate of Christian Life High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and master’s degree in social work from Indiana University. Jason is married and the proud owner of two cats.

Katryna Kirby, Strategy & Communications Manager

Katryna Kirby is the newest member of the Transform Rockford team, starting in September of 2018. Prior to joining the team, Katryna most recently served as Public Relations & Community Engagement Specialist at SwedishAmerican and Account Executive at Chartwell Agency in Rockford. She also serves as Board President for Seward Park District located in Seward, IL. Katryna is a Byron High School graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation, park and tourism administration from Western Illinois University. She resides in Pecatonica with her husband Pete and two children, Jude and Cora.

Diane Zammuto, Operations Coordinator

Diane Zammuto joined the Transform Rockford team in August of 2018. A lifelong resident of Rockford, Diane has been a strong supporter of educational institutions and an advocate for children. For the past ten years, Diane served as an assistant to the Development Coordinator at Keith Country Day School and was the lead organizer for the annual Classics and Chrome Car Show. Diane resides in Rockford with her husband and has four grown sons.

“Transform Rockford is excited to have a new team in place who will work hard to facilitate positive change in the Rockford region,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “These individuals care deeply about the region and bring several skills and talents to the team that will help us manage and foster relationships with businesses and community members and help improve the social and economic well-being of the region.”

Transform Rockford was formed in late 2013 when more than 1,300 people attended a community meeting and learned the “brutal facts” of the Rockford area. Members joined in on a call to action for improving the living and working conditions in the region. Today, the Transform Rockford team is in the implement projects and measurement phase where projects are moving forward, action is taking place and results are being shown.

Transform Rockford is providing strategic support to forty-five community based projects, including the Grade Level Reading program, a partnership with Alignment Rockford to provide support for the third grade reading initiative to ensure every child is reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. One way the project received support recently was through the Read 815 campaign where students in Winnebago County were challenged to read one book per week during the summer months.

The Great Neighborhoods project also is currently underway. The project engages neighborhoods to focus on the assets it has, to begin mapping those assets and to ultimately uncover what makes their neighborhood great, unique and desirable. Transform Rockford created a Great Neighborhoods resource guide, neighborhood directory and website for community members to utilize and learn best practices. Recently, Transform Rockford and The Great Neighborhoods project helped beautify blighted properties in downtown Rockford by decorating and adhering weather-resistant boards over windows to help spruce-up the neighborhood.

“It’s truly an exciting time for Transform Rockford and for the region as a whole,” said Transform Rockford Steering Committee Chair Bobbie Holzwarth. “The Transform Rockford team is getting its hands dirty and with our many volunteers, community partners, and stakeholders, making valuable changes in our region.”

To learn more about Transform Rockford’s progress and how to get involved by either joining in on a community conversation or volunteering on a team, visit www.transformrockford.org or call (815) 977-5840.


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Transform Rockford 815 Choose Civility Team to Host Second Annual Summit for High School Juniors and Seniors

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The second annual 815 Choose Civility Summit will be held on Tuesday, October 2 from 12 – 2:30 PM at The Nordlof Auditorium, 118 North Main Street, Rockford. The Summit targets high school juniors and senior leaders and influencers who reside in the 815 area who are committed to making impactful change in their respective schools. 815 Choose Civility is a community initiative formed as part of Transform Rockford, a group working to transform the community from within with the goal of becoming a top 25 community by 2025.

The 815 Choose Civility Summit will feature a panel of experts, including Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, Winnebago Chairman Frank Haney, Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine, Rockford Police Assistant Deputy Chief Carla Redd and local students. Nicole Stein from WREX will moderate the program.

In addition, the program will include discussions on civility and what it means to be “civil,” fake news vs. real news and provide a collaborative activity on civility. At the conclusion of the program, a challenge will be pushed out to the schools and each student will sign and take the Civility Pledge, “I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is honest, respectful, considerate and kind, even toward those with whom I disagree.””

“The second annual 815 Choose Civility summit is a great way to inform and inspire our local students on the importance of civility,” said 815 Choose Civility Member and Attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson Sherry Harlan. “These students are the future of our community and the more we can educate them on civility, the better the chance they will take ownership and create a culture of civility in their own classroom and at home.”

To learn more about the 815 Choose Civility community initiative, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/815ChooseCivility or contact Transform Rockford at (815) 977-5840.


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Second Annual Day of Compassion Event to be Held September 29

One Body Collaboratives, in partnership with Transform Rockford, is excited to announce it is hosting its second annual Day of Compassion Event on Saturday, September 29 from 9:30 – 11:30 AM at Trinity Learning Center (TLC), located at 207 North First Street, Rockford. The event is an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of collaboration and alignment of resources to meet needs of individuals and families.

One Body Collaboratives currently partners with 16 churches in the region that host Gap Ministries which distribute items to those in need in the community. Residents are encouraged to attend the Day of Compassion event and donate items that are most in demand, including baby necessities, household items/supplies, school supplies/uniforms, food, clothing and more.

“We’re extremely excited to host the 2nd annual Day of Compassion event that brings together collaboration between our churches, ministries and residents,” said One Body Collaboratives Executive Director Mary Cacioppi. “Our local churches are too often vast, yet greatly underutilized resource pools in our community. This event is a way to celebrate and centralize all valued players while helping to rebuild lives in our community.”

In addition, Compassionate Impacts, a Transform Rockford project, will be highlighted during the event. The project creates ways to engage the community in acts of service to help those in need by facilitating “Service to All, and Service By All.” The goal is to transform the community’s compassion by encouraging random acts of kindness to aligned efforts with impactful outcomes. A demonstration of the Compassionate Impacts software will also be available to view at the event, which provides a web-based platform for all community members to work seamlessly together to help fill existing service and resource gaps.

“The community identified this model of resource alignment during the development of the community’s Transformation Plan,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “Faith-based organizations and communities are contributing their pool of resources in an aligned manner to change the way we serve others and be served, for lasting transformation in our region.”

To learn more about the Second Annual Day of Compassion Event and view a list of needed items, visit onebodycollaboratives.org or contact Mary Cacioppi at mary.cacioppi@onebodycollaboratives.org or (815) 985-1311.