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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Alicia Vega to lead Southwest Youth Collaborative
From a news release
2012-02-14

This article shared 5038 times since Tue Feb 14, 2012
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The Board of Directors of the Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Alicia Tellez Vega, MJ as the new Executive Director effective February 1, 2012. Alicia received a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology and a Master of Jurisprudence in Child Law degree from Loyola University Chicago.

Alicia brings over 15 years of experience working with children, youth and families in communities across Chicago. Born and raised on the South Side, her vision and drive has always been to serve the South Side communities of the city, particularly those affected by violence. She began her career at Loyola University Chicago in a management position at the CIVITAS Childlaw Center. She later moved into the child welfare arena by working at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The bulk of her career was at the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center serving as the Chief Program Officer for a national model agency providing multi-disciplinary investigations of child sexual abuse. Alicia then went on to revamp the youth program at The Center on Halsted, the Midwest's largest community center serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. She currently serves on the Illinois Children's Justice Task Force, was a member of the Illinois Child Death Review Team and provided community leadership as a board member of Amigas Latinas Association.

Usama Houlila, President of the SWYC Board of Directors states "Alicia has a compelling vision for the future and possesses the drive, energy and compassion to make the vision a reality. The Board has full confidence in her commitment to youth and to the communities we serve."

Vega states, "For 20 years SWYC has empowered youth from marginalized communities to overcome unthinkable obstacles. Often times other institutions or communities have pushed youth out or given up on them. SWYC has reached out to the most challenging populations of young people and proven that with support, compassion, and healing, all youth can find strength and power to make healthy choices for themselves and their communities. I plan to build on these accomplishments and create stronger resources and networks to reach more youth and families."

Camille Odeh, founding Executive Director states, "I am honored to pass the leadership of SWYC to Alicia Vega, a competent and committed social justice advocate. Alicia is experienced in developing comprehensive children, youth and family systems, providing leadership in not-for-profit administration and program development. She is a strong child welfare advocate and proponent of civic engagement. During these urgent economic times and difficult conditions facing children and youth, her experience will give SWYC the ability to develop a new generation of leadership and build vibrant intergenerational communities which will improve the quality of life for all of Chicago's children, youth and families."

Vega states, "The demographics of the Southwest Side have changed over the past 20 years. There is a large presence of very young people living on the streets, students being arrested at their schools, youth being pushed out of their communities because of their sexual or gender identity, and young people wandering the neighborhood looking for somewhere to go. There is also a change in racial and ethnic presence that can often create community tension. SWYC has programs that address all of these needs and creates collaborations with other community organizations to join together to meet the needs of today's youth. "

An open house will be held on Thursday, March 1st from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the 6400 S. Kedzie location to introduce the new Executive Director to the community. To RSVP send email to OpenHouse2012@swyc.org .

The Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC) is a community-based social justice for youth organization, working in six Chicago neighborhoods, focusing on both youth organizing and social services. SWYC was formed in 1992 to create a cross-cultural understanding among diverse communities and a collaborative network of quality, affordable and innovative youth services. SWYC focuses on youth leadership development and building the capacity of communities to address their own needs. SWYC has an annual operating budget of approximately $2.5 million and 30 full and part-time staff.


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