When parents in School District 126 in Alsip, Ill., found out that their Champions contract was not being renewed for the next school year, they took to the streets—and the internet.
After hearing in early May of the district’s decision to pursue a different before-and-after school care provider, concerned Alsip parents created a Facebook group to discuss and organize meetings. They also began showing up to school board meetings in Champions t-shirts to voice their support of the program. For five weeks, the group met regularly.
In a matter of ten days, an online petition to keep Champions in School District 126 collected over 200 signatures.
“This is a group of concerned parents from School District 126 who want to keep the Champions program in our schools,” stated the online petition. “The parents and children of Stony Creek, Lane, and Hazelgreen schools love the impeccable care Champions provides to our kids.”
Parents rallied to keep the program in their district. Their efforts culminated on June 11, when 60 children and parents showed up at the school board meeting with hand-made protest signs. After giving a presentation about how much Champions means to the parents of Alsip, the school board voted to keep the program in school district 126.
“The parents of District 126 really believe in the Champions program because of the [site staff],” said Rukayat Kaffo, a parent who participated in the school board protests. “They are what make the curriculum work so well; they care for our children and treat them more like family members than just students.”
The site staff was overwhelmed by the positive feedback, and felt honored to be so appreciated by parents.
“The support has been such an incredible feeling and testament to what we do every day impacting the lives of children and families,” said Area Manager Tom Eckhardt. “The trust they put in us is wonderful and inspires us to do even more for the children.”
“The first time we went before the school board it felt like we were David and they were Goliath,” said Rukayat. “But we were triumphant, and I am so thankful for all of the parents of District 126.”