5341 W. Cermak Road
The Children's Center of Cicero-Berwyn
Phone: (708) 222-4503
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
Cicero is an incorporated town in Cook County’s Southwest suburbs that transcends its borders into Chicago’s “Little Village/ La Villita” community. We are a community of 83,891 people and over 10 % (9794) of its population is comprised of children under the age of five. While we may be La Villita’s little sister, our rapidly growing population and statewide noted community efforts keep us from being any lesser known.
Cicero’s All Our Kids Early Childhood Network has been facilitating collaboration among community providers to better serve young children and their families for over ten years. In 2011, AOK’s community assessment reported that only 5 percent of children between the ages of 3- 5 were enrolled in preschool. The findings were presented to ISBE and resulted in additional funding for 800 more preschool slots in Cicero, raising that 5 percent to nearly 30 percent.
In 2012, AOK combined its efforts with the Cicero Youth Task Force’s (CYTF) Early Childhood Committee to ensure a more efficient and relational means of communication among early childhood providers, which consequently, results in a more competent system of supports for our families. In addition to these blended efforts, Cicero also integrated with the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) in the community. Based on shared missions and agendas, these 3 entities have merged together to assess, identify, and execute as champions for early childhood in Cicero. Striving towards true, collective impact, our efforts have earned Cicero recognition from the Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. In early 2014, Cicero was selected as one of 6 “Innovation Zones” in the Illinois Race to the Top initiative to receive additional funding to aid in our goal to continue to increase preschool enrollment. Being identified as a community with strong foundations of collaboration in its history has reinforced Cicero’s Early Childhood Collaboration. Our network has illustrated resilience as we continue to grow, adapt to the changes around us, and value the voices of the stakeholders that comprise us.
What resources are necessary to replicate this approach?
- Committed partners
- Community Assessment completed by community partners
- Shared mission and agenda