For more information contact:
Heidi at 589-5923
Carl Cannon, Peoria Park District
_Tim and Stacy talk with Carl Cannon of the ELITE Youth Program now part of Trewyn School. E.L.I.T.E. started as an offshoot of C.H.O.I.C.E.S. three years ago. Carl Cannon initiated his concept at Manual High School where he was teaching young people how to gain employment, how to communicate effectively, how to dress for success, and, basically, how to grow up. Three years after its implementation in three area schools, the E.L.I.T.E. program is now succeeding in nine area schools! The program now is in the middle schools so the benefits can begin even earlier for the children. Peoria, IL is now at a 35 year low in youth crime in the community. E.L.I.T.E. works because the concept originated as a simple way to communicate effectively, behave responsibly, and dress appropriately. Carl said, " We made it cool to be respectful. Simply said."
_ I was born and raised right here in the city of Peoria, IL, and so I'll tell my kids I lived in what a lot of people would refer to as inner city ghettos, Taft homes, Warner homes, Harrison homes. I lived in those housing projects within our community. One thing that I was taught early in life is that anything worth having, you have to work for. So, early in life I had become a competitor. I was going to be the best at something. Not everything. But I was going to be the best at something. For me, it turned out to be athletics. I excelled. Because of that, I had the chance to go to college. I admit today that I went for the wrong reasons. I got there and found out it was about academics. I was kicked out of school and I had to make a decision: what am I going to do with my life? Am I going to join my friends who lived in those projects? A lot of them were going to jail. A lot of them are gone today, violently gone. Or, do I find another alternative? I’m a retired military officer. I took some of the precepts, some of the concepts, and some of the discipline that I had in the military and applied it to a new career that the military gave me, which was law enforcement, specifically corrections. Everything I do I have been the best. In the military, I was one of the best corrections officers they had. In one of the Federal Bureau Prisons, I was celebrated at the highest levels of the Department of Justice. It was after these celebrations that I started in CH.O.I.C.E.S. I was good at keeping them in, it just became more important to keep them out. That’s what I’m good at today. I’m about helping young people make good choices.