‘I love the community feel of Cicero’

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Without a shadow of a doubt, Patricia Sturdevant’s heart belongs in Cicero. As one of eight siblings, Sturdevant grew up in Cicero with no plans of relocating any time soon. “I love Cicero. There is so much to do here, more than when I was a child and I just love the community feel,” said Sturdevant, director of special events and director of the Cicero Community Center. With events like summer in the parks, the literacy program, summer camps, father and daughter dance, Mexican Independence Day festival, Sturdevant, along with a team of collaborators, is constantly thinking up ways to keep the Cicero community engaged. Lawndale Bilingual News recently sat down with Sturdevant, who has spent the last 12 years working for the Town of Cicero and expressed her love for her community.

My mother moved to Cicero when she was 14 years old and as one of eight siblings, I remember constantly being out and about. We were a close knit family and although there weren’t nearly as many programs as there are now, I just always loved that sense of community. There is so much more for the youth to do now and as director of special events we try to offer as many free programs for families because we know how challenging and how costly it can be for big families to do excursions. There are days when we see over 100 kids playing basketball and having fun, which makes everything worth it. It’s a great feeling to see the smiles on their face when they are having fun and enjoying their time. President [Larry] Dominick does a great job trying to keep the youth involved by giving them programs and events.

Best Part
Just seeing the changes that have occurred under President Dominick’s leadership and what changes he’s put into place the last 15 years is amazing. To watch adolescent, grow up into young adults is what makes my job worth it, too. To see them grow up to become passionate individuals, to watch them respect themselves and their community, to see a sense of community is what all makes my job worth it. Nothing gives us greater joy than to create programs that give teens confidence and a sense of safety. Seeing the different kids who come in here and seeing their attitude change…we have watched these kids grow up.

I want people to know that President Dominick has truly given his all to Cicero. Our after school programs, our literacy programs, our programs for senior citizens…we offer so much to our residents. The old ways of people seeing Cicero as dangerous, unclean, unsafe have passed. President Dominick that has implemented several programs and Cicero has created a gang task force and we have created programs that truly elevates Cicero. Cicero has made tremendous changes in the last 20 years and people need to come out and see it.

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