Minister Ron Howell, from Metropolitan Community Church, shares his concerns over Gov. Rauner's proposed budget cuts which threaten vital social service programs provided by community organizations like "The Children's Place".
For the past three years Metropolitan Community Church has had the pleasure of hosting the summer day camp program for a very dynamic organization called The Children's Place. During this time, our Faith Community has grown extremely fond of the children served by this organization, who like other children during the summer...just want to play and have fun. For this very special group of children and their families, programs like the summer day camp held at my church are extremely important because it serves as a very welcome distraction to the challenges they face throughout the year.
For more than two decades The Children’s Place has been the leading provider of children’s services for families living with HIV/AIDS in the Chicagoland area. Founded in August 1991, The Children's Place has created programs and services to meet the needs of children and families challenged by illness and extreme poverty. This organization was founded out of a very specific need; when many infants and young children were neglected, abandoned or left parentless because of their own and/or their parents' HIV infection, a group of individuals came together to open a home for these vulnerable children.
The great work that The Children's Place does on behalf of over 600 families is now in jeopardy. If their state funding is eliminated, then the already extremely fragile lives of these children and their families will be made incredibly more difficult.
If Governor Rauner's proposed budget cuts are approved and The Children's Place is forced to stop services or programs, who will open their hearts and their doors to provide the essential resources these vulnerable children and families need?
As Youth Minister of Metropolitan Community Church, I hold a very special place in my heart for children. I have had the pleasure of meeting the children, families and staff members at The Children's Place and I can say without equivocation, that it would be a tremendous loss and injustice to the community, if state funding for such a vital organization is eliminated.
These cuts are being described as a necessary tough love but what is even tougher are the real life consequences of what will happen to vulnerable children and families who will lose programs and services that are essential to their survival.
I strongly urge Governor Rauner to reconsider his decision to eliminate state funding for The Children's Place and organizations like it that are greatly needed in our community!
Ronald W. Howell
Metropolitan Community Church