Middle-school students illustrate their aspirations for a strong neighborhood

Doors of Opportunity

(Rockford, Ill. - 06/19/2015) – Middle-school students from Ellis Heights and Midtown District neighborhoods expressed their aspirations for a strong neighborhood through art projects during a two-day Youth Action Summit as part of United Way of Rock River Valley's annual Day of Action activities. The workshop is part of a global United Way Day of Action, which brings people together to LIVE UNITED and take action to address a variety of challenges in their communities.

United Way, in collaboration with Northwest Community Center, Patriot's Gateway Community Center, Rockford Area Arts Council and Youth Build, provided local students with a safe and healthy forum to discuss challenges in their neighborhoods and to share aspirations for a strong neighborhood. Students were encouraged to paint, draw, and write the things they would like to change in their community and then to decorate a door with their illustrations. The final art project, entitled "Doors of Opportunity", will be on display at Rockford Art Museum June 22 – August 24.

"These doors represent how young people view the future of their neighborhood," says Ashley Burks, United Way Community Impact Manager. "What we see is that some kids want a community free of violence and alcohol. Others see a community free of drugs. Really, what we're seeing is a lot of children want a community that is united and for people to get along with one another."

The Youth Action Summit is a direct result of United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which identified the need to create more youth empowerment opportunities. The "Doors of Opportunity" exhibit symbolizes the possibilities that young people bring to the progression of their community. The public is invited to visit the exhibit at Rockford Art Museum, June 22 – August 24, and to share their own aspiration for a strong neighborhood using this template.

Visit United Way Day of Action to learn more.


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.