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Community Outreach

Creating parks, neighborhoods and recreational venues where families feel “safe” continues to be a priority for the Department of Community Outreach.  More commonly known as ELITE, this department works to enrich the lives of local residents through empowerment and job skills training.

Creating parks, neighborhoods and recreational venues where families feel “safe” continues to be a priority for the Department of Community Outreach.  These activities not only serve the community, but they also give RE-Entry participants a chance to see what it feels like to “give back” and to experience what it’s like to be among the “good guys” for a change. To that end, the partnership with local law enforcement agencies to help maintain order at many Central Illinois venues will continue, such as March Madness, Holy Family Heritage Days, Heart of Illinois Fair, Main Street Mile, Gus Macker, and Peoria Marathon.

Staff is excited to explore new ways to use the ELITE model to improve the Peoria community.  The new designation as the “Department of Community Outreach” will help this team and the District serve more people in a more efficient way.  By re-inventing some of its “tried and true” programming and building on it with new offerings, staff will be in a great position to truly reach out and serve the community.

ELITE Schools

Building on the successes of Carl Cannon’s ELITE curriculum in local schools, the Park District will be enriching its current programming with elements of this curriculum.  After school programs, summer camps, and other recreation offerings will include training by Cannon and implementation of elements of the ELITE model.  District staff will also participate in professional training to learn how to use the techniques and tenets of ELITE in their programming.

Click here to view the current ELITE High School schedule.


Carl Cannon and his staff and volunteers will continue to refine and expand our ELITE RE-Entry Program through new partnerships with other social service agencies.  2017 will feature a new collaboration with ICC and other community/business leaders to create a local “manufacturing bridge” to lead qualified participants directly into gainful employment and/or internships once they have mastered the ELITE “soft skills” and the GED components.

Click here to view the current ELITE RE-Entry schedule.

ELITE Families

In an effort to support and serve struggling families, the department will also implement a pilot program through its RE-Entry program called ELITE Families.  Since the vast majority of people who come through Re-Entry are mothers and fathers themselves, the program will partner with The Antioch Group psychology practice to offer a series of classes that address issues such as behavior; discipline; nutrition; learning disabilities; addictions, communication skills, etc.  While the pilot will focus on the RE-Entry population for its ELITE Families, it is the department’s hope that the offerings will eventually expand to the wider parent population at other Peoria Park District locations such as Logan Recreation Center.