A Letter from Susan Reyna-Guerrero
Updated: Jun 21
Last Friday morning, while the rain drenched Chicago’s streets with one downpour after another, Covenant House Illinois welcomed 100+ guests to celebrate the grand opening of our new campus in East Garfield Park. Although the weather outside might have been dreary and damp, the atmosphere within our amazing new space was nothing short of dazzling.
I was honored to be joined at the podium by Covenant House International President and CEO Kevin Ryan, as well as a number of special guest speakers and dignitaries, including U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Danny K. Davis, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and Chicago's First Lady Amy Eshleman.
It was incredibly inspiring to see so many elected officials, community leaders, program partners, and key supporters come together to celebrate the progress CHIL has made to date and to help us mark the transition to the public phase of the Campaign for Youth Potential.
One of the highlights of the event – and a moment I know I’ll never forget – was a very special performance by 23-year-old CHIL youth, Shauwnique. A student, model, and singer-songwriter, Shauwnique treated guests to two songs of her own composition, and by the time she had finished singing the entire audience was on their feet and clapping along.
I am humbled by the outpouring of support and good wishes CHIL received, both during the ribbon-cutting celebration and in the days following our event. What's critical now is that we effectively harness that goodwill and positive exposure to create even more of the transformative programming and services we know our young people need to find success.
In my remarks to our guests, I mentioned that this is only the beginning. I want to repeat that message here today – the future is before us, and with it arrives opportunities – to grow, to innovate, to collaborate, and to flourish. I know that CHIL can be the changemaker that youth experiencing homelessness in Chicago need, and I have every confidence in our community's sustained support to help us affect that change.
Thank you for being here, at the beginning, and for embarking on this next chapter with us.