By ANNE LUNDE
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rosemont wants to give all of its children equal opportunities for summer activities.
Thanks to Sue Leonis from the Leonis Group and her contacts in the Rosemont business community, the Rosemont Park District is able to make its Day Camp program experiences available to local kids whether they live in the Courts, the condos, the apartments or the Scott Street Subdivision.
The sponsorship program quietly makes it affordable to cover the special costs of camp activities, like trips, for about 50 or 60 children, said Rosemont Park Director Karen Stephens and Program Director Omar Camarillo.
Enrollment for this year’s summer session of seven weeks was about 151.
That includes students attending Rosemont School Dist. 78 south of Higgins-Devon, and Des Plaines Dist. 62 living north of Devon.
Children are identified through their teachers and school social workers.
A side benefit is that all the children in their age group get to know each other across the village. Park programming happens through the year at Lange Park, Dunne Park and Barry Rec Center and the Stephens Pool-Gym complex.
Leonis has contacts through Mayor Bradley Stephens’ corporate committee.
She had met Park Board President Rick Drehobl through his leadership in the Rosemont Helping Hand program.
She remembers she and Drehobl were brainstorming one day, when “Rick’s Cool Idea” emerged to get all the local village kids involved in summer camp.
Leonis approached businesses to sponsor sending kids to camp about three years ago.
This year’s sponsors include: Wintrust Financial; Christopher Burke Engineering; Randa Accessories Corporation; Chicago Dogs; Fashion Outlet Mall of Chicago; John Pitzaferro and Transnational Corporation; and Rosemont Exhibition Services.
Leonis says she really wants to recognize the sponsors who provide back-to-school backpacks for kids or Christmas presents.
They’ve raised about $25,000 or more every year.
“Mayor Brad Stephens believes in giving back. He’s done a great job bringing together his corporate CEOs,” Leonis added.
“The mayor has said no child will not go to summer camp if they need to… You see the kids. The (Barry) Rec Center is packed!” The funds help bring joy in other ways.