By Catherine L. Tully
Schaumburg’s police and fire departments both work hard to ensure their community is informed on the latest issues by having strong “public education” programs. These range from one-time events to ongoing programming and work with everyone from businesses to parents and children.
Fred Scholpp, Logistics Coordinator for the Schaumburg Fire Department, says there are a wide variety of programs used to reach out to the public that are developed to be enjoyable as well as educational.
One example is the “safety trailer” that travels to local schools to teach children how to avoid smoke in a fire as well as how to exit a burning building safely. In addition to fire safety programming at schools, high school students can choose working with the fire department as a way fulfill their 20-hour “share program” requirement for graduation.
Adult education programs include a “Citizen’s Fire Academy” for those over 18. Offered once a year, this course allows residents an insider’s look at the life of a firefighter as they learn the special skills needed — the culmination of which has them actually putting out a real fire, closely supervised by fire department personnel. The department has also put together a high-rise evacuation program for businesses.
The Schaumburg Police Department has its own Citizen’s Police Academy, and has been in operation since 1996. Twice a year adults can sign up for the 12-week session with classes meeting every Wednesday evening for three hours. Different topics are covered each week ranging from patrol operations to investigations — even a K-9 unit. The classes range from between 25 to 65 people. Chief of Operations Brian Howerton points out that participants often find it “enlightening” to see how the department really works.
Another program that has been getting a lot of attention is the “Crime-Free, Multi-Housing Project.” This program is for building owners, and gives them information on how to keep their rental properties safe by utilizing readily available tools such as background checks.
The department also participates in the “National Night Out” program, an evening in which residents of neighborhoods are encouraged to organize block parties to get to know one another; police and other city representatives also come out and talk with participants about neighborhood watch programs and other suggestions to keep their neighborhoods safe. Howerton stresses that keeping the lines of communication open with residents and building relationships and partnerships with the community are key elements in crime prevention.
In the summer, a week-long safety program for four- and five-year-old children bring the two departments together to teach them about “stranger danger.” At the departments’ yearly open houses, the community is invited in to tour the facilities and meet the men and women who serve them.
District Library Invites
Teens to Participate
By DJ Janezick
It’s the social heart and intellectual core of a community. A truly democratic institution, open to all, regardless of race, creed or economic standing. It isn’t glamorous, flashy or even “cool.” No sell-out crowd has ever given it a standing ovation. It rarely makes headlines.
Nonetheless, day in, day out, year after year, for generation upon generation it quietly goes about its business — educating, entertaining, bringing people together. It sparks imagination and fosters dreams. It’s a custodian of knowledge that gently nurtures progress. Its impact on countless lives can be subtle or dramatic, and it’s the one establishment that above all — beyond politics, fashions or trends — represents the cultural and intellectual pulse of a civilized society. And, as the caretaker of knowledge in an age of information, it’s always on the cutting edge of data and communication technology.
What is it? It’s a library.
In Schaumburg, a community with an ever-growing business sector, a large and diverse population, and vast informational needs, the Schaumburg Township District Library circulates up to two million items a year with nearly a million visitors. It’s the second-largest public library in Illinois, supporting more than 136,000 residents in parts of Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Roselle, Schaumburg, Streamwood and more. Fully modernized and upgraded, SPTL is a vibrant, active leader in the community — a far cry from the common stereotype of dusty shelves and staid demeanor.
One of the biggest challenges for any library is harvesting the energy and imagination of local teens, who often need outlets for their creativity in a constructive, social environment. For them, the STDL has unique, fun programs that help them interact, socialize and learn. According to Michael Madden, Schaumburg Township District Library’s Director, these programs have generated great interest among teens.
“Amy Alessio, our teen librarian, has been doing a great job,” says Madden. “She works closely with them to create programs that they are interested in.”
One of STDL’s most innovative and successful programs has been Teen Invasion. Launched in 2002, Teen Invasion is an award-winning, summer event that provides incentives for teens involved in a variety of activities. “We have a Teen Advisory Board,” said Madden, “who listens to teens to keep them involved in these programs. By going to museums or theaters, reading books and participating in activities, they can earn tickets to a drawing rewarding their efforts with gift certificates to local retailers, free passes to movies, local games and more.” Other activities include a DJ Night, video games, anime and manga drawing classes, board games, a writing club, movies, and summer barbecue. Online, there is even a Teen Virtual Coffeehouse, with trivia games and prizes, which recently, for example, featured a Harry Potter Brain Bender Challenge.
While the focus of teen programs is on fun and learning, in the long run, the Schaumburg Township District Library remains a trusted partner enriching the lives of area teenagers and creating everlasting bonds within the community.
Schaumburg Township District Library