Old Neighborhood Club hosts successful youth event

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The Old Neighborhood Italian American Club staged its 30th annual Anti-Drug and Alcohol/Responsible Behavior Seminar on May 10.

Local grade-school students from the Bridgeport, Chinatown and Canaryville neighborhoods take part in the event each year. This year’s seminar was attended by 8th-grade students from St. Jerome Catholic School, Bridgeport Catholic Academy and St. Gabriel Catholic School.

Led by Co-Chair Michael Rubio, a panel that included local alderpersons addressed social media and online safety awareness along with the benefits of community involvement and the development of leadership skills. “Chicago P.D.” actor LaRoyce Hawkins and producer Brian Luce talked about the dangers of street-gang activity and the fallout of drug-related criminal behavior.

This year, the seminar introduced a written-essay competition that asked participants to describe a situation in which they said no to a negative offer they didn’t want to say no to. The winner received a $100 gift.

Over the last 30 years, the program has involved more than 200 guest speakers and more than 5,000 students. Experts from the drug and alcohol industry, law enforcement representatives, elected officials, and various professionals have teamed up to inform students of the catastrophic effects of poor decision-making.

Program founder and Co-Chair Richard Catezone retired after this year’s seminar. “His dedication and commitment to our schools has definitely left a positive impact on a generation of young students,” says Rubio, who has co-chaired the program for eight years and will continue in that capacity.

The Old Neighborhood Italian American Club is located at 3031 S. Shields Ave. in Chicago. (312-326-6420)


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