Chicago's First Lady opens up about the upcoming 20th anniversary of her After School Matters Program, the kids that benefit from it and the legacy that her husband will leave behind.
Though her husband will be stepping down next year, Chicago's First Lady said she wants to continue in her volunteer position with the organization she founded.
"I'd love to stay. I'm planning on staying. Eventually, absolutely there'll be new leadership, but there are things that I'd like to accomplish with this program and I certainly would like to at least stay through the 20th anniversary," Maggie Daley said Wednesday at a gala honoring her "After School Matters" initiative.
Daley said she created the program because she couldn’t find cultural activities for her two teenagers. Nineteen years later, the non-profit that started with nine different programs has grown to more than 900 programs and 20,000 opportunities for the city’s teens.
"Teens get out of school pretty early. They have a big gap and we can fill that," she said.
After School Matters is now among the largest after-school initiatives in the nation, providing opportunities in the visual and performing arts, sciences, athletics and technology to teenagers in Chicago. The goals are to provide students with positive relationships, marketable job skills and exposure to career and educational opportunities throughout the city.
"There is so much we can be proud of in Chicago. And it’s not just one singular person who has done everything. Rich and I both believe that," she said. "It’s a great, big community effort."
And while someone new will become the city's chief executive next spring, Mrs. Daley said she feels optimistic about the city’s future.
"The things I think Rich has accomplished will be carried on, because we have the best people in the world that live in Chicago," she said.