Past Involvement

I’ve worked on many different projects with a plethora of people and organizations. The following are some of the relevant experiences I bring on my campaign for Mayor of Park Ridge, Illinois.

From 1993-1998, I worked as a special ed and science educator at Lozano Elementary in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago where I focused on developing and expanding extracurricular activities aimed at gang prevention and school retention. Working with a diverse group of children, I learned to cater my skills to every student’s needs. If given the opportunity, I would also like to cater to Cook county citizens’ needs by implementing programs that focus on environmental cleanliness as well as greater access to clean water throughout our county.

Mr. Zavala with Miguel Del Valle and concerned citizens attending a meeting to discuss after-school programs for youth.

The Logan Square, Wicker Park, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods, among others, hold a very dear place in my heart and mind. From 2000-2002, I worked with then-Alderman Vilma Colon and Michael Scott of the Chicago Park District to advocate for safer parks and litter-free boulevards. As treasurer of the Unity Park project, I aided in expanding, cleaning, and protecting green spaces in Logan Square while working with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association to get rid of gang violence and involvement. Roberto Maldonado and I collaborated on issues to advocate for medicare for seniors and provide after-school art programs for our youth.

Mayor Daley and Mr. Zavala attending an event at Harold Washington Library

During the same time frame, I worked with M.E.D.A. (Mexicanos en el Exterior Desarrollando Apoyo-Mexicans Abroad Developing Support), a non-profit organization dedicated helping those in need. As Assistant Administrator, I did my best to feeding the poor, providing shelter to the homeless, and clothing those without the funds to help themselves. Some of the biggest issues during the 2002-2004 years regarded immigrant rights, community development initiatives, and administering technology services. While I worked with M.E.D.A., I acted as a grant writer to advocate for those we served, which motivated me to work with local business to donate over 10,000 computers to impoverished communities in the Chicagoland area.

Community activist, former Consul General of Mexico, and Jorge Zavala

Advocating for the people with former Consul General of Mexico (center).

The experiences I gained with M.E.D.A. encouraged me to continue working with students. I taught with the City Colleges of Chicago from 2003-2005 where I helped students accomplish their learning goals. At the same time, I also motivated students to continue their studies even through hardships that often included working full-time to support their families and staying away from gangs and drugs. If I continue to have the support of Cook county, I will continue to advocate for basic human rights as well as educational programs.

Through these experiences, I’ve learned that only through active engagement in our communities can we make the changes that benefit our citizens. In order to continue helping those who cannot always help themselves, I served with the Department of Interfaith Housing in Park Ridge as the 1st Latino appointed. During this time, I noticed that natural disasters, often floods, unexpected rain and snow storms, as well as fires, were major causes for the loss of homes. At times, insurances would help with the disasters, but often they would look the other way in the most dire of situations. These injustices motivated me to run for alderman in Park Ridge to find solutions both on a local and state level to these problems.

David Ramos of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Jorge Zavala, and Barry Croell working together to get funds from the federal government to help victims of natural disasters in Cook County.

Additionally, I’ve worked with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security’s Exec. Director, David Ramos, to get thousands of dollars for victims of flooding and other natural disasters in Cook County. Currently, I am working side by side with leaders, entrepreneurs, community organizers, and VPs from FEMA, among other organizations and institutions, to give our citizens the rights they deserve.

2 decades of experiences are enough motivation to continue advocating for a clean, safe environment that caters to citizen needs and wants. Together, the residents of Park Ridge and I can work together to share in a vision of cleaner water and greener parks, safer walks to school, supplemental funds for disaster victims, and the opportunity to provide relief to those in need.