Because ELITE receives so much support from the many communities in Central Illinois, we strive to give back by serviing our communities in several ways. ELITE sponsors and affiliates with several groups that serve a broad range of people in our area such as the ELITE Christmas Chior, the ELITE Re-Entry Program, the Peoria Area Track & Field Club, ELITE Pulses of Hope, ELITE Certified Events, and the City of Peoria Youth Commission.

Christmas Choir
Every Christmas season, ELITE gathers students who have participated in the high school spring program and organizes the ELITE Christmas Chior. Students learn a variety of songs related to Christmas such as classic carols, contemporary holiday favorites, and inspirational songs that lift the spirit. The students travel to many locations in the surrounding area and spread a message of hope and peace as a way of serving and ministering to their communities. Students from all ELITE high schools can participate, which makes the chior a great opportunity for students from different backgrounds to build friendships with one another.

christmas choir

Peoria Area Track & Field Club
The partnership between the ELITE Youth Outreach Program and the Peoria Area Track and Field Club is a collaboration designed to provide community youth an opportunity to develop healthy habits while also providing a method for controlling behavior.  Studies show how students who engage in some type of physical activity are less apt to be involved in destructive behaviors, which can contribute to the rising number of juveniles incarcerated in our nation’s prisons.

The spirit of track, for example, allows students time for independent reflection while giving their body physiological benefits.  It is the goal of the ELITE/PATFC partnership to instill tools in our youth empowering them to maintain control over their emotional well-being, using the sport of track as the outlet to vent any lingering frustration the student may have endured. Following are some research highlights as well as the catalyst factors driving the collaboration.

An exercise program targeting physical and emotional well-being.
• 1 in 5 children in the U.S. are overweight with 15% of students aged 6-19 being seriously overweight
• The percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has tripled since the early 1970’s
• Researchers found that lowered self-esteem was associated with being overweight in youth as young as five
• Children with obesity, ages 10–13, are reported to have a 70% likelihood of obesity persisting into adult years
*Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
• 1,333 youth arrests in Peoria in 2008
• 66%  of the offenders were male, 81% African American
• Of those arrests, battery related crimes contributed to 50% of the top 6 arrest offenses
*The Peace Project – The Children’s Home

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ELITE Certified Events
ELITE works with community events such as the Heart of Illinois Fair, Steamboat Days, and Heritage Days–venues that were shut down a few years ago due to many arrests. After ELITE moved in to help monitor these events and implement ELITE standards for conduct there have been zero arrests to date. The following are ELITE standards that must be agreed to by all people wishing to enter an ELITE Certified Event:

Code of Conduct Rules For Those Ages 19 and Under
• I have not and will not consume alcohol or drugs prior to or during an event.
• I will not commit any illegal act or possess any illegal objects.
• I will meet the appropriate dress code for the event.
• I will speak to and treat all attendees with respect.
• I will conduct myself as a lady or gentleman at all times.
• I will report inappropriate behavior to a chaperone or officer.
• No basketball of any sort at admission
• Absolutely no horseplay
• Absolutely no running
• I will make an effort to participate and have a good time.
• Any violation of these rules will follow in immediate removal from the event with no refund of entry fee.

Dress Code For Those Ages 19 and Under
• All pants must be worn at the natural waist. No undergarments, including thongs, will be visible.
• No clothing will be worn which signifies gang involvement, including solid color t-shirts.
• No chains shall be worn hanging from any clothing item.
• Pajamas are not allowed
• Shoes are required
• No do-rags
• No trench coats
• No worn hoodies
• No book bags or backpacks are allowed inside
• No clothing will be so short or tight fitting as to be suggestive or revealing. This includes shirts, skirts, dresses, shorts, and pants.
• Clothing will not display any inappropriate or offensive pictures, slogans, or symbols
• Any violation of these rules will follow in your immediate removal from the event with no refund of entry fee

The Peoria Park District's ELITE Youth Outreach program takes at risk youth through a powerful and wonderfully life-transforming program.