ELITE Youth Outreach

ELITE High School Outreach

The original ELITE High School Program was founded in 2006 as an 11-week business “boot camp” for high school sophomores and juniors in Peoria, IL. Since that time, ELITE has provided more than 1,000 youth with part-time jobs that not only give them spending money but also keep them occupied and off the street. The results are enhanced self-confidence, valuable work experience and an incentive to stay off the streets.

Many of our students not only secure gainful employment; they also experience enhanced academic success. The majority of ELITE participants experience a measurable increase in their GPA, with a corresponding drop in disciplinary referrals and truancy.


Based on the success of the ELITE High School program, Peoria’s Public School District asked ELITE to pilot a program that would similarly serve at-risk elementary students. Established in 2011, ELITE K-8 is now an “every-day-in-school” program designed to teach Junior High students about the power of respect and the value of an education.

Home visits begin in the summer. Both parents/guardians and students are required to sign a “Code of Conduct Covenant.” There is a strict dress code and a high value placed on conduct and effort. ELITE’s focus on bringing respect back into the classroom is proving successful! Once ELITE is introduced into a school, that school’s culture generally changes from one of chaos to one of mutual and consistent respect for ALL people, ALL the time.

ELITE Re-Entry

ELITE Re-Entry is a soft-skills jobs training program designed to equip ex-felons with the mindset and the discipline they need to succeed in the working world. As part of their training, the men and women in this program also comprise the ELITE “non-confrontational security detail” at community events. Most people in the community now recognize, respect and appreciate these “yellow shirts” of ELITE.

ELITE works with employers in the community to help educate and facilitate job opportunities for their participants.

Through practical training, ELITE Re-Entry classes prepare the individual in every aspect of successful employment…from preparing for the job interview to being successful once they’ve been hired. The ELITE staff understands the handicap of having a record when it comes to landing a job. They will walk that road with ex-offenders, matching them with employers in a spirit of mutual RESPECT.

ELITE Game Changers

In response to a rash of violent crime by even younger offenders, we developed ELITE Street Game Changers in the summer of 2020.

Vetted graduates from the ELITE RE-Entry program are matched with young men, who have been in Peoria’s gang life, and were looking for a way out. These ELITE Re-Entry graduates participated in an intense 50 hours of professional development training.

The training included using outside presenters and experts in their fields, who introduced the men and women to basic life skills, the rewards of positive attitude and positive behavior, anger management, self-respect, self-motivation, anti-bullying, correcting self-sabotaging behavior and the good feeling that comes with cleaning up their own little corner of the world with public service projects.

ELITE Game Changers objective is to substitute for the absentee father or support the responsible adults in their lives. They do this by maintaining close contact with the youth and holding them accountable and hopefully keeping them off of the mean streets and out of gang life.

With consistent and controlled interaction, these ELITE populations teach, support and learn from each other.

Program Results


  • 1,600 ELITE-Certified graduates
  • Disciplinary referrals down 20%
  • Unexcused absences down 10%
  • Tardiness down 15%
  • 67% of participants increased their GPA


  • Disciplinary referrals down 63%
  • Unexcused absences down 47%
  • Tardiness down 57%
  • ISAT Math scores +3.5%
  • ISAT Reading scores +2.4%
  • NWEA Math scores +4.5%
  • NWEA Reading scores +4.3%


  • More than 120 ex-offenders have completed the Re-Entry program.
  • Recidivism rate well below the national average of 70%.
  • ELITE’s Re-Entry’s mandatory “community service” program component is described by the participants as “the single most life-changing activity of the course.”
  • Participants work as members of a non-confrontational, all volunteer, security detail during many of the area’s outdoor fairs and festivals. Since 2008 there have been no youth incidents and no arrests at these events.