Change could be on its way to Rockford, and it starts with community meetings like the one held this afternoon at Ellis Arts Academy.
'Transform Rockford' is quickly gaining speed thanks to growing community support. The west Rockford elementary school's gym and auditorium were both standing room only for the second of several public forums.
"We feel what's wrong, but we don't have on paper what's wrong, so if we can see the numbers, and see the huge gap between where we could be and where we are, that'll give us steps and a process towards getting there," says Mark West, a member of the Transform Rockford analyst panel.
West was one of the speakers who talked about the five areas Rockford needs to see the most growth, Community safety, education, economics, quality of life, and health and well-being
"A lot of out economic education and job related issues stem directly into our health, people who are healthier are happier," says West.
Currently, Rockford ranks low for health and wellness compared to other cities, 181st out of 189.
West says, fixing that number might require building better sources for fresh foods in our city's current food deserts, lowering the number of children living in poverty, and helping people quit smoking.
An audience member, Brandon Godboldt, summed it up with his own version of a saying coined by John F Kennedy 53 years ago.
"If we're going to overcome the challenges of the community, we're going to have to ask ourselves, 'What can we do for Transform Rockford? How can we get involved? What can I do to help move this forward?' Instead of always wondering, 'How is this going to benefit me? what's in it for me? how are you going to help me?
'Transform Rockford' leaders hope to take all of today's information and use it to plan courses of action to be discussed at future meetings, the dates of which are listed below.
Monday, January 13
Noon- 2 p.m.
633 Ranger Street, Rockford
Thursday, January 16
Noon- 2 p.m.
2nd Congregational Church
318 N. Church St, Rockford
Saturday, January 18th
6 - 8 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Center
1536 S. Main Street, Rockford
Tuesday, January 21
6- 8 p.m.
Boys &Girls Club- Carlson Unit
7406 Evans Avenue, Machesney Park
Wednesday, January 22
10 a.m.- noon
Boys & Girls Club- Blackhawk Unit
330 15th Avenue, Rockford
Monday, January 27
6- 8 p.m.
Boys & Girls Club- Flodin Unit
1000 Mill Road, Rockford
Thursday, January 30
Rockford Art Museum
711 N Main Street, Rockford
These dates, times, and locations are subject to change. Even more dates and location are yet to come, visit transformrockford.org for more information.