Youth services legacy

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Megan Traficano is Oak Park's new township youth services director. She comes to the job with worthy credentials in social work and education. The Oak Park native also comes with a legacy to build on.

Going back to the 1970s, this sometimes under-the-radar position has been filled by two extraordinary advocates for our young people — especially young people living on the fringes, not fully connected. 

Joe Savino was old school, hands on, knew everybody, had a good word for everybody. John Williams, just retired, had a bigger picture in a more complex era. He's the person who created the Interventionist program that took a trio of social workers into the parks, who answered the phone when police or a school social worker called about a kid they worried over. Williams is also the person who brought concepts of restorative justice into the mainstream in these villages.

Traficano knows this history and, in this week's interview with our Tim Inklebarger, brings it up to date with her experience with young people and social media — rising anxiety and the still real lack of adult connection.

We welcome her, her new ideas, and her appreciation of the complexities and possibilities.

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