East Side Aligned

East Side Aligned (ESA) is one movement with many voices, powered by the unrelenting desire for children and youth in the East St. Louis School District 189 footprint to have equitable opportunities throughout their childhood and beyond.

In 2015, over 400 community stakeholders (half of which were youth) worked together to develop a bold agenda for young people. This agenda, known as The Roadmap, includes more than 180 strategies to improve the readiness and well-being of young people. Fast forward, ESA has become a vibrant movement, driven by a constellation of collaborative groups committed to creating the conditions for young people to thrive.

The ESA movement has facilitated transformational change, including:

  • Driving statewide policy change, resulting in 1,800 students receiving safe transportation to and from school.
  • Training more than 1,000 people in trauma-informed practices, resulting in policy and practice changes—within education, housing, law enforcement, juvenile justice, health, and social service systems—that prioritizes well-being, transitions from punitive to restorative, and contributes to building a thriving community.
  • Increasing access to high-quality early childhood and out-of-school time programs, supports, and opportunities for more than 2,000 children and youth.

The highlights above provide a glimpse of the impact the ESA movement is having in the lives of people who live and work within the East St. Louis area. At the cornerstone of this work are a set of core beliefs:

  • Resident Leadership and Engagement: We believe in residents, especially young people, being integral leaders and decision-makers in their own lives and community.
  • Collaborative Principles and Practices: We achieve more when we come together, pool our resources, and assist one another.
  • Public Accountability and Continuous Improvement: Community efforts work best with transparency and ongoing communication.

Lead Intermediary Organization

United Way of Greater St. Louis

Region Contact Information

Areas of Expertise

Prioritized Focus Sectors

Key Successes

2-Year Goals

Community Updates:

Trauma-Informed Practices Webinar

Representatives from East St. Louis School District 189 and Township High School District 214 in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago shared how they have implemented trauma-informed practices in their districts in partnership with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and community partners.