Tondalaya Nelseon Bio

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As a life-long South Sider, I understand the issues facing our district. I currently live in the heart of Englewood and witness, firsthand, every day how lack of education and economic opportunity lead to crime and the deterioration of our neighborhoods. I know I can make a difference because I have seen how working together, we can tackle anything and build a better future for ourselves and our children.

I am the mother of 5 children and when I saw that the schools were not doing enough to teach our children, I started volunteering and now Co-Chair the Parent Advisory Council and serve on the Local Student Council with the goal of making our local schools accountable. Through increased parent involvement, Harold Washington Elementary School is now teaching 2 grades ahead. We can duplicate this success at all Chicago schools and I will work hard in Springfield to make this a priority.

Like many in our district, my life has not been easy but I have never let this get me down. I worked for many years in the hospitality industry—waiting tables, catering, bartending—and worked my way to management positions. I don’t just talk about the benefits of a good education, I am walking the talk and am nearing graduation from college with a degree that will prepare me for a career in healthcare administration.

In addition to playing a leading role in school improvement, I am helping people in our neighborhoods learn valuable job skills and provide the tools they need to develop those skills. At ATEDY, I teach seniors, the disabled and our youth the computer skills necessary to get a good paying job and at Free Geek, I repair used computers and make them available at very low cost to those who could not otherwise afford a computer. I see every day how these types of programs make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. One of my priorities as your Representative in Springfield will be to make programs like these available on a broader scale.

Education and economic opportunity are the keys to change in our neighborhoods. We need to make our schools accountable, provide job skills and attract businesses to the 6th District so our children will have the bright future they deserve. With your support, I will work tirelessly to make that happen. I appreciate your attention to this important issue and look forward to representing you in Springfield.

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