Project Acclaim to hold banquet

Joliet Slammers, Greater Joliet Area YMCA and Old Joliet Prison Preservation Coalition will be honored

Project Acclaim will honor the Joliet Slammers, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA, and the Old Joliet Prison Preservation Coalition at its annual honors and recognition banquet held on Nov. 7 at the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate, located at 15 S. Richards Street in Joliet.

The social hour (cash bar) will begin at 5 p.m. with the program and plated dinner with open seating beginning at 6 p.m.

The theme of this year’s banquet is Joliet Renaissance: Celebrating Our Rich History, Embracing Our Bright Future.

Reservations are $50 per person and can be made by mailing a check to P.O. Box 3799, Joliet, Illinois, 60436. Checks can be made out to “Project Acclaim” and should have “Banquet” written in the memo. The reservation deadline is Nov. 1

For more information, contact Nick Macris at or (815) 353-2178.

Since Project Acclaim's (formerly Project Pride) establishment in 1985, approximately 140 individuals and organizations have been inducted into the Hall of Pride.

The 2019 Hall of Pride Inductees are the Joliet Slammers and the Greater Joliet Area YMCA.

In addition to the Hall of Pride, Project Acclaim awards the Reverend James E. Allen Award for Service to the Community to an individual or group that upholds the values and mission of the organization.

The 2019 Reverend James E. Allen Award for Service to the Community recipient is the Old Joliet Prison Preservation Coalition.

Joliet Slammers, Hall of Pride Inductee

Will County’s only professional sports team, The Joliet Slammers, is committed to providing the Joliet area community with a major league entertainment experience at minor league prices.

DuPage Medical Group Field (formerly Silver Cross Field) opened in 2001 and seats 6,016 baseball fans.

As a City of Joliet property, the City has invested significantly in the ballpark in order to make it available as a multi-purpose community resource.

In addition to scheduled games, the ballpark had a very successful 2019 season hosting 350 additional events.

The Slammers name harkens back to the City’s history housing the Old Joliet Prison and nearby Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.

Replacing the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League, the Joliet Slammers now play in the Frontier League.

Following the 2012 season, the Slammers were purchased by Joliet Community Baseball & Entertainment, LLC.

Having been founded in 2011, the team has won two league championships in 2011 and 2018. In 2019, attendance numbers increased by 38 percent.

Greater Joliet Area YMCA, Hall of Pride Inductee

The Greater Joliet Area YMCA (“the Y”) has served the community for over 90 consecutive years.

With over 23,000 members, in four facilities, each local YMCA organization designs its programming to meet the needs of its individual community. In the greater Joliet area, that calling is the care and development of children.

Each day, nearly 1,000 children participate in before and after school child care at four Y branches as well as 33 sites at partnering schools in the area.

This year, nearly $1.5 million was invested in providing scholarship assistance to children, families and seniors who otherwise would not have been able to afford the “Y experience.”

As a cornerstone of the Y’s core values, “nobody is ever turned away due to the inability to pay," partners such as United Way of Will County, grantors, individuals, business donors, and internal operations allow the Y to cover membership and programming for over 8,000 children and families in the greater Joliet area.

The Y’s Teen Achiever’s Program was recently awarded the JTHS Superintendent’s Medallion.

In this grant-based program, students at Joliet Township High School and Plainfield South High School are guided on their path to graduating high school, attending college, and achieving career goals.

Since the program’s inception in 2005, over 90 percent of graduating participants advanced to institutions of higher learning.

As part of the Y’s commitment to the teaching of swimming, students from the Fairmont School District in Lockport received free swim lessons at the Y’s Smith Branch.

With the assistance of donors, each participant received expert instruction as well as a new swim suit.

Old Joliet Prison Preservation Coalition, Reverend James E. Allen Award for Service to the Community

For years, the Joliet Prison sat vacant, subject to rampant vandalism, including several acts of arson.

Attempts were made to find suitable options for reuse of the site by the Collins Street Task Force of concerned public and private leaders, but these efforts were stalled by the Great Recession of 2008.

Continued vandalism and destruction of the site led Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk to personally petition the state government to allow the City of Joliet to take control of the property in December of 2017.

Since then, the City looked to the Joliet Area Historical Museum to take a leadership role in operating tours at the site. In partnership with the City, the Museum identified a number of community partners to form a public/private partnership entity, The Old Joliet Prison Preservation Coalition.

To date, the Coalition’s work to reinvent the prison has culminated in over 6,500 volunteer hours, one million dollars in in-kind labor and donations, and nearly $200,000 in funds raised to benefit the site.

The prison revitalization movement has resulted in two Prison Break-In events, drawing over 5,000 paid guests; 250 prison tours; visitors from nine countries; six film productions; 90 upcoming tours; and a Haunted History October event.