September 2022
President's Message
Check out the video below from the PPS Foundation President, Cindy Morris!
Horizons Club Needs You!
We are looking for speakers in our Horizons Club middle school career exploration clubs. Come share your career and education story with the students. We have in-person opportunities available in all PPS middle schools. It is a short time commitment, and the clubs meet during lunchtime. Click on the button below to sign-up for available times/dates.
For more information on our Horizons Clubs, please contact: Trish O’Shaughnessy at or (309) 696-3406.
Grant opportunities for PPS staff are now available!
The PPS Foundation, in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Central Illinois, has classroom grants available for PPS staff now through October 1st. Click on the picture below for more information on this program and for the links to apply online today!
Adopt-A-School Program Highlight:

The Friends of Rocky Glen and
Harold B. Dawson Middle School's Prairie Garden
The Friends of Rocky Glen have been hard at work maintaining the Harold B. Dawson Middle School's native Illinois prairie garden. If you go on any given day, you will find butterflies and beautiful insects and hummingbirds happily enjoying their natural habitat. The Friends of Rocky Glen's vision is to create a natural area that promotes community engagement and wildlife habitat. They are focused on ways to spread the importance of how our ecosystem is all interrelated and that the Kickapoo Creek watershed is vital to the natural ecology of Central Illinois.

The value Friends of Rocky Glen can provide to students is broad and extensive. As we discover more schools who have gardens and want to bring nature into their classrooms, The Friends of Rocky Glen can be a wonderful source of knowledge.
Please reach out to Janet Ham at 646-872-9347 (or email if your school has a garden or would like to start a new garden. 
New Date for Annual Wine & Whiskey Walk!
Save the date and plan to join us for this super fun event! All proceeds benefit the PPS Foundation. Details on how to buy a ticket or volunteer at the event will be coming soon!
Congratulations to Sarah Fletcher for being chosen as our September HERO of the month! Sarah is the Director of Grants and Community Initiatives at the Community Foundation of Central Illinois (CFCI) and works closely with the PPS Foundation, helping with our many funds that are held at CFCI. She is the consummate professional and a joy to work with.

We love that Sarah attends and supports so many of our events in addition to the many other wonderful organizations in the community that she is involved with. She serves as a role model to many women in our community. We love working with her and appreciate all she does for the PPS Foundation. She is a true hero with a big heart. Congrats and thank you for all you do, Sarah!
Check Out Buzz Chats: a PPS Foundation Video Series!
Every month we will be connecting with different members of our community to talk about our public schools and how they interact with current events in Peoria. Watch the live chat at 6pm on the second Thursday of each month.

On September 8th, Cindy chatted with Peoria native and community activist, Kouri Marshall. Kouri is a PPS alum and attended Trewyn, Harrison, Von Steuben, and Woodruff. He'll also be our featured speaker at our upcoming 365 Breakfast! He is an amazing person who is doing so many great things. If you missed the live chat, you can still check out the video on our Facebook Page at anytime.
Meet the PPS Foundation's New Career Program Coordinator, Jaleesha Allen!

Thanks for talking with us, Jaleesha! We are so excited to have you working with our career-readiness programs. Before we get started with the "Take 5" questions, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I was born and raised in Chicago. I never expected to move to Peoria, but I've fallen more in love with this journey daily. I obtained a Bachelor of Sciences in 2011 and Masters of Sciences Degree in 2014 from Eastern Illinois University and that led to a beautiful relationship with my then fiancé, now husband. I am also a Certified Esthetician; obtained at Pivot Point International in 2012. 

My husband, Councilman Andre Allen, and I have 3 beautiful children; Barbie - who is a Dual Language 2nd grader at Whittier Primary School, Dreyton - who is a preschooler at Valeska Hinton, and Dream - who is 2 years old and just started daycare!

As the current PTO president at Whittier Primary, I love to impact and service the community. I’m also a board member for Central Illinois Ballet and beautifully, our oldest daughter, Barbie, is a dancer there.

Our family loves to travel and enjoy entertainment in the growing city of Peoria!
It's such an honor to work as a Peoria Public Schools Foundation team member.
I'm truly looking forward to the next few years to come.

That's great and you certainly are busy! What's something you saw recently that made you smile?

Watching my youngest daughter, Dream, dance and sing. She will be a star some day, mark my words.

That's wonderful! Besides watching your daughter sing and dance, do you have a favorite band or concert you've been to?

Yes! Best concert - Beyonce (Lemonade and On the Run Tour).

How about a favorite meal or restaurant in Peoria?

My favorite restaurant in Peoria is Jim's Steakhouse.

If you could snap your fingers and immediately learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would be fluent in Spanish.

One last question - if you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which ones would you pick?

Instagram, Facebook, and iTunes!

Thank you again, Jaleesha, for chatting with us. We are so excited to have you as part of the PPS Foundation team!
Click the picture below to donate.
Ad spots are available on the new electronic sign located on the PPS Stadium property. The sign has great visibility for both eastbound and westbound traffic on War Memorial Drive. $300 per week or $1,000 per month spots are available. Artwork must be in a 2100 x 900 jpg file. The sign is 14 feet wide by 6 feet tall.

All proceeds for sign advertisement go directly to help Peoria Public School's campaign to improve the stadium property. For more information, contact
PPS Foundation's Board of Directors:
Dan Adler, Andre Allen, Beth Crider, Solivian Dismuke, Maarten de Haas, Alex Elger, Kim McGhee, Cheryl Sanfilip, and Doug Shaw

Ex Officio Board Members:
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat (PPS Superintendant) and Mike Murphy (PPS Board of Education)

PPS Foundation's Staff:
Cindy Morris - President
Trish O'Shaughnessy - Director of Programming & Community Engagement
Jen Adler - Administrative Director
Janet Ham - Adopt-A-School Coordinator
Matt Violet - Data and Programming Logistics Coordinator
Jaleesha Allen - Career Program Coordinator
Annalee Anderson - Career Tech Advocate
Ellie de Buhr - Career Tech Advocate
Jonathan Manjarrez - Career Tech Advocate
Catherine Murray - Career Tech Advocate
Olivia Smith - Career Tech Advocate