Thousands of Chicago Public Schools students were back in class Monday after their summer vacation.
As students return, so to do the Safe Passage workers who are tasked with making sure students make it and from school safely.
For the last nine years, Shequita Burch has been a Safe Passage worker at Woodson North Middle School in Bronzeville.
“When you can play a part in someone’s life to make it safe for them, that speaks volumes,” Burch said.
She is one of the nearly 1,200 Safe Passage Workers serving as the eyes and ears for Chicago Public Schools across the city.
At Woodson, eight Safe Passage workers line up around the school with bright smiles and open arms to welcome students into class.
The program started in 2009, and now serves 188 public schools. City officials say Safe Passage workers are the first line of protection in some of the most challenging communities.
Burch, a mother of seven, says building community is what drives her passion to keep students safe.