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Foster delivers education message at Glenwood School, a few packages
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff

Fourth-grader David Xaykosy demonstrates special "Brainware" computer software for Congressman Bill Foster during a tour of Glenwood School for Boys and Girls in St. Charles Thursday. The school is a test site for the software.


Jim Fuller | Daily Herald

Fifth-grader Matthew Chiavetta explains the demerit system at Glenwood School for Boys and Girls to Congressman Bill Foster.


Jim Fuller | Daily Herald

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Published: 1/9/2010 12:00 AM

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Congressman Bill Foster delivered a message of hard work, education and the importance of every person devoting some portion of their life helping others during a visit Thursday at the Glenwood School for Boys and Girls.

The visit followed Foster's recent success in securing $100,000 in a federal earmark that will help fund programing at the school.

The campus on Silver Glen Road originally sat on about 400 acres of farmland. Now the property serves as the home, school and family setting for the approximately 55 students who live there Sunday night through Friday afternoon.

Glenwood President Sam Banks said the campus is the best chance many of the students have to make it out of situations where they are surrounded by violence, drugs and otherwise broken communities.

"So many of them come from situations that are very chaotic," Banks said. "We provide a way for kids to get out of the environment that they're in and get them into an environment where they can learn some social skills and some coping skills. Here they can relax, focus, feel safe. It's quite an opportunity for our kids."

Foster, whose 14th District encompasses many of the Aurora and Elgin neighborhoods from which the kids come, toured the campus to see what daily life is like for the students.

Dry erase boards with lists of chores and basic military drill techniques are part of the lives of students to instill values of personal responsibility, discipline and working as a team. But air hockey, computer games and Jenga also are part of everyday life for the students.

The entire student body joined Foster for a meal and peppered him with questions about his education, why he likes science so much and what lawmakers are doing to help prevent homelessness.

"Most of the time, when you look at someone who's successful, it's because they worked and worked and worked," Foster told them. "A happy life requires hard work."

Foster told the students they should appreciate living in a setting where they are assured a good education.

"We have to make sure that every child in the United States gets the very best education there can be," he said. "When you help one of your little brothers or friends understand something that they didn't understand before, then you are helping out the education of this country."

The Congressman also urged the students to take an interest in politics and establish informed views of the world around them.

"You have to give politicians a hard time," Foster said. "You can't just assume what a politician says is right. You have to question authority. Think it through. Is what they're really proposing to do the best for the country?"

Earlier in the day, Foster attempted to deliver a message to local business owners in Geneva that he's in touch with their needs. Instead, he discovered he's not the most recognizable face in town, especially when he's dressed in a full UPS delivery driver's uniform.

Foster spent about an hour delivering packages to businesses in Geneva. When he'd introduce himself as Congressman Foster, he was most often met with looks that indicated people thought a trick was being played on them. Workers at one business asked if the reason for his entourage was because he was going to be featured in the next UPS employee newsletter.

Despite those comical moments, Foster said his time was well spent because he was able to see what life is like as an employees of one of the major employers in the state. UPS has about 21,000 employees in Illinois.