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Representative West visits with Shawn Smith

Updated: Jul 16

Representative West was excited to meet Shawn Smith, a NFL official who wears uniform number 14, who visited the Jr. Referee program today at Clarence Hicks Memorial Sports Park.  Shawn is only the sixth African-American referee in NFL history. He came to Rockford to work with a few teens and young adults that are in the Jr. Referee Program. There is an extreme shortage of referees and this type of work can lead to a lifetime career.  The Jr. Referee program began last year and was all possible thanks to the $698,608 in funding from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) for violence prevention programming.  This funding received is providing a variety of community-based recreational programs with the goal of reaching up to 5,000 at-risk youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Many thanks to Lamont Jones and the Rockford Park District for your investment in our youth!