CI Hero: Peoria woman spends decades helping East Bluff neighborhood, receives community ‘rockstar’ award

CI Heroes

PEORIA, Ill.– It takes personal strength to pull yourself out of a bad situation, but it takes eternal purpose to want to help your entire neighborhood become a better place for all.

Not only is Willa Lucas the most recent recipient of the Peoria People’s Project “Community Rockstar Award,” she’s also this week’s CI Hero.

It’s because of her decades of endless work in Peoria’s East Bluff.

“The eternal optimist in me sees it as a big step in the revitalization of the whole neighborhood,” said Willa Lucas.

Willa Lucas is everywhere. From the East Bluff, to city hall, to participating in a nationwide effort to bring peace to violent neighborhoods.

“I’ve been here 23 years and this is home,” said Lucas. “”It’s time to stop. we’ve lost enough young lives.”

She helps her friends and neighbors by spending time in the East Bluff Community Center Food Pantry.

“Without the community’s support there would be no food pantry,” said Lucas. “Here or anywhere.”

At the 2019 Grand Jubilee, Lucas received the Community Service Rockstar Award. An award she says she’s humbled to receive.

“The rewards I get with the thank you’s, and the bless you’s, and hugs from people that come through the food pantry…there’s no way the effort measures up to the gain,” said Lucas.

She says there’s still a lot of work left to do, but hopes others will step up to the plate to lend a hand to those in need.

“Find your passion and get busy at it,”said Lucas. “My home is my passion. My neighborhood is my passion. I got busy at it.”

Chama St. Louis, with the Peoria People’s Project, said Lucas is an inspiration for others to do more.

“I think that she’s just phenomenal all the way around,”said Chama St. Louis. “She has a real sense and love for community.”

To nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero, CLICK HERE.

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