PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– Peoria Mayor Rita Ali will host a new launch event called the Peoria Role Model Project this Thursday.

A Peoria Office of the Mayor news release confirms the event will bring together Peoria kids from economically impacted areas in Peoria and local Black professionals from fields such as business, education, arts, technology, and more.

“It is critical that we connect young people living in distressed areas of the city with role models who can positively influence their decision-making processes, their outlook and access to opportunities, and how they carve out a path for future success. This connection is not only vital to the future of the young people involved but the future success of our city,” said Peoria Mayor Rita Ali.

The project is funded through a PNC Foundation grant. 150 kids in total will be part of the program and were selected from the Mayor’s Summer Youth and Internship Program.

Brian Ray, PNC regional president of central Illinois. “We hope that the connections made will foster pathways and opportunities for our youth to grow, learn and network. Most importantly, we want these students to be empowered knowing there are people willing to be a meaningful part of their journey through school and life.”

The event will be in the Civic Center in Ballroom A from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.