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Loyola University Chicago

Commencement

Alicia Tellez Vega

Vice President of Youth Development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

Alicia Tellez Vega (BS ’96, MJ ’99) serves as vice president of youth development at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, which provides comprehensive youth development services to over 1,800 youth in Chicago’s neediest communities. Vega oversees all aspects of youth programming—including development, quality, consistency, and outcome measurements—along with club operations at all 18 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Chicago.

Vega has more than 18 years of experience working with at-risk youth. As executive director of the Southwest Youth Collaborative, she provided critical leadership during a time of financial and structural crisis. She has deep roots in improving the lives of Illinois children and youth, having served in multiple community leadership roles with entities like the Illinois Children’s Justice Task Force, the Partnership to Rescue our Minors from Sexual Exploitation Task Force, and the Illinois Child Death Review Team.

She is currently leading collaborations between nonprofits, community organizations, and the faith community in Cicero to develop services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families.

Vega led a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth program as youth program director at Center on Halsted during the agency’s development of youth services.

She conducted a comprehensive program evaluation and revamped the structure of the center’s programs, which resulted
in decreased violence among young people, increased safety in programming, and an enhancement of the effectiveness of interventions.

Vega played a critical leadership role in contributing to the knowledge base of research on the LGBT community of Chicago. As a board member of Amigas Latinas, she led a first-of-its kind comprehensive study of LGBT women in Chicago. In addition, she served as a community engagement leader for the LGBT Chicago-Metro Community Needs Assessment report.

Vega was among the first forensic interviewers at Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center when it revamped the way Chicago responds to child sexual abuse reports. During her eight-year tenure, she became the chief program officer. She drafted and successfully passed amendments to the Illinois Adoption Act to protect child sexual abuse victims.

Vega is also active in the arts community as a writer and performer of La Dulce Palabra Spoken Word Ensemble; a spoken-word collective comprised of Latina LGBTQ and ally artists who foster self-expression and creativity. She published poetry in Las Dulces Palabras Volume One and has been a featured artist in many local venues as well as in film.

Vega is the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2013 Damen Award from Loyola University Chicago, the 2007 Menttium Scholarship Award, and the 2005 Trailblazer Award from the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. She received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology and a Master of Jurisprudence in Child Law from Loyola.

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