Yessenia Carreón is a proud 10th ward resident, arriving 30 years ago after a near-kidnapping experience led to her parents choosing the neighborhood as a safe place to raise their six children. That choice, made by Jose and Herlinda Carreón, who emigrated to Chicago from Mexico - Jalpa, Zacatecas - in the early 70's, enabled Yessenia to come of age in the ward, mostly through her time at George Washington Elementary and High School. That education empowered her to attend and earn a degree in Business Management from Robert Morris College.
In 2006, Yessenia's passion for public service led to an internship with then 10th Ward Alderman John A. Pope. Fast success quickly turned that internship into a full-time job on the aldermanic staff. The time and effort that she gave and continues giving to the 10th Ward is what she takes the most pride in. During her 9+ years with the City, Yessenia served on numerous boards, including the Metropolitan Family Services Board, South Chicago Senior Advisory, South Chicago Housing Taskforce Advisory, South Chicago Artist Coalition and the South Chicago Health Planning Advisory. As an active member of said organizations, Yessenia was a key component in projects such as the Annual Green Summit which encouraged and provided green & energy-efficient initiatives/programs. As part of the SC Housing Taskforce, Yessenia worked with other community leaders and residents to discuss and present the City with a list of ideas/uses for the T.I.F.s (Tax Increment Finance) in the area. As the events coordinator and community liaison, Yessenia led various projects including the US 41/Lake Shore Drive extension, the dedication of Steelworkers Park - the first park at the former US Steel site, the construction and naming of a new park – Clara D. Schafer Park, and the 130th & Torrence Project - $154 million undertaking that produced hundreds of construction jobs.
One project that stands out is the US 41/Lake Shore Drive extension. It took years of planning, coordinating logistics and meetings within then developer McCaffery Interests, City & State Departments, the local chambers and neighboring Aldermanic offices. On October 26, 2013, the many years of hard work came to fruition with the grand opening of the newly extended South Lake Shore Drive followed by the very first festival in Steelworkers Park, The Chicago Lakeside Festival.
Yessenia loves the tenth ward and is proud to call it home. She is a homeowner in the East Side neighborhood where she resides with her supportive husband Erick, her kids and their doggy. She is determined to making sure our beloved 10th Ward goes back to feeling like that safe community her parents once found here.
Since leaving the City, Yessenia has worked with the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce in bringing Shakespeare in the Park to Steelworkers Park and the first ever Murder Mystery Dinner Performance in the 10th Ward. In partnership with the local media business ONT, Yessenia helped organize 5 summer festivals and the 10th Ward’s first ever battle of the bands which opened the doors to many local organizations and businesses to continue on with the summer series of festivals. Yessenia and ONT have started the only shared business space facility in the South Chicago area and is one of the founders of the only South Chicago Community Development Corporation which focuses on bringing commerce and revitalization to the 10th Ward and surrounding areas. Yessenia is a 2015 LISC leadership program graduate which has given her the opportunity to work with chambers, organizations, and city officials throughout the city. Yessenia is and continues to be an advocate for local artists. She fought hard to secure the funding for a dedication sculpture that now stands in Steelworkers Park, created by 10th Ward Resident and artist Roman Villarreal. She serves as a mentor to the Our Neighborhood’s Got Talent (ONGT) group, and is working with the local schools to continue pushing and promoting the performing arts.