08 May 2019

Staff Profile: Maribel Romero, Lead Case Manager

Home. Community. Office.

For Maribel Romero, helping participants who come to ALSO is closely tied to her family life, her years in the Humboldt Park community and her work experience. Maribel is the Lead Case Manager for ALSO’s CP4P program, which provides services for in-risk and at-risk youths. CP4P, which stands for Communities Partnering 4 Peace, features ALSO and eight of Chicago’s other leading outreach organizations who have combined their expertise to jointly impact nine Chicago communities most affected by gun violence.

“I have a passion for what I do because of who I am and where I come from,” Maribel says. “I’ve had hard times myself.”

On April 25, Maribel was honored by CP4P at an event held at the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse that recognized staff and participants of the program.

Maribel knows what it’s like to be part of a community - at home and in the neighborhood. She grew up on the east side of Humboldt Park as the youngest child in a Puerto Rican family with 15 kids - seven girls and eight boys. She graduated from Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Humboldt Park. Even at a young age, she would read to her mother, who didn’t know how to read. Helping other people became the norm in her life.

Maribel is very much attuned to ALSO’s outreach work as well as its focus on intimate partner violence. In her family, she had brothers who were involved in the street life of the community and spent time in the criminal justice system. In her first marriage, Maribel was a victim of domestic violence. At one point, she says, she tried to go to college to become a substance abuse counselor but couldn’t finish her education because of domestic abuse.

“I overcame what I went through when I met my current husband,” she says. “I’m living a great life.” She and her husband Orlando, who is an outreach worker at ALSO, have four grown kids between them, three grandchildren and two more on the way. They met in 2001.



ALSO Lead Case Manager Maribel Romero and members of her family. From left to right: Anthony Santiago, Maribel's oldest son; Taniya Fugate, daughter-in-law; Maribel Romero; Orlando Cintron, Maribel's husband and an outreach worker at ALSO; Bianca Santiago and Carmen Cintron, daughters. 

Over the years, Maribel has connected with the public through many jobs, from working at restaurants and at Woolworth’s in Logan Square to providing customer service and then being a supervisor and, later, a claims adjuster in the insurance field. Later, she also worked with Orlando at a public adjusting firm.

Through a friend of Orlando’s, Maribel got a job as a case manager for a nonprofit organization called the Saints of Humboldt Park, which was established by former offenders to help reduce recidivism. She also gained experience guiding young women who were pregnant through Foreman High School’s Cradle to Classroom program.

At the time, Maribel volunteered for ALSO when it was located at Armitage and Kimball avenues. She started working for ALSO in 2012, and has contributed to the organization’s work in many ways. Maribel joined ALSO as a Re-entry Case Manager with the NRI (Neighborhood Recovery Initiative) and then transitioned over to the CVPP (Community Violence Prevention Program) as a supervisor to the Re-Entry component. She was promoted to become supervisor for the Ceasefire/Humboldt Park/Hermosa Communities where outreach played a big role. In her current position as lead case manager, she is also a state mandated reporter with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Maribel recalls many participants who have benefited from their experience at ALSO. “I worked with one participant who had been in and out of the system and was in his late 20s. He was homeless. I was able to help him find an apartment, furnish it and find a job. He still reaches out to ALSO. There are so many people we have an opportunity to help.”

“When they come through this door looking for help, the first thing I want them to know is that I am not there to judge you - I am there to help you. I respect that we’re going to have a private conversation,” she says. Along the way, Maribel and caseworkers George Gonzalez and Linette Acosta works closely with ALSO’s outreach team to meet the needs of participants.


 ALSO Lead Case Manager Maribel Romero and Alex Atkins, a participant in ALSO’s Safe Streets program. Maribel and Alex were honored at an April 25 event held by Communities Partnering 4 Peace at the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse.

“I want participants to understand that I am from this community - and that ALSO is giving back to the community,” she says. “It’s all about building trust.”

For more information about Communities Partnering 4 Peace and ALSO’s Safe Streets program, contact Jorge Matos, Director of Safe Streets, at jmatos@also-chicago.org

Recap:

ALSO Lead Case Manager Maribel Romero was honored for her work by Communities Partnering 4 Peace on April 25, 2019.

Maribel knows what it’s like to be part of a community - at home and in the neighborhood. She grew up on the east side of Humboldt Park as the youngest child in a Puerto Rican family with 15 kids - seven girls and eight boys.

Maribel says of ALSO’s program participants that  “When they come through this door looking for help, the first thing I want them to know is that I am not there to judge you - I am there to help you. I want participants to understand that I am from this community - and that ALSO is giving back to the community. It’s all about building trust.”

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ALSO is an organization committed to end violence in homes and communities nationwide. Your contribution will help us live out our mission to develop, promote and implement model programs in order to build a movement for peace and safety in the coming year.

With your support, we will:

  • Continue providing jobs for in-risk youth through our 10-10-10 job training program.

  • Provide bystander intervention training for youth and community members, giving people the skills to know how to increase safety in high risk situations.

  • Explore and reveal the relationship between intimate partner and community violence to create programming that will reduce both.

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