September 19, 2022

My name is Willeum Boykin. I am one of three staff members within the Economic & Community Development Agency (ECDA) with the newly created designation of Community Navigator.

            In the City of Kankakee, to better utilize program-designated funds, the ECDA employs community navigators like me to help residents successfully navigate, from start to finish, the often-multifaceted process of applying for assistance. ECDA programs address issues of home safety, housing security, and economic viability. We navigators work closely with the agency’s program managers and its intake, business, and outreach coordinators to engage community members in ways that effectively improve their lives. We also work to know the community well enough to make accurate referrals to other organizations as necessary.

            To date, I have helped more than 80 different local residents. Most of these have been program applicants who needed guidance, personal assistance, or simple encouragement to help bring them closer to the aid they needed. Others have been inquirers in need of generic information or reliable referrals. I make a lot of phone calls from the office, but I also travel a bit to assist those for whom travel to our office is difficult or overly inconvenient. In addition to helping applicants and callers, I assist my coworkers, as needed, with agency functions in the office and in the field.

            The opportunity - to fill an essential niche, to be a resource to my community, to work as part of a team, and to do social-economic landscaping work that contributes to a better Kankakee - for me, is a priceless one. Community navigating in general is not just something I can do: anyone with experience accessing a particular community resource may act as a community navigator of sorts. In matters concerning ECDA programs, of course, please contact me; Helping you is my job.

Our Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in particular is one that can help a large portion of our city’s population. I encourage everyone to take the time to read about this program along with all the other programs and projects listed on the City of Kankakee ECDA website. Visit