When looking at our different neighborhoods throughout the southwest side of the city, we wanted to check out the successes of our tutor/mentor programs. This is what we found:

Gage Park
When researching the different tutor/mentor programs in Gage Park, I found that most of the programs were independently operated. There were only about three tutor/mentoring centers in the community, but they all seemed very successful. What I found was that these centers focused on more than just the tutor/mentoring. They had loads of after-school activities for mentees to participate in like dance classes, art courses, karate, sports and even workshops, and job hook-ups. Children could really demonstrate their interests, and have fun, while the operators can observe the children’s interests, and help them improve in the areas that they care about. It helps build a more personal and social experience, while also involving academic success. This method keeps kids coming back which, ultimately, benefits them. These tutor/mentoring programs can be found at the following websites: Southwest Youth Collaborativeand Metropolitan Family Services.

Marquette Park
The Youth Guidance Program at Harper High School helps high school students transition into their adult lives. . The Youth Guidance Program has a similar vision to Cabrini Connections in that they create and implement plans to help youth achieve success and to avoid violent alternatives. They run tutoring programs as well as career planning and mentoring programs. Youth Guidance is an optimistic program which focuses on the bright future inner city children have and seeks to achieve it. In addition to tutoring, the program offers counseling, health services, education and career development. These facets make the program successful because it appeals to the children on more than just an academic level. One of the programs designed by Youth Guidance is the Counseling and Creative Arts tutoring program. It encourages students to exhibit self-expression and to be positive about themselves and increase confidence. Youth Guidance provides students with instruments, items for dramatic productions and art supplies. One of the career planning programs performed by Youth Guidances is Project PREPARE. Project PREPARE is a series of work skills, college application workshops, career counseling and placement services and  employment opportunities for older members of Youth Guidance. This program helps put at risk children in steady jobs hopefully by the time they are twenty-five, like Cabrini Connections. The mentoring program  is called Project STRIVE (Strategies To Rejuvenate Interest and Value in Education) which provides students with a positive and strong role model to instill confidence in children. Project STRIVE also has life skills training and the mentors provide help with both academic and personal issues which helps students create good judgment. The sites for these tutor/mentoring programs can be accessed here: Youth Guidance, Project PREPARE and Project STRIVE.

Chicago Lawn

In Chicago Lawn there are many different tutor/mentoring programs, but one that stands out is the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). The AAAN tries to make a difference in the community by providing many different programs. They have a Family Empowerment Program, which includes Social Services, a Family Literacy Project, and a Citizenship Project. A Community Organizing and Advocacy program, which includes an Arabs Woman’s Committee, Alliance of Young Woman Activists, and Immigrant Rights. Youth Programs, which include an After School Program, Summer Youth Camp, and Silent Echoes, a hip-hop and spoken word program for high school youth. There is also Cultural Outreach, with their goal of “raise[ing] awareness on issues pertaining to the Arab World and Arab Americans.” The AAAN has been successful and has been doing so by reaching out to the community and showing a helping hand, although in the past year the AAAN has seen new developments for their organization, there has been challenging times brought upon them by the U.S. recession and the resulting huge Illinois state budget deficit. All in all the Arab American Action Network is a great organization for the Chicago Lawn community that provides many very useful programs for children and adults. With the help of the community they will be able to continue to grow and expand. All this and more information can be found on their main website at http://www.aaan.org

Englewood

After close review of the southwestern areas of Chicago, I was surprised by the lack of independent tutor mentor programs. But this fact doesn’t spell doom for the youth of these communities; in fact when this burden is taken on by the school it yields amazing advantages. This method of issuing afterschool programs allows for greater accessibility for the student because by having these programs integrated directly into the schools students would inherently be more receptive to it, thus leading to increased participation. In addition to this all the costs of these programs are absorbed into the schools state funded budget so parents aren’t burdened with additional expenses. These aspects of the programs alone are a big plus seeing as majority of these students fall under the low-income category, it’s unlikely that they would be able to handle any further pressures finically. In a study conducted by the University of Chicago Research group in May 2000, Government funding has increased significantly since 1998 which totaled at 40 million and rose sharply to 450 million in 2000 (http://www.financeproject.org/)  . This would explain how these such programs have become so wide spread with the increased government initiative for education they have effectively planted a seed of optimism within the community. These tutor/mentoring programs can be found here: By the Hand, Chicago Hopes and The Boys and Girls Club of Chicago.

Bridgeport

      When searching for tutor and mentoring programs in Bridgeport, you will find a Boys and Girls Club Chicago, a nation-wide organization.  One of the locations happens to be in Bridgeport.  However, that is the only official tutor/mentor program in Bridgeport.  I think that Bridgeport’s academic success has much to do with the schools’ overall support of their students.  This may include tutor, mentoring, or a combination of both.  This conclusion I can draw with the lack of the neighborhood’s poverty.

http://www.bgcc.org/

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