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In today’s political society there is an abundance of commercial campaigning.  Whether on the television or radio, citizens are guaranteed to hear many of these advertisements. Many of these political announcements are not made to build a certain candidate, but to portray them in a negative light. According to a CNN Politics an online article (http://articles.cnn.com/2007-10-15/politics/ad.spending) political TV commercials topped 2.3 billion dollars in 2006. The article also mentions that 2006 spending on political commercials was nearly doubled in 2008, reaching 3 billion dollars. With the dramatic increase from 2006 to 2008, we can only imagine our candidate’s currant spending. This is a large amount of money that could be used for a greater purpose, such as financially assisting tutor/mentor programs.

Much like political ads, the need for funding tutor/mentor programs can be made into a public plea. If the billions of dollars that candidates spend on ignorant slander of their competitors were spent to inform the public on the need for tutor/mentor program funding, politicians could use their power to raise awareness, especially on the West Side.  With some of the money candidates waste on advertising is used for tutor/mentor programs Tutor/mentor programs provide children in need with stability they may not have at home, as well as opportunities their family or school may not provide to them.  Because the West side has a higher rate of poverty than other areas in Chicago, it is essential that their programs receive funding.  Certain areas of the West Side, including East Garfield, do not have tutor/mentor programs available.  It is hard to say if tutor/mentor programs will see government funding, but we believe that it is more then needed.  Government officials should be leading by example and finding a way for public dollars to reach not for profit tutor/mentor programs.  In return this would familiarize citizens of tutor/mentor program and their importance.

With new government officials receiving their positions, we challenge the next Explore Chicago: the Tutor/Mentor Program to investigate the new leaders stance on education, poverty, and most importantly tutor/mentor programs.  Not only do we challenge them to gain knowledge on the subject, but also to act on what they have learned.  Blogging is an effective way to voice an opinion, but we ask of them to take their voice step farther.  It is time to be proactive, write a letter to local government official discussing what they learned and present a proposal.  An effective and professional proposal could initiate action and make a difference.

 

Next year’s bloggers have the foundation set for their research.  They have neighborhood stats, funding options, and specific tutor/mentor centers readily available.  Using this information, they can now go directly to the centers (whether it be through email, phone contact, or site visitations) to get stories from those who frequent the program: directors, volunteers, and of course, the children.  Next year’s bloggers have an important job.  They must put names to the faces, and give blog viewers a more personal, relatable, subject matter.

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The West Sides tutor and mentor programs are incredibly different.  While Austin has a few programs that are thriving, North Lawndale has one stable program, whereas East Garfield has none.  With the economy consistently changing, there is one thing that all nonprofit organizations have in common: funding. Other than North Lawndale, most of the tutor mentor programs that exist on the West Side are primarily funded by individuals, churches, and private organizations.  

The Austin area tutor mentor programs that were previously mentioned in our blog all depend on non-government funding.  After researching the website and attempting to get in contact with Cluster, I learned that their funding depends on individuals, churches, private organizations.  This volunteer, nonprofit organization is run out of two churches, meaning that they do not have the expenses of a building. But this also means they have limited time and space availability.  The Off the Streets Club depends on private donors alone. They have fundraisers such as a luncheon and golf tournament to help raise money as well. The Austin area YMCA also has a tutor mentor program.  According to www.ymcachgo.org , the YMCA receives fund from individual, corporate, and foundation donors.  These donors allow scholarship to those who cannot afford to join. According to my research these organizations rely on people’s donations because they are essential to their programs existence.

As stated in our preceding blogs, one will see that there is one tutor/mentor organization that stands out from any of the others in the North Lawndale area. The Better Boys Foundation receives a big part of its funds from the government and one can visit their website to make individual donations at any time as well. As of late, the economic downturn has heavily impacted the 50 year old organization, as it has with millions of other institutions. The struggling economy has caused the government to cut back on the funds they made available to the foundation by 20 percent. A federal grant of nearly $90,000 has been roughly brought down to around $70,000. One can only imagine how much a $20,000 cut can, will and is affecting such an organization. Resources available to the students are affected in more ways than we can comprehend. With individual funding, the Better Boys Foundation seems to heavily advertise, encourage and ask for individual donations.

When doing my research, I found out that the East Garfield Park area don’t really have tutor mentor programs for the entire area. As stated in the past, some of the schools have tutors to help the children in their schools in different subjects they don’t understand. Other schools in the area have mentors to guide them along the way and to be there to let the child know that some is there and they care. The consequences of this area or these schools not having organized tutor/mentor programs to benefit the children are that the children are not performing to the best of their abilities because they don’t have support from a mentor like other children in other schools. There are children that don’t understand what is going on in their classes and need to tutors but they don’t have them at school or there is not a tutor/mentor program that provides any type of tutoring for children in that area. Tutor/mentor programs could allow children to be a better student, have a different outlook on life and school, and cherish an education.

When people think of government-funded organizations, they often presume that such institutions are safe from most financial worry. After all, who could have more money to help you than the government? However, the economic downturn that the nation is experiencing at the moment has heavily hit such organizations. Institutions are scrambling around in worry, looking into individual and corporate donors to fund the programs that are now at risk It would wise to remember that although the government, a corporation or an individual donor can greatly help with funding, the circumstances can change at any given time and one must be prepared to meet the challenges an event like economic struggles can bring. What kind of difference could stable government funding give tutor mentor programs that are dependent on donations?  If the tutor mentor programs we have researched were receiving government      funds, they could maximize their opportunities for kids.  For example if Cluster received government    funds, maybe they could afford a building of their own.  With a building of their own they would not have the limitations of sharing a church during the week.  If the government was able to provide stable funds to these programs, they would not have the burden of losing a couple or multiple donors. If the schools had government funds or any funding from anywhere else there could be tutor/mentor programs. The school systems are probably not trying their best to get programs. Or maybe it’s not their fault because they don’t have money. Schools want the best for the students they just don’t have the resources to help them.  Government funding that is stable and consistent can relieve a large sum of financial worry.

Throughout the Explore Tutoring and Mentoring Course at DePaul University we have learned the positive effects of tutoring and mentoring programs on children of all ages. It is vital parents or guardians know what their community offers children in their area, especially for urban underprivileged kids. This week we have taken on the responsibility of investigating tutoring and mentoring programs in the West Side of Chicago.

Austin Chicago has a variety of programs that cater to tutoring and mentoring.  When I began searching I decided to start at the Austin Public School’s website I had found the previous week. (www.austin.k12.mn.us) I found two links for local learning centers.  The first one listed was their Community Learning Center. I clinked on the link and it gave a brief description of what the center has available along with their contact information. The second learning center listed was Area Learning Center and it was similar to the Community Learning Center. Neither centers supplied a website. Although they provide a phone number the lack of a website prohibits their means of communication. The Community Learning Center and Area Learning Center are great tools to have within a community especially when they are recognized by their school district. But the problem is the do not offer mentoring programs and they are costly. I investigated more using an internet search engine and found Cluster.  Cluster is a tutoring and mentoring program in the Austin area.  They offer one-on-one tutor and mentors.  The program was founded in 1989 and is a nonprofit organization.  This is a great opportunity for children but Cluster also has its setbacks.  For example, they do not have their own building. They meet twice a week, on Tuesday at Pine Avenue United Church and Thursday at First United Church of Oak Park. Both nights meet at 6:30 pm until 8:00 pm.  The problem that occurs with meeting at night is transportation. All together Cluster (www.clustertutoring.org) is a great program. The Austin Public Schools should add this program in addition to their learning centers because it caters to more needs and is cost free. Additional programs I found were in an Austin Community newsletter. They include their local YMCA, Off the Street Club, and Shore bank Residents Services Learning Center.  All three offer tutoring and mentoring programs but did not include a website in the newsletter. Austin Public Schools would benefit greatly from including these programs on their website because it would give students an equal opportunity.

East Garfield Park is one area of Chicago that didn’t particularly have many tutor/mentor programs according to my research. One thing that I noticed was that like the schools in the East Garfield Park area, there were many programs that didn’t exactly provide tutor/mentor services. They were mainly designed to keep the children off the streets with activities. There were not really specific tutor/mentoring services for the children.  There was one facility in particular that had many different programs that catered to many different age groups or needs. The name of the facility is Marillac House. This facility is mainly projected to underprivileged children and families that can’t afford day care or after school programs. This place has about four different programs. They have the “wrap around care” program that provides day care for children ages 15 months-3years.  They also provide after school programs and tutoring for children who have started school. They also provide a curriculum, field trips, library, a computer lab, as well an art room for the children. The next program provided by Marillac House   Project Hope which is a program designed for teenage moms ages 12-21. They provide a curriculum for them as well as well as referrals to school, job training, and recreational activities.  One more program that I have researched within Marillac House is called Hope Jr. It provides youth with a positive experience at a young age for girls ages 7-17. They participate in community service projects. They also have a fine arts program and tutor/mentor programs. Programs in the Marillac House had many programs; some had tutor/mentor services, but not all did.

 

In my search for tutor/mentoring programs in North Lawndale I came upon one called the Better Boys Foundation, otherwise known as BBF (www.betterboys.org/index2.html). It is available for anyone between the ages of 5 and 21 years of age (peculiar, I know). It is a non-profit organization that aims to improve life for the youth in North Lawndale area by providing them with experiences to shape their various stages of development. Despite its name, over half of the organization is now made up of girls. BFF concentrates on three major areas: Youth and Family Counseling, Out-of-school programming, and Scholarships/Career Guidance. Within these areas is where their programs evolved such as the Family Services Program. The Family Services Program offers counseling services for the youth and their respective families. Project LEAD (Leadership, Education, Academic Development) serves to assist elementary-school students both academically and socially. Project LEEP (Leadership Ensuring Educational Progress) aims to prepare pre-teens for high school and to meet their needs. BBF’s Teen Program is a program for high-school students that offers teens engagement opportunities such as for after-school or activities available throughout the year. The BBF Memorial Scholarship and Career Guidance Program offers scholarships and career guidance to youths that are in the process of either preparing for or entering their post-secondary education. All in all, the Better Boys Foundation is a superb example of a highly successful tutor/mentor program in North Lawndale. It fully sets the example of what a tutor/mentor program should be like. When I tried to find other tutor/mentor programs from the North Lawndale online, I found it to be more difficult than I would like, or that anyone would for that matter. I know for a fact that there are many more tutor/mentoring programs in the North Lawndale area, but the problem appears to be that the programs are not available to view online. Either that, or they are, just not easily accessible to provide information to the public.

Although Austin, East Garfield Park, and North Lawndale are all on the West Side of Chicago their options for tutoring and mentoring programs are very different.  These programs are vital for children’s success. Comparing the map below with what we have found we can see that the areas with higher crime have less tutoring and mentoring programs.  Tutoring and mentoring programs help children develop a sense of belonging, and knowledge between what is right and wrong that they may be lacking at home. By adding more to the areas with less programs hopefully the crime rate will lessen from generation to generation.

 

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I am sure that you have all heard this saying a countless number of times and today, I quote a parent from the West Side of Chicago that uses this expression to inform people that just because a neighborhood seems bad it doesn’t necessarily mean that good things can’t come out of it, such as a good education. I found this to be true when we individually researched certain areas of the West Side and their schools. In North Lawndale, there is a school called the North Lawndale Charter School. It is a public high school and the enrollment is around 401 students. According to parent reviews, this school specializes in preparing their students for college and each student has the advantage of a closer relationship with their teachers due to their small numbers. The school website mirrors all of this quite effectively, offering a wide range of clubs, athletics and mirrors active student involvement.

While investigating schools in the Austin area of Chicago, I experienced the familiar internet search engine frustrations. I found many sites with Austin Community High School statics, but no website directly working with the school. I began to think that Austin Schools would be far from top-notch. Finally I stumbled upon on a website of all the public schools in the Austin area.  Once finding this site, my first expectations of the school changed. Not only did the site show important news at all the schools but also information on their local community learning centers. Although each school does not have their own site the community sites providing information about all the schools is effective. Austin Community High School is definitely not the school I expected it to be when I could not find a reliable website. The student ratio is 1:9 compared to the average of the state’s which is1:18 and only two percent qualify for reduced lunch. Although I was impressed with the information I found the Austin Schools should display their institution better by producing individual websites and making them easier to find and navigate within.

Coming from the West Side of Chicago and growing up down the street from the Garfield Park area, I didn’t realize how many schools are located in that area. I didn’t attend elementary school or high school in that area so I didn’t really know about the public school system. While searching the websites of the schools I wasn’t really able to find any statistics on the schools and good information wasn’t provided. As I continued my search I came across a school by the name of Holy Family Ministries. This elementary school serves over 160 children with tutoring, after school programs, and a good education. This school also provides a program which is called Little Learners Academy that serves like a daycare for children 3-5 years old for working parents. They also provide a summer camp for children ages 6-12 for 4 weeks. These schools in the Garfield Park area may have the reputation for being a “bad” school but when you do the research or actually know the students that attend the schools in the area you know that these students are receiving quality education and have the potential to become something great.

This quarter, our group will be researching the West-Side of Chicago. The neighborhoods we will be focusing on are Austin, North Lawndale and East Garfield Park. The purpose of our blog is to educate both ourselves and the general public about these specific areas and the tutor/mentoring programs that may or may not be available in this part of the city. So far our class has visited two tutor/mentoring sites in Chicago, Cabrini Connections and Elliott Donnelley Youth Center in Bronzeville. At Cabrini Connections we learned about the organization’s background, purpose, and needs. It appears that the organization is now financially struggling due to the economic downturn. Despite these hard times, we found Cabrini Connections to be essential to kids in need of help. On our second trip to the Elliott Donnelley Youth Center in Bronzeville, we learned more about what this program has to offer to their kids, rather than their financial situation. The Elliott Donnelley Youth Center is an extraordinary program for kids that offers more than tutor/mentoring programs. Although the Elliott Donnelley Youth Center has taken a hit from the economic downturn, their situation is not as severe as with Cabrini Connections because the Elliott Donnelley Youth Center receives government funding. It would be in the government’s best interest to fund more programs such as Cabrini Connections to help kids that come from low-income families or do not have the tools to be succesful.

The southwest side lives under constant influence of gangs and poverty. However, Bridgeport seems to be well despite it all. Schools are unable to provide after school programs, therefore leaving the students out for the streets, the only place left to go. Even those who want to avoid the outside influences cannot be helped because of limited funds. Parents are out working to provide for much as their children as they can, so they have to make the painful decision between providing the necessities for their children and giving them extra help. Of course, their first instincts are to provide the necessities. Then again, this is not always the case. Sometimes, there are parents that find themselves incapable of providing for their children or doing it in a dangerous way, therefore putting their kids at risk. Some adults in schools and in the neighborhood stand helpless and unable to do much without the money to do so; others are just hopeless.

The neighborhoods in the southwest side of the city are on the lower side of the income spectrum, except for Bridgeport which has a variety of higher income homes as well as lower income ones. Though the neighborhoods mostly live above the poverty level, they do not live above it by much. The schools in the area reflect this. The schools are not awfully well funded, causing many classrooms in public schools to be over packed and teachers to be overbooked. The neighborhoods in the southwest side do offer some tutor/mentoring programs for students to use. However, these programs are not utilized by as many students as they could. So, students are missing out on the opportunity of a tutor/mentoring program.
The neighborhoods on the southwest side are pretty similar, except for Bridgeport. For the most part, this part of the city is made up of minorities with lower or middle class incomes. Bridgeport, however, boasts more households with upper-middle class incomes, and is a predominantly white area. This means Bridgeport has better funded resources than the other neighborhoods. Bridgeport also has a lower crime rate than the other neighborhoods on the southwest side. Clearly, Bridgeport is the “luckiest” of this part of Chicago.
In my community it isn’t the tutor mentor programs that are at fault it’s the lack there of that’s the issue, There the area in which I have survey suffers from scant availability of these institutions thus nullifying any effect that could possibly have on students. The commute to these programs are simply to inconvenient when several factors are taken into account primarily the one of danger , most schools let out around 3 pm in the afternoon which in the winter it’s already beginning to become dark. Now imagine these children exiting a program at around 5 -6 cause the average stay at one of these post school programs is about 2-3 hours. Given that most of these impoverished areas where most of the needy children are from are on high alert its impractical that they would be making the trek back home alone.
what can be done is to gather resources towards the development of new and or the expansion of proven programs to neighborhoods that actually need them most. Not to suggest that we rob the more affluent communities of their opportunities’ but resources should be allocated accordingly. Firstly as this whole blogging expedition is to spread awareness about tutor mentor programs, educate the public sector about their massive positive influence over children. And through this exposure we have to build our ranks of advocacy, the more people that follow our cause the louder our collective voice. We have to explain to our potential large sponsors that this investment will indeed benefit them in the end. Make it so this plan appear mutually lucrative to both the beneficiaries and the benefactors.
Individuals can definitely put in a good effort to influence students away from street violence, but how much can an individual actually do. Sometimes they are successful in helping a few students, and even they can make all the difference. Maybe those students can then spread the good influence, which I have certainly seen with my own eyes. However, when clubs and after school programs should be opened up, the funds become invisible. If the government and organizations would put their investment into programs which help kids, then we would have less poverty when these kids see what they can really do with themselves. Just a few kids can make all the difference as previously mentioned. These students can have brilliant minds; they just need to be shaped. When all the bad influence surrounds them, it is difficult for them to develop their true talents rather than using their street smarts to get out of dangerous situations. The government complains so much about poverty stricken neighborhoods, yet they aren’t giving enough to them. They just give money to the top when they begin to fall behind. However, what if money was given to the bottom? Doesn’t that make for a better support system? I believe so. If organizations and businesses gave to poorer schools, they make a better name for themselves and create a better neighborhood. Success may not be seen right away, but I’m sure it will in good time.
These proposed solutions can be accomplished through increased programs throughout the southwest side with special attention paid to the impoverished areas. While most of the neighborhoods are well off, the neighborhoods closer to the Loop suffer from poverty. The advantages of more tutor mentor programs is the installation of success in young people’s minds, the desire for education, and increasing the overall well being of the individual and community. Individuals can volunteer their personal time which is at no monetary cost but only a few hours of their time every week. These volunteers can revel in the pleasure of being helpful and shaping the future. More people can start blogs about tutoring and mentoring to raise awareness online and thus throughout the nation. National awareness will cause others to re-evaluate the tutor-mentoring programs in their area and improve them.
Hopefully in the future, when a new group of students come in, they can pick up were we have left off. With fresh minds at work, they may need some help. If they want to make an impact in their area, they’re going to have to start reaching out more. Its time to put their cause out there and make themselves heard. They can start writing to big companies that like to donate to non-profit organizations or write a proposal that outlines the needs of the children living in their area. When writing the blogs, they should inform the reader while grabbing their attention. Make the reader think, what can they do to get involved. If possible it would be informative and effective to write a piece in the local newspaper to make the community aware of what needs to be done to help the current organizations stay afloat, while outlining the benefits of starting new programs in the neighborhood.
With this new group of students coming in, it would be great to get them involved with the actual tutor/mentor programs. Have them go out to these locations to talk to the mentors and mentees. The students could really get a look at how all these programs work, while finding out more about the children that go there. This would make an excellent blog, as it would give the reader an inside look at these programs and make them feel connected to one of the children that go there. A picture is a must, so that the reader can have a face to think of when pondering tutor/mentor programs. The more effort these new students put into their work, there will be a better reaction and overall outcome.

The Southwest Region of Chicago is eclectic in ethnicities, finances and resources. This week we researched the census data and statistics and applied them to our neighborhoods to make conclusions about the student populations.

Marquette Park
There are approximately 8526 students between the ages of 0 and 18 living in Marquette Park. Of these students, approximately 3200 studnts participate in the three tutor-mentor programs in the neighborhood. These programs are geographically close to each other, leaving the rest of Marquette Park student population without close proximity to a tutoring programs. If there were more geographically diverse tutoring programs, more students could participate. At this present time, 5300 students have no where to go after school, leaving them prone to gang involvement, drugs and violence.

Gage Park
SWYC and Metro are two of only a handful of community based organizations serving a populous made up of 47,298 families and 36,578 youth ages 10 to 19 years of age in the Gage Park community. Altogether, less than 25% of the student population are serviced by these organizations. This is a tragic percentage, since the population of students is so large. We definitely need to raise that number so that more children in the area can take advantage of the programs offered by tutor/mentoring services.

Chicago Lawn
The total amount of children living in Chicago lawn is about 15,000. With there being a limited amount of tutor/mentor programs in the area, not even a quarter of the children attend them. Some of the programs in the area also only target a specific group of children. With there being so many children living in this neighborhood, there needs to be a stronger initiative for the funding and constructing of tutor/mentor in the area. Even though the community is trying to help and get involved, there also needs to be support from local businesses. The children of Chicago Lawn need these programs.

Englewood
The Population total is 45,517 including all ages, youths between the ages 10-19 make up 8,759 or 19% of the total demographic.Englewood is lackin in options for available tutor programs which would explain the low number of students which are served which totals at 2588 or aprroximatley 30%. It would be a sounds prediction to say that the remaining students are absorbed by the school run tutor programs.

Bridgeport
Bridgeport has a small community consisting of 2,085 people, as of the 2000 U.S. census. There are 171 children five to nine years old, 173 kids 10 to 14 years, and 155 kids 15 to 19 years. Since the community has a pretty low population and the neighborhood has a big tutor-mentoring program as well as various programs in and out of school, the drop-rate and crime rate is pretty low. The proportion of the total number of kids ages five to nineteen, which is around 500, compared to the total number of them in tutor-mentor programs is close enough that they all get a sufficient attention and none of them are neglected like many other neighborhoods with an overwhelming number of kids.

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/

Last week we read an enlightening academic article about the economic, health and crime effects of impoverished neighborhoods. The article took a new argument and made it applicable to everyone because the author used examples that effect everyone. Poverty costs us half a trillion dollars in wasted GDP because these individuals lack jobs, lack income and lack opportunities which do not add to our economy. Children who live in impoverished households are more likely to be impoverished as an adult. The effects are most severe when the children are younger because they lack essentials like pediatric health care, early education and nutrition. In addition to economic effects, their health is considerably negatively effected because of the environment. The environment is no conducive to proper health care, it is very unsanitary and smoggy and they lose “health capital.” Impoverished areas also have higher crime rates which everyone has to pay for in the form of police and court systems. Poverty affects everyone in a community and in a country.

Bridgeport

Bridgeport is a middle class neighborhood, consisting of blue collar and white collar workers.  Its crime and poverty rates are not at a high level; in fact, the rates are lower ranking than other Chicago neighborhoods.  Although the only documented tutor-mentoring program in Bridgeport is the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago-Louis L. Valentine Club, there are most likely after-school programs and a lot of help within the schools, and there are many elementary schools in the area to boost child development for future education, resulting in the low crime rate.

Englewood

Englewood is a lower class community near the border of famous Hyde Parkm, consisting of mostly lower end wage workers. In terms of Tutor-Mentor programs, this community is severly lacking despite the area being peppered with many schools ranging from K -12 which would indicate a large adolescent population. Tutor-Mentor programs are practically non-exsistent in Englewood. It is likley that the schools may host their own form of tutor-mentor programs for the youth just nothing memorable. Though on the contrary, there has been some recent initative to keep the youth off the streets through the creation of recreational programs but their effects have not yet been calculated.

Gage Park

Gage Park is a neighborhood where most of the households average around $30,000, slightly above poverty level. The resources available to the neighborhood reflect the low incomes. The neighborhood has limited tutor/mentor programs (only about six, located in and around the community), even though they have a very high population of school-aged children. Clearly, the resources do not supply enough for the demand and this causes a discrepency. There is a shortage of resources for children, which leads to poorer test scores, and academic achievement which leads to more poverty in the child’s future.

Chicago Lawn/Marquette Park

No information was collected for Marquette Park because the Tutor-Mentor Search Engine includes it within Chicago Lawn boundaries. Chicago Lawn is a great neighborhood that has a median income of $47,017, and has many resources for the area such as, the YMCA with their mission of  “Help them belong, Help them become” the strive for youth to deepen positive values. The Arab American Action Network, which provides many services in cluding After school Matters, a tutoring program for youth involving creative writing. The last is the Latino Organization of the Southwest, an organization that provides gang provention and GED classes. Overall Chicago Lawn is a great place with many resources.

The Southwest Neighborhoods of Chicago display a variety of landscapes, incomes, cultures, and people. They make up the Southwest region of Chicago. Places like Chicago Lawn, Bridgeport, Marquette Park, Guage Park and Englewood are various in their facets of lifestyles and contexts. There is a vast mix of low income and middle class  incomes, poverty and wealth and resources and scarcity.

Gauge Park does have useful resources for children and adults of all ages, it does have a dangerously high crime rate. The public schools in Gage Park are not known for having the best reputation, but Chicago public schools in general do not have the best reputations overall. Though there are a few tutor/mentor programs, there aren’t nearly enough to service all of the children who might benefit from those programs. The area needs a little “cleaning up.” The lower socioeconomic status personified by most of the people living there makes Gage Park a more dangerous area in which to live. Personally, I would look for a less crime-infested area with similar resources if I were moving.

Chicago Lawn is located on the southwest side of Chicago. The local’s residents call the area “Marquette Park”. In the beginning it was populated primarily by people of Lithuanian descent, and their presence has remained strong, but by the 1990’s the area has become more diverse with the integration of African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians. There is also a strong Jewish community. This multi-ethnic community of 62,000 is a wonderful place to raise a family and has reasonable home prices and has a great community. The red brick Chicago–styled bungalows range from $50,000 to $250,000 which makes Chicago Lawn one of the most affordable neighborhoods on the Southside. The median income is $47,017. Overall it’s a tight community working together and trying to get others to come and support their neighborhood.

Marquette Park, a small region within Chicago Lawn, boasts many different cultural neighborhoods but a predominately Lithuanian population lives there. There are a substantial amount of Latino and African American populations, but the Lithuanian culture dominates as they created a hospital and a few schools. While there are few schools in Marquette Park, the high schools are experiencing a raise in violent incidences and gang related activity. However, the 300 acre park in Marquette Park provides recreation for the community in the form of golf courses, meeting rooms, theater, and lagoon for their enjoyment. Marquette Park is 33 blocks from downtown so many people go downtown (or at least closer to the Loop) for shopping, either for groceries or otherwise. Public transport runs through the city but it doesn’t have many stops and people mainly use their cars in Marquette Park. Overall, Marquette Park is a quiet suburb outside the Loop.

Englewood is a predominately African American neighborhood within the southwestern region of Chicago. The African American population totals approximately 98% of the ethnic body of the area. With an average property value of $77,000, the low property value is probably accredited to the high crime rate of the area which has spiked from last year up from 35% of the cities total crimes. Remarkably most of these crimes were either robberies or homicides, it can be justly stated that the growing unemployment rate which has hit 9.20% an all time high for the community. This lack of community revenue has adversely affected the availability of any sort of after school activities. Though a few organizations such as the program at Amos Stagg Stadium and Human Math Tutoring Program there is a severe lack of sufficient programs considering the large adolescent population. But the community does boast an abundance of public transport which travels the main arteries of the city offering excellent access to the Loop.

Bridgeport is the home of the Chicago White Sox and U.S. Cellular Field. It has the most beautiful architecture, old churches, and generations of history. There are plenty of places to dine at, especially great Italian restaurants like La Fontanella, Graziano’s, and Franco’s. Ricobenne’s is known for its amazing breaded steak sandwich. There are many schools including Healy, Armour, James Ward, Santa Lucia, and Attucks in this area, which may be why the crime and poverty rate are lower than most places. Transportation is one of the most important features to the neighborhood; the CTA can be used for travel around the city with buses and trains, and the Metra for longer distances. Midway airport is only about seven miles away from the neighborhood. The average price in the six months ending June 30, 2005 for a single family home was around $327,277. Attached homes and condos sold for an average of $188,634. There is crime everywhere in Chicago, but from experience and local reviews, Bridgeport does not seem to have a very high crime rate. The kind of people living in this neighborhood are mostly blue collar and white collar workers, and the population is mostly white, and from as many times as I have been there, there are many Italians.