The Final Blog of the Northwest Side Group 2010

How many times have you turned on the television lately and seen numerous advertisements for the candidates of the recent election? On these advertisements candidates spent billions of dollars simply to attack their opponent. What if all that money was used to support tutor/mentor programs in different neighborhoods? To create more awareness on this issue, letters to the elected leaders on the need for funding and success stories on the programs would emphasize the need.

Upon researching the Northwest side of Chicago, we found that many of the centers were funded by the government with a small percentage of private donors. This showed us how important that government funding is to these programs. While government funding is very important, there are many regulations on how this money is spent. Private donations can be used for anything the center feels is necessary.

In order to get more active supporters in these programs, elected officials could supply more incentives to the private donors and volunteers. These incentives could include tax-deductions, proof of involvement, and inclusion in the program.

Our advice to the next group of students writing these blogs, would be really getting involved in the research. It is important to take an interest in what you are finding and keep an open mind through it all. The next focus for the group should be continuing these programs, volunteering and spreading the knowledge.

How Are These Programs Being Funded?

In Logan Square, 2/3 of the centers get government funding (mainly from Illinois Department of Human Services). The other center, Logan Square Boys and Girls Club, is funded by fundations and private donors. Christopher House is mainly sponsored by U.S. Cellular and also gets funds from the Secretary of State Office. This closely compares to Metro Achievement Center which is mainly funded by Walgreens- another bug corporation. Metro was one of our service trips destinations last week.

 

In Humboldt Park, both centers have many ways for private donations. SELF has a partnership with the Chicago Public Schools and others in the community. El Centro Nuestro is associated with a private company- United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.

Albany Park’s few centers are mainly funded by the community and private donors. Since this is a higher-income area, it makes sense that alot of their funding comes from the community.

Tutor/Mentor Programs

This week, we researched the tutor/mentor programs on the Northwest side. The results throughout our three areas varied greatly. In Humboldt Park there were 7 centers with tutor/mentor programs. The Chicago Youth Center, Centro Nuestro and The SELF: Sembrando El Futuro were two of the 7 center researched.  The SELF center works along side of Juvenile Justice Diversion program which is referred by the Cook county Juvenile court CAP police station that places children in the centers rather than having to go through criminal prosecution for some children. Both of these centers offered many services for bilingual students. This is a common factor between all our areas, which is understandable after researching schools last week and the demographics of the neighborhoods. Logan Square has three tutor/mentor programs, and two of them emphasize the ESL program. Specifically, Christopher House and Logan Square Neighborhood Association work with the bilingual students. Lastly was Albany Park – which came up with no centers strictly working with children. Many private tutors were found during researching this area.  The Albany Park Community Center offers tutoring for children but mainly aimed towards adults. It is possible that the students get tutored inside their personal schools. This could relate to the fact that Albany Park is a higher-income neighborhood compared to Humboldt Park; which is an area of lower-income households. Another similarity is that Logan Square and Humboldt Park are in need of volunteers in their facilities. Even though there are many differences between our neighborhoods in the Northwest side, there are still similarities in the programs they provide.

Education in the Northwest Side

We were happy to see that the schools with the websites had emphasized parent involvement. They encouraged parents to attend events, get involved, and be a part of their children’s education. They do this by making the website easy to navigate and posting events on a public calendar.

Another thing that we have noticed is that majority of the students that attend the schools in the Northwest side of Chicago, were of Hispanic descent. In Albany Park, Asian students make up almost 1/3 of the student population. There was also a large population of African-American students that attend the schools.

While trying to find this information about the schools in these areas we ran into a problem. For many of the schools there was a great lack of websites offering information. Making a website would allow potential future students, parents, and donors to contribute to the community.

The New Group Takes Over the Northwest Side

The last group did an amazing job introducing the Northwest Side, so we will try to continue in their footsteps to provide more information about these great areas.  We will be expanding on the information about Humboldt Park, Albany Park, and Logan Square.  We chose to research this area because we are originally from the Northern suburbs and Indiana.  So far, we have been to Cabrini Connnections and the youth center in Bronzeville.  We enjoyed both site visits and now we will be able to share our experiences and also compare these sites to other tutor/mentor programs in the Northwest neighborhoods.  We are really looking forward to learning more about these areas and to further educate our readers.

A Final Blog – Group 2 (2009)

Conclusions

Comparing our neighborhoods, we were able to draw a couple of conclusions. First, we realized that many of these children come from low poverty areas, which can affect them in many ways. One way that they can be affected is by lowering their educational opportunities. Children growing up in these neighborhoods see crime, gang violence and drug dealing, and sooner or later they become immune to it. Once they become immune to these types of activities, they will soon forget about their education. Also, having to grow up in a neighborhood where the community doesn’t emphasize education advancements, it’s more likely for children to do poor in school.

When comparing out neighborhoods, we realize that each one has a couple of private/public schools and at least two tutoring/mentor programs. However, we recognize a difference between the numbers of schools within each neighborhood. For example, the Ukrainian Village, Albany Park, and Logan Square have many public schools compared to other neighborhoods. Yet, we should keep in mind that some of our neighborhoods are much bigger than others.

Towards the end of the research, we have become conscious of the fact that many of these neighborhoods are still in need of tutoring/mentor programs. Despite a school’s general academic standing, there will always be children that are in need of extra academic help. There will also always be children that need more positive reinforcement during their journey towards higher education. They should also understand that even though there are tutoring/mentor programs in their neighborhood, not every child has the chance to join, simply because tutoring/mentor programs have very few slots to offer.

Solutions

A way to also help these neighborhoods is by encouraging individuals to volunteer. By volunteering, they can help kids who need extra academic help and more positive influences. It is imperative for other students to volunteer to help other students. Despite all the negative statistics recently created about adolescents, there are still a large number of teenagers that can make a positive influence on another individual. These adolescents can work to help their less fortunate counterparts, who may not have had the same amount of positive reinforcement during their childhoods. Having a high number of volunteers, it not only informs children that they have someone to come to when they need assistance, but there is someone that cares about them and their education.

A bigger solution would be for corporations and the government to take a higher interest in these tutoring/mentor programs and donate. They should come to understand that tutoring/mentor programs are crucial to a productive learning environment. Tutoring/mentor programs are in need of funds every year, and it’s important they receive them in order to keep helping children. There is an increasing variety of negative influences that may affect a student’s ability to succeed in school. If children are unsuccessful with receiving an education, the future of the world will be greatly affected. This, in turn, will then affect the success of the government and multiple corporations. The children of today are the future, and everything should be done to help them succeed.

What about the future?

To the next group who will pick up where our class has left off, we suggest to do as much as you can with this assignment. Work together, and use each other’s strengths.  Come up with new ideas to inform the Chicago area of what being a “tutoring/mentor program” means. Clearly from our posts, we liked to post pictures. That was our way to make our posts more visually appealing. What we never did, but could have been persuasive, was profiling different students in individual tutoring/mentor programs. Sharing success stories of students who have attended or are currently in tutoring/mentor programs may have a bigger impact on the reader.

More importantly, understand the importance of tutoring/mentor programs. Know that what is commonly overlooked is the struggle of some students in relatively good schools. At any school, regardless of its academic profile, there will be a number of students that need additional academic help. Take note of the students you encounter at the individual programs you discover, and be aware of your own classmates in school. As in the case of some students at DePaul University, there are students that are in need of more help with academic work. Seeing this first hand in college and during high school, it is evident that tutoring programs are important.

Best of luck with continuing our work with this assignment. You may not realize this upon being assigned to work on this blog, but this project is a beautiful thing that will make a big impact on the Chicago area, and you’re prospective on tutoring/mentor programs.

Sincerely,

Group 2

Ana P., Arlene H., Jazmin S., Jessica N., and Raul O.
Explore Chicago 111, Growing Up in Chicago
Class of 2013

UPDATE: Statistics

Greetings to our readers on this lovely week before Thanksgiving!

As we bring this November to a close, giving thanks to all of our blessing, we, Group 2, would like to remind you of the various blessing available to everyone. These particular blessing come in the form of the variety of tutoring/mentor programs that can be located in all Chicago area neighborhoods. Although this blog is dedicated to the programs available to students on the northwest side of Chicago, we would encourage further investigation in the other tutoring/mentor programs in other Chicago neighborhoods. To find a program in your own Chicago neighborhood, feel free to use the Cabrini Connections Program Locator:

http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/

Our group would also like to take this time to announce that we are accepting program recommendations for review on our blog. The only rule about the recommendations is that the program must be located in either Albany Park, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, the Ukrainian Village or West Town.

Please write your suggestions in a comment either on this blog or on our resources page. 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Group 2