Archive for October, 2009

First Looks at Tutoring/Mentoring

Ukrainian Village:

The Ukrainian Village is home to several schools and churches, but not many tutoring and mentoring programs. One program in particular is the Community Building Tutors.

"We're not afraid ...to get our hands dirty."

"We're not afraid ...to get our hands dirty."

Although this group’s main priority is not completely centered on academic success, the volunteers working with the group work one-on-one with students in grade school and high school to promote community. By creating projects, each child and others are educated on the benefits of living in a community-concentrated environment. The program successfully grabs students’ attentions with interesting projects, including 2-minute videos based on community, completed over a twelve-week period. Along side this, each student pairing focuses on the younger student’s homework and additional learning games.

“The program strives for a balance between learning and fun to ensure that both the volunteer and the student enjoy and benefit from the time they spend together.”

–Program Description, Community Building Tutors

The reasons for the lack of tutoring and mentor programs in the Ukrainian Village are unknown to our group. We figure that this problem may have something to do with either the Ukrainian Village’s average population’s class rank, or its past attachment to West Town. Despite its citizen’s middle class standing or detachment from West Town, the Ukrainian Village should still have a larger variety of programs for its students.

Little Italy and Greek Town:

While researching for tutor and mentor programs in the Little Italy and Greek Town neighborhoods I came across Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. This institution is located in the Greek Town neighborhood and it has been in operation since 1887. Mercy Home for Boys and Girls is a residence facility for children and young adults ages that range from 11 to 21 years old.  Mercy Home for Boys and Girls provides a safe enviroment where full potential can be reached for a successful life.

Mercy Home is a private organization that is funded by generous people from across the United States. Also Mercy home is a member to numerous associations like the Child Care Association of Illinois, the Illinois Association of Youth Care Workers, and many more. Mercy Home for Boys and Girls is an accredited child care facility and a licensed child welfare agency. This facility is great but only benefits those who are residents of the facility not all the members of the community.

Greek Town and Little Italy only possessed two tutor mentor programs that benefit the community and one of those facilities was a private institution. This concludes that there is only one other facility for both of these communities. More tutor and mentor programs are in need in the communities of Greek Town and Little Italy to accomodate all the children in the neighborhood.

Albany Park:

Albany Park is a community where most immigrants are residing. They do not have sufficient resources as other wealthy communities in Chicago. However, Albany Park does have a tutoring/ mentoring program located at 5121 N. Kimball.

Albany Park Community Center

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Albany Park Community Center provides families with plenty of resources. Unemployed individuals have the opportunity to find jobs here. This organization also emphasizes on persuading people to volunteer to benefit the lives of individuals in need in our community. There is other 15 other programs within this large facility. APCC is very beneficial in working with students after school with their homework and/or preparing them for a test.

Even though there is only one tutoring and mentoring program at Albany Park, I believe that this program is very efficient throughout the neighborhood and for most individuals.

Logan Square:

The Logan Square neighborhood, holds many useful resources, but it doesn’t have many tutoring/mentor programs. However, I was able to find one particular program name ASPIRAASPIRA is committed to give the youth of Latino’s the ability to make correct decisions towards their educational journey.

ASPIRA attends rally in Springfield, against the cutting of funds used for programs.

ASPIRA is held through clubs, who are established in thirty-three CPS schools. Apart from the clubs, ASPIRA also has a variety of programs. One of their many programs is the SES (Student Educational Service) program. Which is a tutoring program that helps students to achieve academic growth. Each student will have individual attention and support in all subjects.

ASPIRA might seem like it just helps and tutors children. However, it does much more than that. That is why its important for programs such as ASPIRA to continue on helping students and expand throughout the Chicago area.

Humboldt Park:

Humboldt Park offers its residents endless possibilities of valuable resources that can help enrich the community. One program thatoffers a wide variety of services to the community is: The  Union League Boys and Girls Clubs.

Humboldt Park has a varies tutor/mentor programs that serve the community but the Union League Boys and Girls Club has beenthe most influential. They have been in the neighborhood for almost 40 years.

The Union League Boys and Girls Clubs exist to promote the social, moral, vocational, physical, and educational development of youngsters residing in Chicago. They are about 14 tutor mentor programs that help the community. There is such a high number of tutor mentor programs because of all the children that live in the neighborhood.

The tutor mentor programs are helpful to not only the children they help but the community as a whole. By educating and helping the kids become better people, they are fostering a better future for Humboldt Park because after all, today’s kids are tomorrow’s leaders.

Poverty and Children

After reading an arcticle known as “the economic cost of childhood poverty in the United States” by Harry J. Holzer, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Greg J. Duncan, and Jens Ludwig, we began to reflect over the issue of poverty in our Chicago neighborhoods. Amongst our group’s selection of neighborhoods, the amount of poverty varies incredibly. In Humboldt Park, the poverty level is about 30%, and currently has about six different tutoring programs available for children. On the other hand, in a neighborhood such as the Ukrainian Village, where the poverty level is significantly lower, there are only about two tutoring programs in the area. Despite this connection, there is still Albany Park, which has a slightly lower poverty level than Humboldt Park with an average of 20%, and yet only has about two programs.

Around the neighborhoods within Chicago’s northwest side, help has not been provided equally, leaving several neighborhoods without the amount of tutoring and mentoring programs needed. Although the poorest neighborhoods need the most help with keeping children out of trouble, other areas should not be forgotten. Albany Park and other neighborhoods like it should not be overlooked. Even low poverty neighborhoods such as Logan Square and the Ukrainian Village deserve some more programs. As of right now, no one can predict how low this economy will sink, and being able to prevent any further problems will make a big difference.