Recently in Youth Category
By: Sydney Paul, Class of 2012
Photo Credit: World Sport Chicago
Chicago is getting restless. The NATO Summit begins in few days and we're beginning to hear about how it could affect the city. This is the first time the Summit will be held outside of Washington, D.C. and such a grand occasion will require grandiose amount of planning. But when we're talking about such a complex, large event, it is hard to remember just how many groups of people this could have an impact on.
Chicago's government administration has set up the city to host more than 50 world leaders. Chi-town's finest are prepared to protect and serve residents and guests alike. Local and visiting protesters will also be present throughout the weekend's events. And let's not forget about everyday Chicagoans who will be going to work and/or personally enjoying the city themselves on what promises to be a nice weekend weather wise. Seems like we've covered all parties, right? Well, where do Chicago's youngest citizens fall in this equation?
By Michael Lipkowitz, Class of 2012
Twelve kids get on the wrong school bus. First the bus takes them to different places in Chicago--Lincoln Park Zoo, the Loop, the middle of Lake Michigan. Suddenly the bus swerves westward and speeds them across the country to California. The kids get out to enjoy the sunshine, only to discover a moment later that the bus is revving up to speed them to New York City. They hop in with glee as they speed across the wide-open deserts of Nevada.
This is not the latest story ripped from the headlines; rather, it is a creative piece written by a group of twelve 3rd-to-6th graders in an elementary school on Chicago's South Side. They are part of Southside Scribblers, an after-school creative writing program run by University of Chicago undergraduates. Scribblers is a Community Service Recognized Student Organization that has been around since 1994, starting out its life as Student Teachers.
According to Chicago Police reports, last year there were over 400 homicides in Chicago, approximately half of which were victims under 26 years old. One year earlier in 2009, the city made national news when the story of Derrion Albert's beating death made headlines. Two months prior to his death, CNN aired a special report on "Chicago's Deadly Streets", investigating the cause of violence in the city. The attention the city has received is not desired, but certainly needed. Stories of tragedy can be insights of empathic understanding and warrants for change; however we should recognize that not all actions and events can be explained. It's nearly impossible to imagine that statistically a person dies every day in Chicago from some form of violence. It's even harder to understand the reason why these events occur, but many are trying and are using this understanding to stop cycles of violence.
The Interrupters is a new documentary that bridges the gap between those who do work to address the problem of violence in Chicago and those who want to be informed. The Kartemquin Films produced work has received much praise for its ability to metaphorically pull audiences into what some call the "war zone" of West and South sides Chicago. Filmmakers follow CeaseFire, a Chicago-based violence prevention group which has one goal in mind: to save a life. CeaseFire employs "Interrupters" - themselves ex-offenders - who intervene, mediate and attempt to prevent violent acts from occurring, one incident at a time. Interrupters have lived the life of those they seek to influence, which makes it great strategy in effectively reaching out to their communities. It is through the words and actions of these Interrupters that audiences of the film leave with a better understanding of what CeaseFire calls the disease of violence.
The Chicago Project HEALTH site is pleased to announce our name change to Health Leads.
Health Leads is still a national organization (and University of Chicago RSO), and we remain committed as ever to alleviating the factors of poor health in our communities. Over 90 UChicago student volunteers work with patients at 4 area health centers across the South Side to help them obtain food, safe housing, employment, child care, and more. Last year over 5,000 families were aided by Health Leads volunteers. It's a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in medicine, public policy, public health, or community involvement. We'd love to have you join our team!
If you're interested in applying, please visit our website at www.healthleadsusa.org to view and complete the Chicago application (Go to "Get Involved-->Volunteer"). The applications are due Thursday, January 13 at 10pm.
We are also hosting 3 information sessions during first and second weeks to give an overview of our program, go over details of the application process, and share volunteer stories of time spent with Project HEALTH.
Info Session Dates:
Thursday, Jan 6 @ 6:00 pm, Harper 145
Monday, Jan 10 @ 7:00pm, Harper 141
Tuesday, Jan 11 @ 6:30pm, Harper 135
Chicago VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES, as listed in the University Community Service Center Newsletter:
King College Prep After School Tutoring Center
King College Prep, located at 45th and Drexel, runs an after-school tutoring center for its students. Students from all grades are welcome and come for homework assistance, help understanding subject material, and help studying for exams. Volunteers who can tutor in all high school subjects, but especially world languages, sciences, and math, are sought. Tutors must demonstrate proficiency in the material they tutor and must be interested in working with teens. Previous experience tutoring or working with youth is a plus, but not required. The tutoring center is open Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5 pm. Volunteers are required to make a mimimum 2 hour commitment per week, and must come on the same day every week.
Interested individuals can email their inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 413-244-6737. They should email their availability, relevant experience and areas of tutoring expertise.
Volunteer tutoring opportunity at Urban Prep Academy in East Garfield Park!
Research shows that only 1 in 40 African American males will graduate from college. Only 45% will even graduate high school in Chicago. But you can be a part of the effort to reduce this trend. Urban Prep Academy is a charter high school that serves African American students from the South and West Sides of Chicago. Currently, Urban Prep is looking for enthusiastic, service-oriented book lovers to lead twice-weekly reading skills groups at our school. UChicago students who want to contribute their intelligence, enthusiasm and dedication to helping the young men of Urban Prep succeed, this is for you. Here are the details:
* Lead a tutoring group to improve student literacy or lead a book discussion group to encourage young men to read outside the classroom. Students will be broken into groups based on their reading levels. Abilities range from non-readers (2nd grade competency or below) to highly literate (12th grade competency or above), so there is a wide variety of teaching opportunities available.
* Meet for one hour twice a week. Times and days are flexible, based on your availability. Groups can meet during the school day from 11-12pm or after school from 4-5pm. Groups will be held at Urban Prep Academy, East Garfield Park Campus, right off the Green Line.
* Why: Currently, 71% of incoming freshmen are reading below grade level and 66% of our sophomores are still behind. The faculty only has so much time in the day, so they are hoping to find qualified students to help.
If you would like to get involved, email Sara at email@example.com or call 773.354.4960 for more information. To learn more about what Urban Prep Academies is all about, please see our website at www.urbanprep.org.
Mark your calendars for some great events for students who want to explore Chicago, coming up this week and next:
TODAY Oct 1-31
Art Here, Art Now
Off Campus (see description)
HyPa and the University of Chicago invite you to celebrate Chicago Artists Month: Chicago's theme this year, "the city as studio," explores the impact of the urban environment on Chicago artists and their work, and the contributions that artists make to the vitality of our city. Art Here, Art Now is one of 12 Featured Programs for the 2010 Chicago Artists Month activities.
View local artists' installations 24/7 in the windows along 53rd Street and watch local artists at work during studio hours every Saturday in October from 1pm-5pm.
THURSDAY: Oct 14
Tutoring Volunteer Info Session
Reynolds Club, South Lounge
Learn about tutoring and mentoring opportunities in the local community from the University Community Service Center and representatives from local education organizations.
Where: HyPa Gallery, 5226 S. Harper Ave. in Hyde Park
When: 3:00pm, every Sunday in October
- "Jammin' the Blues" (1944), Oscar-nominated short featuring Lester Young, Red Callender, Illinois Jacquet, and Marie Bryant
- "The March of Time presents American Music" (1937) Jukebox films featuring Cootie Williams, Laurel Watson, and the Lindy Hoppers
- "Symphony in Black" (1935), featuring Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday
- "Ration Blues" (1945), featuring Louis Jordan, Una Mae Carlisle, and Hilda Rogers
- "Jumpin' at the Woodside" (from 1941 film Hellzapoppin'), featuring Slim Galliard, Slam Stewart, and the Lindy Hoppers
Each Sunday in October, the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival and the Hyde Park Alliance for Arts and Culture present an afternoon of rare jazz films from the 1930s through the somewhat recent past, shown on genuine 16mm film.
How much: $5 suggested donation
Great Conversations Lecture Series: An Evening with Earl Shorris
12:00 - 1:30 pm - SSA
5:30-7:30 PM - Gleacher Center
Earl Shorris is the founder of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, the award-winning global program that uses the humanities in antipoverty efforts. A contributing editor of Harper's Magazine, he has received the National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Clinton, and the Condecoracion de la Orden del Aguila Azteca. His books include Riches for the Poor: the Clemente Course in the Humanities, The Politics of Heaven: America in Fearful Times, New American Blues: A Journey Through Poverty to Democracy, and Under the Fifth Sun: A Novel of Pancho Villa.
But while we were worrying about getting mugged, more than 36 Chicago Public School students were killed, most by gunfire, during the past school year. And Ludwig was more interested in talking about how gun violence is affecting students in the city's public schools. That includes children like Nequiel, a ten year-old girl who was killed last September after members of the Latin Kings gang opened fire on their rivals, the Latin Dragons, around Chicago's 8700 S. block, he said, playing a slide-show of her faimily.
According to Ludwig, Chicago has some of the highest homicide rates in the United States after Detroit, St. Louis and Baltimore, because of social problems like poverty and gang violence. He blames public schools in part for failing to keep children at the bottom of the educational achievement percentile engaged in school. Instead, youth who can find more stability in gangs than at school or at home may turn to violence to vent their frustrations, he said--and if they have access to a gun, that violence can turn lethal.
Impulsive behavior, especially the tendency of young people who feel unhappy to overreact to provocation, is just one factor in the youth gun violence equation that Crime Lab would like to see combated through mental health and counseling programs.
Crime Lab is also examining ways to make prisoner re-entry programs more effective and training more police officers to deal with these issues.
Ludwig (and I do, too) recommends this very insightful series on youth violence and education in the Chicago Tribune.
Throughout the day, several hundred high school and junior high students led or attended workshops and presented research about topics ranging from Renaissance 2010 to the foreclosure crisis. I attended a workshop about the controversial Willie Lynch letter and the unsourced Let's Make a Slave text that often accompanies it. Rather than using these texts as basis for a historical lecture, the students used them as a starting point to examine social power and oppression. The presenters and the audience handled the difficult source material maturely and pushed to make it relevant to their lived experience -- fulfilling the expo's goal of collaborative teaching and learning about social justice.
At the end of the day, students regrouped for a "talent show," sharing poetry, spoken word pieces, songs, and even some very impressive footwork, both from audience members and a Chicago footwork troupe, the FootworKINGZ.
The expo showed off the best qualities of Chicago youth -- creativity, intelligence, self-reflection, energy, and compassion.