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Wild Wild Southwest’s Cowboys and Cowgirls For Social Change Ride Off Into the Sunset, the Dawn Of Possibility Near At Hand November 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 7:20 am

In our country, advertising is A Big Deal.

Entities like clothing retailers, food production companies, Google (2), and even the pharmaceutical industry (1) spend millions of dollars on advertising each year. They do this in hopes of selling more of whatever product it is that they are marketing. Politicians spend tons of cash on advertising as well (3) (4) in order to support their most important products—themselves. It’s incredible that politicians can claim to care “more than the other guy” about their constituents and the issues that their communities face, but still continue to spend thousands (sometimes into the millions; as the level of the governmental position ascends, so do expenditures) of dollars on self-promotion. These are thousands of dollars that could easily be put toward helping those whose needs are significantly direr than the need to be reelected.

Of course, no politician would willingly choose to spend less money on campaign advertising; to put less metaphorical fuel into the proverbial coal-burning engine that got one elected would be viewed as sabotage. One cannot blame the politician, however; it is politics as a whole that is awry. If a politician does not advertise, people will not know about him or her. Accordingly, they will likely vote for his or her rival who is better advertised simply because more is known about said rival.

In other words, governmental candidates feel like they must spend exorbitant amounts of money in order to even show up on the political radar. We as citizens can fix this problem by becoming more knowledgeable and well-informed about politics, thereby eliminating the need for excessive political ads that tell us information that could easily be discovered by one on one’s own.

We can contribute to the redistribution of government funds not only by being informed, but also by being vocal. Oftentimes, people fail to realize how important their voices are, especially in regards to local government. Politicians must answer their constituents in order to be elected or reelected. Thus, if enough people express the feeling that a need for government financing of tutor/mentor programs, something will more likely than not be done to rectify the issue.

Unfortunately, governmental funding of these types of programs might draw criticism in today’s cash-strapped economy. It is doubtful that citizens would respond positively to an increase in taxes to pay for additional education for underprivileged children when they themselves are struggling to get by. However, while funding tutor/mentor programs might be unadvisable, it would cost a politician very little to speak out regarding the need for funding from other sources. Most tutor-mentor program funds in our neighborhoods came from private and corporate donors. If a public official spoke out on the necessity for these donations to continue (and maybe promised a tax-deduction for the companies and individuals that do donate to such causes), tutor-mentor programs would surely benefit financially.

Companies who donated, too, would benefit from the positive publicity that their donations would receive; if politicians stressed the importance of the donations, corporations could tote their “social consciousness” when looking to sell their products.

Alas, it comes full circle: it all boils down to advertising and selling and making money.

Find your ward’s alderman and tell him/her to get involved in the tutor-mentor effort: http://www.chicityclerk.com/citycouncil/alderman/find.html

For an eye-opening look at the prevalence of advertising, check out these factioids:

  1. In 2008: “A new study by two York University researchers estimates the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development, contrary to the industry’s claim… the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spent 24.4% of the sales dollar on promotion, versus 13.4% for research and development” Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080105140107.htm
  2. “Another Internet bellwether, online auctioneer eBay Inc., consistently earmarks 14 percent to 15 percent of its revenue for advertising. Last year, eBay spent $871 million on advertising.” “Starbucks Corp. spent just $95 million on advertising last year.” Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/google-skimps-on-its-own-advertising/article788773/page2/
  3. Cash spent per candidate in 2008 election Source: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.php
  4. “How much money was spent on independent expenditure ads for this election?” Source: http://seattlepostglobe.org/2010/11/03/how-much-money-was-spent-on-independent-expenditure-ads-for-this-election

The Role of Funding October 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 8:00 pm
Funding plays a large role in a center’s ability to make a difference, for if there is no money to support programs, the children are the ones to suffer. Our group members researched our respective neighborhoods, and our findings are posted below.
For the Little Italy portion of the blog, I am going to have a focus on the top tutor-mentor center (in my opinion:) The Carole Robertson Center.

As a continuation from my other blogs on the Carole Robertson Learning Center, I will extend my evaluation of how this tutor-mentor organization stands out into funding. This week’s focus will be how Carole Robertson gets a foundation to support its enrolled children. 

The Carole Robertson Center accepts any funds they can get, as seen in the multiple paths available to donate. Government aid, special events, a wishlist, private donations, and corporate sponsors are a few of the ways to aid in the $9,625,958 yearly budget for the Carole Robertson Center. (Note: The source of this information is the 2006 annual report, available here: http://www.crcl.net/uploads/pdf/annual-report/CRCL_AnnualReport_06.pdf. The numerical budget applies only to the year 2006, the most recent data posted.)

Speaking of the annual report, its eleventh page shows a list of corporate donors and where they chose their donations to be used. The Brinson Foundation supported the Adult Learning Institute, the Kraft Employee Fund donated to the Youth Alternatives Program, the W.P & H.B. White Foundation supported the center’s programs in general, etc. etc. In addition to the breakdown of donations, the report lists corporate and private donors that supported without specifying where their funds would go.  Among these corporate sponsors are Target (a well-known business chain,) the University of Illinois (a prominent higher education school,) and SAKS Incorporated (a company owning many high-end retails stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue.) The variety in the donors shows how much of an impact The Carole Robertson Learning Center has on the community: its efforts and accomplishments reach out to businesses, colleges, stores, and much more.

What the annual report fails to mention, the website reveals.  Along with money donations, the Carole Robertson Learning Center provides two funding routes: special events and a wishlist.

The wishlist mentioned above is something unique to this center; I have not seen anything like it in any of my research (and trust me, I’ve done my research!) This ongoing post on the website–www.crcl.net for those who have not read my previous blogs–includes the following items and more: pocket dictionaries, pocket thesaruses, basketballs, CTA fare cards for the children, yarn, and pipe cleaners. The educational, social, and entertainment requests in the wishlist show how the Carole Robertson Center is so successful: they not only have a mission to improve education, but to improve the well-being of the children in general.

Overall, The Carole Robertson Center has covered all bases.  They realize individual growth is aided by the community, and use that knowledge to reach out to as many areas as possible.  The center knows asking for blank checks is irrational, and finds realistic ways to fund their programs.


Midway Metropolitan Family Services: Funding

The funding to keep this program functioning comes from a variety of sources. These sources include: foundations, generous individuals, businesses from around the Chicago area, city, state, and federal government agencies, schools, and the United Way. In the 2009 annual report, the program reported that 47% of their funding came from government grants.  Some of the corporate donors they continue to receive support from include: JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Chicago Tribune Charities, Target, Kraft Foods, United Airlines Foundation, and an endless list of others. They also receive various donations from charitable individuals.

At the end of the 2009 fiscal year on June 30, the program reported they had received an estimated $32,743,000.00 in donations. This money was allocated as follows: 81% to program services and 19% to support services across the program. This money also served an estimated 53,724 clients throughout the year. It was also estimated that the services provided have saved the state as much as $1,155,000.00 by preventing psychiatric hospitalization and providing supportive housing services through the programs it offers. The money the program receives is invested into enhancing the lives of individuals of all ages.

A complete list of donors and how the money is allocated throughout the program can be found in the 2009 annual report provided through the link below.



Gads hill center is funded by a lot of Chicago organizations. Gads Hill Center servers more than 6,000 local families each year, thanks to the generosity of all its donors. Private donations are always welcome but some of their major sponsors are:

City of Chicago


Illinois Department of Human Services

United Way Metro Chicago

Illinois State Board of Education

Wallace Foundation

Steans Family Foundation

Chicago Community Trust

Polk Bros Foundation

Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation

Prince Charitable Trusts


Cristo Rey works a bit different. They offer what is known as CIP, Corporate Internship Program. CIP allows students to earn 65% of the cost of their education by working five full days each month in entry-level positions at corporations in Chicago downtown. Some of the corporations involved are:

Bank of America

Neal Gerber Eisenberg LLP

JPMorgan Chase

Deloitte & Touche

Leo Burnett Worldwide Advertising

Jenner & Block

Loyola University Health System


Little Village has received grants and funds from foundations, private donors, and the school boards. Centers such as the Carole Robertson Center have many collaborators, government partners, and donors which include:

  • Bank of America Foundation
  • The Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation
  • The Brinson Foundation
  • The Chicago Community Trust – African American Legacy Initiative
  • CME Foundation
  • Harris Bank
  • Deloitte
  • Dollar General Literacy Foundation
  • The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
  • HSBC
  • The Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation
  • Kraft Employee Fund
  • William G. McGowan Charitable Fund
  • Midwest Learning Center for Family Support
  • Nike, Inc. Community Grant Program
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Prince Charitable Trusts
  • Prtitzker Early Childhood Foundation
  • Steans Family Foundation
  • United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
  • W.P. & H.B. White Foundation

They also have received money from the McCormick Foundation Grants for citywide literacy programs through the Chicago Tribune Charities. In 2009 Chicago Tribune Charities literacy grants rewarded them with $20,000. You can view the complete listing of the 2009 Chicago Tribune Charities literacy grants and other information about this foundation on http://chicagopressrelease.com/press-releases/mccormick-foundation-grants-nearly-1-million-for-citywide-literacy-programs-through-chicago-tribune-charities

Other tutor centers such as The Learning Center rely on personal donors. Public schools generally receive government funding, but have a difficult time being given these fund. Little Village activists and parents have even resorted to hunger strikes in 1998 then again in 2001. They eventually are given funds and are able to build a high school and a junior high school. To read more about this event and the funding you can visithttp://www.catalyst-chicago.org./

Elev8 programs are funded in part by grants from Atlantic Philanthropies, a group that aims to bring about changes in the lives of disadvantaged persons who face discrimination due to “economic situation, race, nationality, gender, age, disabilities, immigration status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religion.” This group has invested $18 million into the Elev8 Chicago school programs. Some of this money goes towards an advocacy campaign that is using these schools and their programs as a model of what middle school reform should look like. It is estimated that this campaign will garner an additional $15.8 million from local foundations, CPS, and the government.

For more on the Atlantic Philanthropies, click here: http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/about-atlantic

The state of Illinois, too, finances these programs. However, state budget cuts have affected funding for Elev8 programs in Chicago schools. In one particular school, budget cuts have almost completely annihilated an after-school program that helps keep kids in school and off the streets.


Our Programs October 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 5:49 am


Hello! Now that we have explained the education systems in the southwest region of Chicago, we are going to discuss the tutor/mentor programs that serve the children in those schools.  Because the mentoring programs tend to differ from neighborhood to neighborhood, our research will be divided into categories as it was in the last two posts.


Map of Little Italy

Map of Little Italy

Contrary to popular belief, Little Italy’s boundaries does not contain only members of the Italian background. This may have been true of the past, but modern Little Italy has a diverse racial and ethnic mix-up.  Little Italy has six tutor mentoring programs that are within a reasonable walking distance; they will be further described below.

Numbered List of Programs in Little Italy (CLICK TO ZOOM)

1. Carole Robertson Center for Learning- School Age Tutoring Program

Website: crcl.net

Contact: 312.243.7300

The Carole Robertson Center for Learning is the most impressive tutor/mentor program in my area’s vicinity. Not only does it offer programs for children from birth to age 18, but it also aims to help adults in the Chicago community.  With a focus on family oriented learning, the Carole Robertson Center proves to be a parent/child program from the get-go.  The website is colorful yet organized and has a flashing banner with different slogans appearing on each slide, one of which states, “Empowering every parent to be their child’s first teacher.”

I found the way this organization asks for donations to be interesting in that it gives the donor different options.  If one chooses to give money donations, he is given the option of deciding what aspect of the program the money will benefit.  In addition, the website shows a “Wishlist” on the page, a shopping list of sorts that includes everything from baby wipes to pocket dictionaries to video-cameras.  (Families even get a new book or toy to keep each week in the parent/child program!) The unique breakdown of specific areas that need funds sets the Carole Roberston Center apart from other tutor/mentoring programs that only offer a standard “donate here” button.

Because the program was started by a group of parents who were angry the sponsoring agency that was funding their children’s school age programs shut down, this center does all it can to reach out to the entire network of Chicago, not just the rich donors or the companies who can buy their supplies. They make it obvious that creating community leaders requires just that: community. By having a center that is open 15 hours a day and a website that can be read entirely in Spanish, the Carole Robertson Center proves through their actions how important diversity and community is in raising a child.

2. Casa Juan Diego

Website: casajuandiego.org

Contact: 312 421- 7647 ext. 307 (program director Jennifer Oneil)

The first thing I noticed upon arriving on this site was the list of sponsors on the side.  Casa Juan Diego does a great job of recognizing where their donations come from, and interestingly enough, DePaul University happens to be one of the sponsors! It turns out that this program is Catholic-based, possibly explaining why our school supports it so much.

Much like the Carole Robertson Center, Casa Juan Diego places a large emphasis on parent involvement in the development of children.  It offers at least ten family events per year, and was started by a group of parents wanting to better their living community.  The same group of 12 original parents now make up the Parent’s Council, functioning to oversee activities, events, and to plan for the organization.

Casa Juan Diego is individual in that it serves mainly Latino families, has a full-fledged youth ministry, and was founded more recently (1996) than most of the other organizations in the area.

3. Gads Hill Center

Website: gadshillcenter.org

Contact: (312) 226-0963 ext.221

Gads Hill Center is the most persuasive program in regard to showing how diverse and culturally open they are in my area.  The organization “welcomes all backgrounds, regardless of race or background,” according to their website (multiple places on said website, to be exact.) The page is more centralized in its links, and has a large section dedicated to News and Events, something that is beneficial for all members of the community.  Gads Hill Center is focused extremely on education, giving data reflecting poor test scores and high school dropouts in hopes to change those statistics, one child at a time.

4. El Valor School-Age Program

Website: elvalor.org

Contact: 312.997.2021 / 312.666.4511

El Valor has a section I have not seen in any tutor/mentoring programs thus far: help for students with disabilities. Other programs may work with disabled students, but the quick web-surfer would never know because none advertise it as El Valor does. That is the biggest highlight of their program, for it individualizes them as serving students regardless of ability.

In addition to the uniqueness of their program audience, El Valor has a quote showing their focus on the growth of its children, not so much the program itself.  Dr. Christine Thompson, a credible source, states the following: “I have never worked with children as caring, loving, and critically thinking as the children in El Valor’s Head Start Program.”  This combined with the article showing the Mayor’s recognition of El Valor gives the organization tremendous strength as enrichment to children’s lives.

5. Union League Boys and Girls Clubs

Website: http://ulbgc.org/

Contact: 312-435-5940

The Union League Boys and Girls Club’s strength lies in its community: not only does it have monthly newsletters dedicated to inform the community, but it also has four total locations throughout Chicago.  This is beneficial in that these centers can work together to make children all over the city work well together and become leaders, not just help them grow in their respective neighborhoods.  As seen in other programs, it shows its gratitude for sponsors, even hosting galas and events for its donors.

6. Casa Aztlan

Website: http://casaaztlan.org/

Contact: (312) 666-5508

Casa Aztlan does not focus only on tutor/mentor programs; in fact, its website shows many areas, such as immigration requirements, a resource page, and information about arts and culture.  The website can be read in Spanish, and has a computer lab for use by all anyone as long as they request to use it. Although it may not be focused solely on tutoring and mentoring for children, Casa Aztlan provides community events and happenings that anyone may participate in, including students that want to enrich their lives outside of the classroom.




There are a few places that can be found in the Little Village area to go for academic aid. It might be harder to find, but these facilities can be very helpful to students and adults. There is the Carole Robertson Center for Learning that is also in other locations within the Chicago land area. It has the largest facility in the Little Village area. It includes social services, school age and adult education aid, and helps family development. This might be because families within this area need the most help because they are not from the United States. You can also find more information about this center on http://crcl.net and it can also be translated into Spanish, since the Majority of participants are Mexican-American. There is also The Learning Centers/House of Connections near Little Village that provides literacy volunteers for families, adults and teens to enhance their literacy skills. This is for immigrants in this area, so the focus is specifically towards helping them. Further information on these locations can be found on http://tlcchicago.org/index.html. Another place that can help the youth of this area is Turtoria Chicago located on 3617 W. 27th Street. This facility is for k-high school students and concentrates on academic improvement. Schools can also be a helpful resource for students since they already know their needs. The reason for these specific centers in this area is to assist these kids who do not have parents who can help them with their schoolwork because of the language barrier or they do not have other resources near them.


The Gage Park neighborhood is relatively small and does not have many tutor/mentor programs offered to its students.

One program that does serve students and families in the Gage Park area is the Midway Head Start Center located at 6422 S. Kidzie. It offers morning sessions from 8:00am-11:30am, and afternoon sessions from 12:30pm-4:00pm Monday-Friday. Counseling programs are the main focus of this center. They offer sessions in areas such as: Fostering mental health and well being, promoting safety for individuals and family, enhancing quality of life for older adults and their families, and providing legal assistance. These counseling sessions are offered to individuals and families of all ages. A link is provided below for those wishing to learn more about the program and its mission.

Although Gage Park lacks community centers for students to attend, each school offers a vast variety of extracurricular activities to keep students engaged in school and out of trouble. Sports of various varieties are offered at each school along with dance, theatre, music, and academic clubs. At the high school level students are encouraged to join AVID which is a program designed to help students plan for the future and prepare them for college, and beyond.

Another resource for students provided on the Chicago Public Library website is the NBC Homework Helpline which students of all ages can call for help with schoolwork. This is especially resourceful for students in areas like Gage Park who are limited in the amount of tutor/mentor programs in which they can participate. A link to this site for telephone and availability information is provided below.





Exhausting, time-consuming, and tedious are just some of the words that can describe the search for mentoring programs in Pilsen. Not to say that there aren’t any but considering the population of Pilsen, too few. Many mentoring programs found in Pilsen also assist people from Little Village. Gads Hills Center, Centro Sin Fronteras and Cristo Rey all have mentor/tutor programs in the community of Pilsen. They offer great programs and are also bilingual, eliminating any language barrier.


As the community-based coalition Healthy Chicago Lawn states, “The Chicago Lawn community has a large number of youth, but few youth programs.” The group goes on to talk about what it is doing to help—it has started a magazine for and by Southwest side youth entitled “The Voice.” While this is certainly commendable, there are numerous other programs that offer more comprehensive involvement in the lives of Marquette Park residents:

 3) Elev8: this is a program at Marquette Middle school that aims to “establish networks of relationships among school and community partners to:

                                                               i.      extend the school day with afternoon, weekend and summer programs

                                                             ii.      create an on-site, adolescent-focused health clinic in each school

                                                            iii.      provide social supports, including public benefits screening for families, mentoring and help with high school placement

                                                           iv.      mobilize parent and community leaders to accelerate change and promote advocacy

                                                             v.      advocate for policies that support similar comprehensive programs in other schools, locally and nationally”

Additionally, the Elev8 project has created a health resource center at Marquette Elementary School, funded through grants from Atlantic philanthropies and various other sources: http://www.lisc-chicago.org/display.aspx?pointer=9231

For more about the Elev8 program at Marquette Middle school, click here: http://www.lisc-chicago.org/display.aspx?pointer=5318

2)      SWOP: this program is one of two organizations that are now a part of the Healthy Chicago Lawn program. Again, this is not a traditional child-and-authority-figure mentoring program; however, the project offers citizenship classes to the many immigrant families in the neighborhood. thus, the organization is mentoring people in how to be good American citizens. The SWOP has organized the “We Want to Learn English” campaign through a partnership with Chicago’s own Malcolm X College, offering adult education morning and night classes. Like more conventional tutor-mentor programs, the SWOP is helping those who, academically, would not be able to succeed without these programs that address these individuals’ specific needs.

  1. One specific example of a program that the SWOP provides youths with is Marquette Park’s Game Day-Girls’ Health Fest. Click here for more details:


  1. What struck me about this particular program was this aspect: “To wrap up the day, half a dozen young women from the Arab American Action Network read original poetry based on their heritage and life experiences. To an appreciative audience, they spoke their minds on drugs, violence, the media and the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East.” Arguably, it is important that—despite their own less-than-ideal circumstances—inner-city youths are exposed to issues affecting others across the globe. The kind of global awareness that is being fostered through programs such as this help the youth to grow into more tolerant citizens of the world.

3)      Hand In Hand intergenerational project: This program connects seniors with youths at a child care center. While this is not a traditional mentoring program that offers children help with homework, it is still helpful for these children to have adult figures in their potentially tumultuous lives.


Our Schools October 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 9:02 pm

The Chicago Public School system, the third largest district in the nation, is the bond connecting our respective neighborhoods together; cultural differences, poverty levels, population size, and various other factors separate one geographical boundary from its neighboring area. We were pleased to find that the CPS website (cps.edu) was easy to navigate and to understand. The tabs separating the School information from the News information (so on, so forth) proved to be helpful when we went to research specific schools in our respective neighborhoods. With an area holding 675 schools that represent over 400,000 students, disorganization seems inevitable. The CPS manages to reject the last statement by separating vital information into sections for parents, for students, for teachers, for the community, for…. (You get the picture.) Using the previously mentioned website and numerous other sources, we have decided to break our findings down into partitioned areas.

Gage Park is made up of around 50,000 residents; eighty percent of these residents are Hispanic and the average household income ranges from $38,000 to $54,000. The neighborhood consists of five elementary schools (Pre-K/kindergarten-8th grade), and one high school (9th-12th grades). Every school is public and the students who attend are based on an “attendance area” (whichever school the student lives closer to is the school they will attend). The elementary schools offer a wide variety of extra curricular activities for students from academic clubs to music and dance groups to sports activities. The high school also offers organizations to include: AVID, National Honor Society, JROTC, college career center and a vast amount of sports from swimming to bowling, and football to volleyball. Spanish courses are offered at each school because around ninety percent of students at each school are Hispanic. Each school has a large amount of parent involvement with a PTA and LSC (Local School Council) group where parents and community members can come together with teachers and administrators to discuss and resolve problems of the school. Parents are also offered access to the parent portal where they can monitor their child’s grades and attendance.
The schools in Gage Park have not received the best reviews from school critics or parents. However, Florence Nightingale Elementary School (one of the five elementary schools in Gage Park), has a strict dress code in which students are only allowed to wear a white collared shirt tucked into blue shorts or pants, they can only wear a navy blue sweater when it is cold, and blue shorts are only to be worn when the temperature outside is at or above 85 degrees. These are just some of the measures Gage Park schools have taken to create more equality amongst students, and end gang involvement. Although, Gage Park does not have the best or safest school environment, students are presented with numerous activities to try to keep them in school and encourage them to dream big and achieve greater.

Growing up in Pilsen I know the difficulties the children there go through. The poor economic status, the constant gang violence and the underprivileged schools in the area make Pilsen one of the worst communities in Chicago. But even with this said, it is not impossible for a child to overcome such odds and not become a product of their environment. E.g. Kevin Garnett, grew up in Pilsen and now makes millions of dollars playing for the Boston Celtics.

Little Italy seems to be the wealthiest of the communities that our group is studying. My professor was telling me today that it has grown over the years to be a well-known area in the city, a place that people residing in other neighborhoods of Chicago aspire to move into eventually. The research I have done supports her statement in full; in fact, the median house price in Little Italy is $599,000! Because a median is what falls in the middle of a set, there must be houses that fall under the half-a-million mark, but this also means that there are the same number of houses that exceed this six-figure number! I will testify that after looking on real estate home search websites, I did not fall short on finding a good number houses that exceed the one-million dollar and up category. That number is mind-blowing!
Little Italy is sandwiched between the University of Illinois at Chicago’s campus and the Illinois Medical district; this location may be the cause of the more up-to-date schools and funding received to better their education centers. In fact, 56% of residents ages 25 and up in Little Italy have a college degree, a degree that shows they were able to complete high school and college. Because we have been studying gang violence in class, I am thinking that Little Italy does not have as prominent of a gang problem as other areas in the city. Before you tell me how irrelevant my thoughts are, I will share with you some of my findings. The parent satisfaction rate at Galileo Scholastic Academy—a school near the neighborhood—is 89%. I feel as though this number would significantly drop if the children of these supporters were in danger of gangs on their way to school or near the influence of violent groups while learning. In addition, there are plenty of magnet schools—schools that you must test in and apply too—in the area, yet another factor showing the success of Little Italy in today’s society. The difference a few blocks can make in the wealth and success of an individual school is quite confusing and will be discussed more in future blogs!

Schools have received between 1 and 7 ratings on GreatSchools, with elementary schools generally receiving higher ratings. The nearby public school ratings are significantly lower than those of more distant schools, though. For example, Lindblom Math & Science Academy received a rating of 10 out of 10. However, as this academy is located in West Englewood, a 20 minute or more blue-line El ride would be a necessity each morning. Additionally, enrollment in a school such as this one is only possible if a student displays exceptional aptitude in a math and/or science; regardless of how good these schools are, students who do not display abilities in either field cannot access this exceptional schooling. Thus, the presence of these nearly inaccessible schools does nothing to help those students who are not already excelling.


In this area theres it consists of 99.6% hispanic, 0.2% white and 0.2% is other. There is an a elementry school Little Village Academy that concentrates on community-based programs. They have highly qualified teachers and extra-curricular activities and sports the students can be invovled in. Majority of students exceed states standards. there is also a high school called Little Village Lawndale High School which is a multicultural high school with sports and extra-curricular activities as well.  Since a majority of these student come from families who immigrated to Chicago these schools attempt to give what they have to their students to better the children and work according to their needs.


SouthWest Side–Volume Two September 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 6:41 pm

Howdy y’all. It’s a new year, and a new crop of bloggers signing on to inform you about tutor-mentor related issues on the SouthWest Side. The areas we will be covering include:

Marquette Park

Little Village

Little Italy


and Gage Park.

As the first round of bloggers have already provided you with general information about the Southwest side, we hope this year to discuss the experiences of individuals who are involved with tutor-mentor programs. Through research, we aim to find out how imperative the presence of these programs can be for the future successes of students.

For those wishing to get involved (that should be all of you!) in the the tutor-mentor programs in this part of Chicago, we will be providing information on where, when, and how to do so. We are not just addressing those who hope to mentor–if you are in need of a tutor, we are speaking to you too.


Final Blog November 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 1:35 am

The area of the city we are focusing on is again, the west side of Chicago.  These include Austin, Pilsen, North Lawndale, East Garfield Park, and Little Village.  Some of the conclusions we have drawn from our research of our neighborhoods are that some of these children are fortunate and some are not.  Some of the children have to live with the struggles of poverty and some children do not.  Circumstances under which they live inclue: drug dealing, poverty, crime, and very few educational opportunities.  The primary types of crime in these areas consist of:  theft, battery, narcotics, criminal damage, assault, and other similar offenses. These children have very few ways to escape their surroundings, and most of their chances are provided by the schools.  The children are served by their schools by extra help from teachers, joining a sports team or club, and perhaps even a tutor/mentor program that takes place at the school.

Some of the differences we have observed in our areas are that some are wealthier than others, some are more crime-ridden, and some have a lack of tutor/mentor programs such as Little Village. Some similarities are parts of all these neighborhoods do have crime and poverty.  We see specific needs for a tutor/mentor program in this area.  We think that in order to keep the children in school and off of the streets the tutor/mentor programs need to be better known.  If children were participating in tutor/mentor programs then they would have a brighter future and people to help guide them throughout the way.  Tutor/mentor programs, especially mentor, provide a safe and secure environment for these children to learn, become involved, and build a lasting trust in a parental figure.  Neighborhoods in our area that do not have a lot of tutor/mentor programs, such as Little Village, may engage in other activities that perhaps are not for the best such as being involved with drugs.  Having tutor/mentor programs in an area can give these children growing up a motivation to do well in school and participate in activities that benefit them in the future.

What can be done to alleviate the tutor/mentoring program problem is getting more individuals involved in becoming volunteers .  If more people were willing to help perhaps it would show the students that people really do care and it could motivate them to come.  Tutor/mentor programs can have speakers from their programs to talk to schools about their mission.  This would also motivate them to come to the institutions willingly and with a more positive attitude.  Also, we believe that the government can speak out publicly, perhaps Barack Obama, about the benefits of these tutor/mentor programs and how they are available in almost every neighborhood not only in Chicago, but in the entire United States.  Making tutor/mentor programs better known can help decrease the dropout rate that Obama has already addressed in some of his speeches.  He and others should take an interest in these problems because this could be a way to help solve lost futures of students across the nation.  Also the government can donate more money to tutor/mentor programs to help keep books and information updated and allow these programs to stay open.  The advantages of this proposed solution is that it is easy to accomplish.  If more people knew about tutor/mentoring programs they would be able to become involved and make these things happen.  If enough people backed up tutor/mentoring programs they would become a huge success.

Advice I have for the next group of students who will work on this project is to write about specific stories that have proved that tutor/mentoring programs truly help a student struggling in school.  For example, perhaps go to a specific tutor/mentoring location such as Cabrini Connections and interview a student.  Find out how they got interested in participating in that program and what circumstances were they in that led to them being there.  Our class provided background information, statistics, and specific tutor/mentoring programs.  The future classes need to make the blog more personal to relate to these parents and students who may become interested in tutor/mentoring programs. The future class needs to get a few success stories from each tutor/mentor program to show that they truly do make a difference in the personal lives of the students and in their education.


Census Blog November 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhickey50 @ 10:04 pm

This particular blog is about the k-12 census in our area to the amount of those children being served in a tutor/mentor program. 

The first area is Austin.  Out of all the research, we could only find two out of about five tutor/mentor programs that give an exact number of the children they serve.  The census for the Austin area of K-12th graders are approximately 32,528.  Out of all those children only 200-225 of them are served.  In the Cluster Program about 75 children are served, and in the Westside Holistic Family Service about 125-150 are served.  We think that there is not a great amount of children being served for the population of those children.  Clearly, there is more children being served but it does not appear on tutor/mentor programs websites such as the Austin YMCA.  We believe that if the number of the unknown services are the same as the ones that do show a number served, it is still a low amount for the population. 


According to the 2000 census, North Lawndale’s population was 41,768 people 31.56% being 5-19 years old.  This means that 15,000-16,000 people are 5-19.  Tutor/mentoring programs found in the area include Lawndale Christian Development, Steans Family Foundation, North Lawndale Community Network, and UMOJA Community Development Corporation.  Each of these main programs in North Lawndale effect the community by helping children be successful, and even keep crime down by keeping kids in school.  The Lawndale Christian Development Corporation allows more than 300 community members to take advantage of technology in the center.  North Lawndale Community Network includes ten local schools that they are partnered with, allowing the number of students being helped to be over 12,000.  UMOJA partners itself with two local high schools.  More than 1,100 students from Manley High School participate in half day student development sessions.  Altogether, the K-12 grade programs add up to 13,400 students that are being helped by the programs in North Lawndale.  The population of K-12 graders is around 15,500 students.  These statistics determine that only 2,100 kids are not involved in some kind of tutor/mentoring program. 


The co

Pilsen is the largest populated neighborhood of Latinos in Chicago. According to the census in 1998, Pilsen’s population almost reached 50,000 people; the median age being between 18 and 20 years old. About 36% of the children that live in Pilsen live below the poverty. About 65% of the children that live below that poverty line drop out of school before their senior year of high school. But 70% of all residents of Pilsen have less than ninth grade education.  Of the 12,340 families in Pilsen, 22% of those are run by the mother; the fathers are non-existent in their lives. Because of these issues the children in Pilsen do not really look forward into a brighter future.

Conclusions we have drawn are that these children may or may not enrolled in schools, but how can we get them to become associated with the tutor/mentor programs?  We think that if a community perhaps gave out fliers or a take home note to parents at schools expressing how successful their programs are and how successful their children can be, then that census of children being served can be raised much higher.  Helping children to become involved in a tutor/mentor program will allow them to be that successful person they never dreamed of being.  These low amounts of children being served in tutor/mentor programs shows that maybe they just do not know about it or they are not enthusiatic toward learning.  If tutor/mentor programs made their programs seem exciting and make children want to come to their programs then more children will want to be served.