Lunch Time Impact and Learning Event
Please join us virtually November 18 at 1 p.m. for our inaugural free lunch Impact and Learning Event. Tiarra Owens, a Claretian Associates Program Manager, will talk about the South Chicago Neighborhood Network, the recently held 4th Annual Trauma Symposium, the Unity Squad and her experience working at Claretian Associates. Please register for the event here.
4th Annual Trauma-Informed Symposium
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network held a four-day virtual Trauma-Informed Symposium attended by 565 people. The key-note speaker was Vaughn Bryant, Executive Director of Metropolitan Peace Initiative. Each day featured a different topic including Trauma Over the Life Span, Trauma-Informed Care, and Impact on Gun Violence. For the first time, the Symposium provided continuing education units (CEUs) for Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Counselors, and other professionals through partnership with Metropolitan Family Services.
SCNN wanted the subject of the symposium to focus on trauma and the effects it has on the community. “We wanted to teach people how trauma is different over the stages of your life and how we as providers experience secondary trauma from the services we provide,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens.
There was a panel discussion to finish out the symposium. Panelists included Illinois State Senator Robert Peters, Tracy Coney from the Metropolitan Peace Initiative, Dewayne Johnson from UChicago Medicine, Daisy Gomez from Heart Grove Behavioral Health System, and Brenda Mitchell from the Everytown Survivors Network.
The symposium brought new ideas to SCNN’s Chat and Chews workshops, where participants meet for lunch, learning and discussion. “We learned there are still a lot of things that we have not covered from trauma, it's such large broad topic,” said Tiarra. SCNN will be training community members to be “Trauma-Informed Trainers” made possible through their partnership with Metro Peace Initiative. The network will soon also have their First Mental First Aid Trainings.
Recordings of each symposium workshop will be made available soon here.
We're Building . . .
with the Help of Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank and Enterprise Community Partners pledged a $20 million investment from their Neighborhood Investment Program to a list of projects spearheaded by Claretian Associates.
The investment will focus on projects to revitalize the South Chicago neighborhood over a period of three years. Read more about the community investment here or in the announcement news coverage featured here.
Tech Corps Family Tech Day
Tech Corps hosted their first Family Tech Day at the SALUD Center. Youth and their families learned about virtual reality, participated in computer science activities and received Tech Corps kits including virtual reality glasses, program materials, and promotional items.
Families had the opportunity to learn about robotics, virtual reality, and other technology activities. Participants had the chance to assemble their own virtual reality viewers. By scanning a QR code to download the Cardboard app, a virtual reality app, they experienced different reality scenarios. Tech Corps offered board games, Tech-nopoly and Techie Battleship similar to Monopoly and Battleship. The games were designed with similar aims, but with a STEM educational component.
The South Chicago Senior Homes at the SALUD Center held Medicare 101, an informational presentation for senior residents on October 26 in partnership with JenCare. JenCare presented on the fundamentals of Medicare. “In addition to helping our seniors, this also helped me get more information so I can better guide the seniors,” said Wendy Steward, Senior Social Services Coordinator. There were informational sessions in
both Spanish and English.
Lionel Gaston is the Safe Passage Base Operator for Myra Bradwell School of Excellence and Douglas Taylor Elementary, a new school added to the Safe Passage program this year. For his birthday on October 18, Taylor Safe Passage Watchers surprised him with cupcakes. Lionel has been an employee with the Safe Passage Program for 15 years, which supports children traveling to and from school. Watchers are employed by community-based organizations such as Claretian Associates in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools and is continuing to hire for Watchers. Please see hiring information below.
CP4P Winter Coat Drive
Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) held a winter coat drive in collaboration with Mercy and Grace, a non-profit who hosts coat and toy drives, and distributes hot meals, hygiene packages, and lunch bags to those in need. Winter coats as well as clothes for children and adults were distributed to 75 participants. CP4P will be having another winter gear drive soon. Coats can be dropped off at the CP4P office.
Food Emergency Assistance
Claretian Associates is offering emergency food assistance with gift cards for groceries from ALDI, Pete's Fresh Market, and Jewel Osco to eligible households. Please see flier for more eligibility requirements or contact Yessica Pineda at email@example.com for more information.
SALUD Center Rental Space
The SALUD Center has different available spaces to rent for events. Please see flier for more details or check out our SALUD Center webpage here. If interested contact Tevonne Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Claretian Associates is hiring for a Part-time Youth Coordinator and Safe Passage Watchers. For more information the positions see descriptions here.
Communities Partnering for Peace is having a Light In The Night event and Thanksgiving warm meal distribution. See fliers below for more information.
The Illinois Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (I-NOMA) has chosen the SALUD Center Teen Drop in Space for their Design Build program. The program allows teens to actively design and build a space, and interact with professionals from the architectural world. “We are ecstatic to partner with I-NOMA to allow our community’s youth to design and be invested in their own Drop-in Center. Having an architectural background, I think it’s important for our kids to be able to design their own world.” said Angela Hurlock, Claretian Associates Executive Director.
Youth will design the entire Drop-in Center from color to furniture choices. I-NOMA will oversee the eight-week project. Development Project Coordinator Cory Davis believes this is a great opportunity because “it allows youth to design a space that teens want to utilize. It’s a way for Claretian to provide space for youth to have an interactive learning experience. It will help youth decide if design and architecture are for them.”
Youth have already started the program virtually and will visit the SALUD Center every other week.
Governor Pritzker Visits South Chicago
On September 29, 2021, Governor Pritzker visited South Chicago to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Angela Hurlock, Claretian Associates Executive Director and Chairperson of Special Service Area 5 accompanied the governor and other elected officials to visit South Chicago businesses along Commercial Avenue.
South Chicago Neighborhood Network Informed Symposium
The fourth annual South Chicago Neighborhood Network Symposium, “Breaking the Cycle of Victimization: Dispelling the Myths of Trauma" is currently taking place virtually. The symposium is a four-day (October 4-7) virtual series with keynote speaker Vaughn Bryant Executive Director of Metropolitan Peace Initiative. Each day of the symposium is being recorded and will be made available.
Family Tech Day
Family Tech Day is October 9, 10 a.m. in the SALUD Center in the gym. Tech Day is a family event with robotics, virtual reality, and other technology activities. It will be hosted by Tech Corps, a Computer Science nonprofit in Ohio that develops science and technology programs for K-12 grades.
Tech Day is geared towards South Chicago third through eighth graders and their families. SALUD Center Manager Ronnie Chester hopes to introduce youth and their parents to tech programming in the Innovation Lab at the SALUD Center. “We hope to expose more youth in the community to the possibilities available with technology.” said Ronnie. He hopes this pilot program can turn into programming for the winter.
South Chicago Senior Housing at the SALUD Center, now has a multi-purpose and gym room for seniors to play bingo and exercise. In a recent survey, seniors had requested more activities.
As a result of the questionnaire for our building partner POAH (Preservation of Affordable Housing), “We went ahead and restarted bingo. The seniors take their bingo very seriously,” said Wendy Steward, Senior Social Services Coordinator. A resident brought Wendy a senior-friendly bingo game, with larger print. Soon bingo will begin in the multi-purpose room of senior housing.
On September 19 our Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) team participated in an event in South Shore, at the South Merrill Community Garden. On Saturdays, South Shore community members, clean their garden. The CP4P South Shore team engaged with potential participants and distributed PPE.
South Chicago Food and Resource Network
The South Chicago Food and Resource Network, had their September meeting at the South Chicago Urban Growers Collective Farm on 9000 S Mackinaw Ave. The network received a tour of the farm, learned how to grow their own gardens and a participant won a water diffuser.
The South Chicago Food and Resource Network supports local and surrounding communities, food pantries and other organizations, improving nutrition in the community. The network is a collective of food pantries and other organizations that are interested in improving food security and resources in the area. The network is speared by Claretian Associates, Shirley Boreless from and Vanessa Molina from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Food Pantry. The network would like to expand to a health initiative in the near future.
Safe Passage Hiring
Safe passage is hiring watchers. If interested stop by to complete an application contact Mustafa Sulaiman at email@example.com
SALUD Center Activities
The SALUD Center will be starting Tot Gym Class and Basketball Open Gym mid October. For more information contact SAULD Center Manager Ronnie Chester at firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing Out Summer Programming
Our final Play Streets Event of the summer was the Health and Wellness Fair, sponsored by the South Chicago Neighborhood Network (SCNN) and community partners. Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), our violence prevention program, partnered with CPS and Metropolitan Family Services to provide a back-to-school backpack giveaway.
Thanks to the Chicago Public Schools, SCNN provided 100 backpacks, and our partner Metropolitan Family Services also supplied families with 160 backpacks. The COVID-19 vaccine was available through Chicago Family Health Center. In total, 25 vendors attended the health and wellness fair. Tiarra Owen, SCNN Program Manager, hopes the health and wellness fair can be an annual end-of-summer celebration.
Ronnie Chester, Salud Center Program Manager, directed this summer’s Play Street events with School Watchers from the Safe Passage Program. Over 400 in total attended the events. “The community came out as best they could. We had limitations for entertainment because of the pandemic, but we still had a nice turnout,” said Ronnie. The Safe Passage Watchers kept the children engaged at the different play stations and canvassed the nearby blocks for community residents to attend the events.
This was our second year directing, the South Chicago Steel Rides, community bike rides. Four bike rides took place, but a few more were canceled due to weather. Ronnie, being a former Chicago Park District employee, arranged for Besser Park and their youth to participate. Bike riders were able to enjoy their front lake view while riding and at Rainbow beach.
Teen Summer Programming
UNITY Squad finished the last two weeks of its program in person. Many of the students had never met in person before because the first four weeks were virtual. Youth had the opportunity to get acquainted, build friendships, listen to guest speakers, and practice yoga together.
Our partner Yoga Care, taught yoga to the students virtually. This is their third year practicing yoga with UNITY Squad. “Since the South Chicago Neighborhood Network is focusing on mental health and trauma, we want to make sure we are focusing on health in general too,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens. The youth found it relaxing. The purpose was to teach participants methods to release stress. The yoga class was instructed twice in the gym in-person.
Our Faith Based Nurse, Shonie Purnell, assisted with leadership and team building. One team-building activity was an obstacle course in the gym to teach youth how to problem solve and work together. Another guest speaker was Rev. Damon Smith, a community organizer. He explained that "even at their young age they can become community organizers.”
Another guest speaker was Judge Nicole Colbert-Botchway from Saint Louis, Missouri. She explained how the court system works. Participants asked her questions on her background on becoming a lawyer and later a judge. Judge Colbert-Botchway also spoke about her cases. Many of the youth were very engaged because of their interest in law and advocacy.
Youth participants also watched a presentation from 5-4-3-2-1 Go! Clocc Program from Lurie Children's Hospital on healthy eating and how to become health ambassadors. The presentation focuses on how youth should appropriately portion vegetables, fruit, and dairy. "We always have them speak to the youth so they can learn how to make healthy choices with their eating," said Tiarra.
We were also a host site for MAPSCorps for six weeks. MAPSCorps students used the innovation lab and recorded data based on assets in the community. Students develop a research question and then canvas the community. They are provided with cell phones to upload their findings. Their mapping is geared towards their research question, “What should the priority investment in South Chicago be and where should that investment come from?” Students presented their results at the MAPSCorps Scientific Symposium.
Safe Passage Reinvigorating Students, Hiring for Community Watchers
Mustafa Suliman is the new program coordinator for Safe Passage. Since Chicago Public Schools are back in session, Mustafa is hiring Safe Passage Watchers for the school year. His goal is to have the schools fully staffed by Thanksgiving.
Many applicants are eager to work and “have a vested interest in their community. I interviewed a retired Chicago detective. One of her main goals was to give back to her community,” said Mustafa.
The program has 14 watchers returning. We have added Douglas Taylor school to our Safe Passage school list which includes Burnham Mathematics & Science Academy, James H. Bowen, George Henry Corliss, Myra Bradwell and Arnold Mireles schools.
Safe Passage is an initiative that CPS started, to provide safe passage for children walking to school in neighborhoods that are prone to violence. Safe Passage watchers stand at assigned posts and assist children getting to and from school safely.
Interested applicants can stop by to pick up an application at the SALUD Center, 3039 East 91st Street or contact Mustafa Sulaiman at email@example.com or (773) 734-9181 Ext. 2034
Robyn Kelly Town Hall
Local Congresswoman Robyn Kelly held a community town hall at the SALUD Center. Community residents, seniors and youth from our summer programming had the opportunity to ask Congresswoman Kelly questions. The 10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza was also present.
Two months ago, the food distributions were restarted for SALUD Center senior residents in the remodeled community room. Senior Case Manager, Wendy Steward, gives the senior residents a ticket with a time to pick up their food, while practicing social distancing as well. The Greater Chicago Food Depository provides the food for distribution once a month. Wendy is assisted by Claretian Associates board member Alita Tucker and two other volunteers, Gail Spann and Shyvette Williams during the monthly food distributions. Seniors are provided with fresh produce, canned food, and bread. Food that is left is donated to other neighborhood food pantries.
Rest in Peace Compton “Pooh” Jones
It is with sad hearts that we say goodbye to our brother and co-worker Compton Jones, an outreach worker for the CP4P team. In the last year, Compton was not only a great asset but a wonderful team player, who looked out for others and was glad to use his skill set to change the neighborhood. As one of our older and more seasoned staff, he brought wisdom and “real talk” to the table while helping his participants seek more out of life. As Claretian Associate’s Street Outreach Program has expanded, matured and taken on greater professionalism over the years, our ability to take care of our staff has matured too. It is with bittersweet emotion that we mourned losing our beloved brother yet rejoice that we were able to help support his family through this difficult time. Even in his passing, Compton’s spirit of taking care of others continues! To God be the Glory!
The South Chicago Neighborhood Trauma Informed Symposium
The 4th annual South Chicago Neighborhood Network, Trauma-Informed Symposium will be virtual, October 4 through October 7, 2021. Register here.
Tech Corps Family Tech Day
Join us for Tech Corp next month for hands-on technology, activities and games. Register here.
Advocate Aurora Health and Sertoma Centre will be having a Mental Health First Aid Training at the Salud Center for Emergency Medical Services September 30, 2021. Register here.