Back-to-School and Wellness Fair
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network, PlayStreets and community partners will have the annual Back-to-School Event on August 18, at 9108 South Brandon. In partnership with Advocate Aurora Health, a dental and vaccination van will be provided. Chicago Family Health Center will also have health resources such as take home COVID tests, back to school physicals, and more.
Program Manager Tiarra Owens wanted to have the Back-to-School event because of the importance of health and to bring awareness to local resources to the community. “It's important that people have access to proper health care,” said Tiarra Owens. There will be a bookbag giveaway made possible by United Way of Metro Chicago and other donors.
Summer Youth Programming
Claretian Associates Summer Youth Programming concluded at the SALUD Center!
Learn more about summer youth programming and final presentations below.
The students were interested in the legal system and invited the Cook County District Attorney's Office to learn more about it. The youth prepared for a mock trial with them. “The Cook County District Attorney’s Office came by to teach the youth about prosecution, a defense team and overall, the legal system,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens.
UNITY Squad final presentation was a mock trial based upon a scene from the movie American Skin. CEO Angela Hurlock was the judge, a few students from TechCorps and Claretian Associates staff members also played a role in the mock trial. Parents and community members were in attendance to watch the mock trial. “I wanted to have a mock trial to teach the youth about civic engagement and critical thinking skills,” said Family and Youth Coordinator Pamesha Robinson.
The youth also collaborated with the South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors for gardening. On the residential side of the SALUD Center are garden beds where the youth and seniors gardened together. “The youth were able to interact with the seniors. A lot of the seniors are going through social isolation because of the pandemic. It was a great opportunity for UNITY Squad to spend time with the seniors,” said Tiarra.
UNITY Squad had an award luncheon at Maggiano's and received their certificates from Tiarra and Pamesha. UNITY Squad Summer Instructor Alycia Evans, and Summer Programming Interns Taliah Bickart and Eleanor Johnston received certificates of appreciation.
This summer the TechCorps students became web developers. TechCorps students created websites for Google Clients. The students created websites from scratch by learning HTML, CSS, Java Script, and more. In collaboration with Google, the students were divided into teams and assigned to a company to create their website. The students not only learned the technical part of building a website, but team dynamics, leadership and project management skills.
The teams presented their finished websites to parents, friends, Claretian Associates, TechCorps staff, and Google virtually at the SALUD Center multipurpose event space. Afterwards, students received their certificate from TechCorps Executive Director Tina Chambers, TechCorps Program Manager Jeremy Rembert, and their summer instructors.
Both UNITY Squad and TechCorps will have programming for the school year. For more information contact email@example.com
Hoops in the Hood
Claretian Associates Hoops in the Hood basketball camp was featured on WTTW Chicago Tonight. Watch the feature here. Hoops in the Hood provides a safe place for youth to play basketball. Neighborhood youth came on Wednesdays and Thursdays to play and learn basketball skills. The basketball camp concluded with participants enjoying brunch and receiving certificates. “We hope to have Hoops in the Hood next year,” said SALUD Center Program Manager April Morris.
The next PlayStreets event will be held in collaboration with the Back-to-School and Wellness event at 9108 South Brandon on August 18 at 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. The next two PlayStreets will be at Thrope Elementary and Arnold Mireles. For more information contact Safe Passage Program Manager Michelle Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org
The South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors Gardened with the UNITY Squad youth in the court yard. The seniors and youth planted the fruits and vegetables seeds together. A senior already had vegetables growing in their apartment and showed the youth how to transplant plants to a garden bed. “The seniors have been watering and doing the weeding,” said Social Services Coordinator Wendy Steward.
The New Home on 92 and Brandon is awaiting the final inspection on the first two units. The SACRED project has passed pivotal city councils allowing for bidding and permits. SCARED will have 81 units of affordable housing with 6000 square feet of commercial space. We are searching for general contractors to price and build the project.
Program Manager Tiarra Ownes graduates with her Master’s Degree
Program Manager Tiarra Owens graduated from National Lewis University with her Master's degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Community Psychology. Tiarra decided to pursue this degree because she wanted to professionalize her skills. “I wanted to have the right tools to advocate for policy changes in the community,” said Tiarra.
At Claretian Associates Tiarra manages youth programming and she always shares her education journey with the youth. “I tell the youth pick something that you love and pursue it. It does not have to be college, but contribute something to your community, the world, and to yourself,” said Tiarra.
Tiarra hopes her master’s degree can help her be a voice and advocate for her community. Tiarra is the first college graduate in her family and single mom of two daughters. “I have a teenage daughter, it's important that she sees me continue to grow in my education, so that it motivates her as well,” said Tiarra.
SSA moved into the SALUD Center
The Special Service Area 5 (SSA 5) has moved into the SALUD Center offices. “I think it makes people happy that they can walk into the old YMCA because we all have memories here,” said SSA 5 Program Manager Crystal Guerra. The SSA 5 serves the Commercial Avenue businesses and connects them with city opportunities. Learn more about the SSA 5 here.
The SSA 5 helps established businesses on Commercial Avenue. They also help businesses get started. “We are the eyes on the ground to help local businesses flourish,” said Crystal. Recently the SSA held a sidewalk sale, where vendors were welcome to have a table and sell their products. “The idea is to get commerce active, bring the community together to consume, shop locally, and up lifting ourselves,” said Crystal.
The SSA is managed by a local nonprofit South Chicago Parents and Friends. Crystal is the new Program Manager for SSA 5. Crystal is a longtime resident of the Southeast Side of Chicago. Crystal is excited to be in her new role, to help sustain businesses in the community. “It's been nice working with the community and getting to meet the business owners,” said Crystal.
A community calendar has been added to the SSA 5 website. “Anyone can complete a form and the event will automatically upload to the community calendar,” said Crystal. Visit the SSA 5 website to view and add community events from the 10th Ward.
Summer Youth Programming
On July 5, Tech Corps and UNITY Squad summer programming began at the SALUD Center. UNITY Squad is meeting in the Teen Drop In Space with their returning Youth Instructor Alisha Evans. Tech Corps meets twice a day with a morning and afternoon group. “I hope the youth gains another skill. I’m excited for Tech Corps because technology is a life skill youth can take with them and use it for their future,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens.
Claretian Associates will be a Community Based Organization (CBO) for MAPSCorps this summer. “We will be a part of the experience with having the youth do a community assessment. My goal is to have the assessment and find out what type of programs and resources the community needs,” said Tiarra. Afterwards Tiarra will present the results to community stakeholders and organizations. Stay tuned in for the youth's final presentations and projects.
UNITY Squad Teen Time concluded with a celebration dinner at Macias on Commercial Avenue. Youth met every Tuesday and Thursday in the Teen Drop-In Space at the SALUD Center. “It was a time for youth to get tools needed to succeed in their everyday life,” said Youth and Family Coordinator Pamesha Robinson.
Youth had workshops on personal space and boundaries, teen dating, making positive choices, family relationships, civic engagement and more. “Teen Time was a time for youth to feel safe, study, learn, and be themselves and open. The youth now understand they have a safe space,” said Pamesha.
On the residential side of the SALUD Center there are garden beds in the court yard. Youth learned about healthy eating and how to grow their own vegetables. In the future, the youth and seniors from the residential side of the SALUD Center will garden together.
PlayStreets has held two events at Douglas Taylor Elementary and 91 and Houston. “The children were very appreciative and excited about the bouncy house, games, and snacks,” said Safe Passage Program Manager Mustafa Sulaiman. Neighborhood streets are shut down for children and families to enjoy outdoor activities, food, and music. Check our social media for the next PlayStreets event or contact Claretian Associates’ Programs Department at 773-734-9181.
Hoops in the Hood
Hoops in the Hood basketball camp starts July 13 - August 13 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the SALUD Center for youth ages 11- 15. Youth will participate in basketball drills and skills. There will be five groups of five and each group will play against each other. For more information or if interested in applying contact the Claretian Associates’ Programs Department at 773- 734- 9181.
Social Services Coordinator Wendy Steward and Residents Service Coordinator Jennifer Turner had Father’s Day luncheons for the South Chicago SALUD Center and Villa Guadalupe Senior Services Senior Residents. Wendy also had an Ice Cream Social. “I wanted the seniors to relax and socialize and enjoy each other's company,” said Wendy. In the next few weeks Villa Guadalupe seniors will have a movie day.
One of the New Homes is nearly completed. In a few weeks, we should be ready for its first tenant. The SALUD Center fitness center will soon receive its first set of Peloton cardio and weightlifting equipment.
New Resident Service Coordinator
Claretian Associates welcomes Jennifer Turner as the new Resident Services Coordinator. Jennifer’s office will be at Villa Guadalupe Senior Services, but she will be serving all residents. “I hope to bring a new outlook on life. Give them something to look forward to everyday,” said Jennifer. She would like to start hosting activities for the residents.
Jennifer previously worked at a nursing home on the North Side, she was the liaison to the activities director. At Villa Guadalupe, Jennifer is implementing floor captains. “I’m trying to get the residents more involved to figure out what activities they want,” said Jennifer. The floor captains will help get residents to be active. On Mondays and Fridays, Jennifer has brought back chair exercise, which was put on hold because of COVID-19. Once more resident's signup to be floor captains, Jennifer would like to start movie nights, gardening, and more. Jennifer will eventually branch out to Casa Kirk the multifamily apartments and begin activities there as well.
Youth Summer Jobs
There is still time to apply for Claretian Associates youth summer programming!
Youth will be employed for six weeks by One Summer Chicago SYEP, Tech Corps, and will be paid minimum wage. “This summer I’m really excited because we have never done SYEP. This is our first year being able to provide employment for youth ages 16 and older,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens. Youth will learn new skills for building websites and can possibly turn them into entrepreneurship skills.
Tech Corps programming will happen at the SALUD Center in the innovation lab. Thrive Chicago provided the laptops youth will be utilizing this summer. “I’m also excited because we are collaborating with Google,” said Tiarra.
UNITY Squad participants ages 14- 15 will earn a stipend during the six-week program. Through the partnership of Advocate Aurora Health, Tiarra would like to have the doctors who participated in the South Chicago Neighborhood Network Health and Wellness to be mentors for the UNITY Squad participates this summer.
Youth will earn skills to prepare them for future employment. “By the time they are 16 years old they will know about going to a job interview, speaking up, how to conduct and advocate for themselves,” said Tiarra. A former UNITY Squad member, David approached Tiarra for a school project, where he chose to interview a community leader. “When he interviewed me, he carries himself like a leader,” said Tiarra. Youth will learn leadership skills and much more to prepare them for their future. For more information on summer programming contact Tiarra at email@example.com .
Light in the Night
On June 1, Communities Partnering for Peace (CP4P), Light in the Night events have resumed. Each week this month, three Light in the Night Events will be held in the South Chicago, South Shore, and South Deering neighborhoods. Music, games, and warm meals will be provided and outreach workers will have resources.
Light in the Night events were modeled from Los Angeles, California, creating safe spaces for community members to enjoy their neighborhoods and coexist with the street guys. “We are trying to take a hotspot, a place which is known for violence, and turn it into a space where community members can enjoy it,” said Director of Safety Programs Sam Castro.
Food will be provided at the Light in the Nights, such as hamburgers and hotdogs, but also warm meals will be given. “We don’t know if at home community members receive a hot meal. We’re making sure community members get hot meals as well,” said Sam. Local businesses will be catering the warm meals. Local community organizations also will have tables with resources.
PlayStreets’ first event will be June 14 at Douglas Taylor Elementary from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. The PlayStreets event will be on 99th and Avenue J, and the street will be blocked for children to enjoy food, games, music, and resource vendors will be provided. For more information contact Safe Passage Program Manager Mustafa Suliman at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next PlayStreets event will be on June 20 at 91st and Houston.
Hoops in the Hood
Registration for Hoops in the Hood begins June 9. Look at our website calendar for an online registration link. Claretian Associates will have a basketball camp July 14 - August 4, from 10am- 1pm on Wednesday and Thursdays at the SALUD Center for youth ages 11- 15. “We are inviting the neighborhood children. It will be a developmental/summer camp,” said Safe Passage Program Manager Mustafa Suliman.
Youth will arrive at the SALUD Center and begin an hour of basketball drills and skills. Afterwards youth will break for a snack. For the remainder of the day, youth will be put into groups and play games. There will be five groups of five and each group will play against each other. It is not necessary for youth to know how to play basketball.
Darrell Banks, a well know trainer and coach in the Chicago basketball community, will be coaching the basketball camp. “I’m excited to provide this opportunity to kids, to be off the street, out of the heat, and in a safe environment,” said Mustafa. For more information on Hoops in the Hood contact Mustafa at email@example.com.
Social Services Coordinator Wendy Steward and new Resident Service Coordinator Jennifer Turner will be preparing for Father’s Day luncheons at the SALUD Center and Villa Guadalupe Senior Services. Wendy is also searching for a first-year social work or psychology intern. If interested, contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Claretian Associates is planning on conducting a series of focus groups for the acquired piece of land, 3200 East 92nd Street, to have further community input on the development of it. Stay tuned for future dates.
Construction improvements are in progress for the Peloton exercise equipment.