Summer Youth Programming
Summer youth programming concluded at the SALUD Center.
UNITY Squad had their mock trial which they prepared with the Cook County District Attorney’s Office. With the knowledge of learning three computer languages, Tech Corps Students completed their mock business websites and had final presentations. UNITY Squad and Tech Corps earned their certificates of completion.
UNITY Squad invited 10th Ward Alderman Peter Chico to be the judge for the mock trial. Officer Alex Calatayud from the 4th District Chicago Police Department was also invited and extended the invitation to his training offices, who served as part of the jury. Claretian Associates staff members were also a part of the jury. “One of our core components is civic engagement, so it teaches the youth how to understand the court system,” said Youth and Family Service Coordinator Pamesha Robinson.
UNITY Squad attended a luncheon award ceremony at Maggiano's. The youth participated in an etiquette lesson the day before attending the luncheon. “We wanted the youth to be prepared before visiting a five-star restaurant,” said Pamesha. At the luncheon the youth received a certificate of achievement for completing the One Summer Chicago Program.
Tech Corps completed their mock business websites and presented to their families, UNITY Squad and Google virtually, at the SALUD Center Multipurpose Event Space. The students learned three computer languages: CSS, HTML and Java Script in order to build their websites. Students will be able to include their newly learned skills on their resumes. Tech Corps students had a luncheon and received Tech Corps t-shirts and certificates of completion.
Youth from UNITY Squad and Tech Corps had the opportunity to attend a college tour at the conclusion of the summer program. Youth toured Chicago State University (CSU) and Roosevelt University. They enjoyed being downtown and seeing Chicago’s beautiful skyline. At CSU, youth learned about how the very first classes were taught from a boxcar train. They also learned about taking dual classes for nursing while still attending high school. A college is tour is planned for next spring break.
Wellness & Back-to-School Event
Claretian Associates, South Chicago Neighborhood Network (SCNN), and community partners hosted an annual Wellness & Back-to-School event on Friday, August 11th. The event was held at 9108 South Brandon and included music, food, games and resource vendors. Over 400 bookbags were provided and school supplies were given away. Medical and health advocacy was provided through the partnership with Aurora Advocate Health.
The street of 91st and Brandon was closed off with food, games, a bouncy house, horse rides for kids, shoes and clothing giveaway and music. Resource vendors were stationed in the Our Lady Guadalupe Parish parking lot. Vendors included local schools, Metropolitan Family Health Services, Pilsen Wellness Center, Family Rescue and other community organizations. “So many organizations have their own resources that make people want to come,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens.
A bookbag giveaway was held through the partnerships of Communities Partnering 4 Peace, Aurora Advocate Health, and Metropolitan Family Services. “We wanted to make sure kids had supplies to start off the school year, by providing these items it puts less of a financial strain on parents,” said Tiarra.
To support community businesses, Claretian Associates provided food from local food vendors such as the local corn vendor at 91st and Houston and a food truck from First Choice Grocery Store. Claretian hopes to expand the Wellness & Back-to-School event to continue to support the community.
UNITY Squad Recruiting
UNITY Squad is recruiting for the academic school year. The program will focus on leadership, civic engagement, financial literacy and more. UNITY Squad will begin Tuesday, September 12th, 2023. Youth will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M at the SALUD Center. For more information, contact Youth and Family Service Coordinator Pamesha Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Communities Partnering 4 Peace
Claretian Associates congratulates Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) Outreach Workers Larry McGinnis, TyJuan Shannon, and Tony Smith. These individuals graduated from the Metro Peace Academy. The Peace Academy is an 18-week program that trains outreach workers. “They train outreach workers to professionalize mediation,” said CP4P Program Manager James Sims.
The Peace Academy is a requirement for outreach workers to attend. According to the CP4P website, the Peace Academy aims to professionalize the violence prevention field and remove the stigma that shadows outreach programs. Claretian Associates currently has four outreach workers enrolled for the fall semester. There is a change in outreach workers who graduate from the academy. “It's a big change. Their energy changes. When we have debriefings, most workers will just listen. When workers graduate from the academy they are engaged. Their energy is totally different,” said James.
Outreach Worker Steve Rymus “Rooster” was awarded the Perserverance Award from UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work. Steve qualified for the award because he was formally incarcerated, and he changed his life. “A lot of people after incarceration it's like a revolving door for them. Now Steve has changed his life; he is doing good for this community. He’s been a great help,” said James.
Look for CP4P Night in the Light events in the Nights in September.
Safe Passage Returning
Claretian Associates Safe Passage Program returned as students began classes on August 21. . Claretian Associates hired 20 new Community Watchers to work along side the 45 who currently work with the program. Watchers attended mandatory training and a Safe Passage Rally at the Wintrust Arena. Team Lead Lionel Gaston was recognized and awarded for his remarkable work.
Safe Passage is a Chicago Public School program that was started to provide a safe passage for children to school walking in neighborhoods prone to violence. The schools that Claretian Associates covers include Burnham Mathematics & Science Academy, James H. Bowen, George Henry Corliss, Myra Bradwell, Douglas Taylor and Arnold Mireles.
Before each school year, Community Watchers attend a Safe Passage Rally, where partnering community-based organizations come together to motivate each other and get ready for the school year. Safe Passage Team Lead Lionel Gaston received an award for outstanding achievement. “To me this award means a lot because I’ve never gotten an award. It means the world to me,” said Lionel.
Lionel started with Safe Passage as a Community Watcher in 2012. During the pandemic, he was a Safe Passage Base Operator at Burnham and Taylor. In 2021, Lionel was promoted to Safe Passage Team Lead. “I have a degree in physical education, and I love working with kids,” said Lionel. Safe Passage Program Manager April Morris nominated Lionel for his award. “Mr. Gaston is committed to ensuring students have a safe path to get to and from school. He shows up every day with a positive attitude, ready to handle any issue from de-escalating conflict to communicating with parents, or school leadership,” said April.
If you are interested in applying for Safe Passage visit the SALUD Center at 3039 E 91st Street to complete an application.
New Hires at Claretian Associates
Claretian Associates welcomes Yesenia McKenize as Resident Service Coordinator. Yesenia will be assisting with case management, helping residents reach their goals of economic and financial stability, and working with residents to meet their needs and have support in the community.
Yesenia has been in the field of social worker since 2015. “I’m good with people and understand that without basic needs people cannot thrive in their environment. I like to help people improve their situation so that they can better help themselves. That’s what ultimately brought me to social work, the ability to help others, help themselves,” said Yesenia.
Prior to Claretian Associates, Yesenia worked at Fair Haven Rape Crisis Center with survivors of sexual assault. Yesenia has experience working with anything related to domestic violence such as the legal system, shelters, hospitals and more.
Yesenia worked helping seniors with the Senior Health Insurance Program. She knows how to navigate sites to help seniors get benefits. Yesenia is planning on doing a financial abuse informative for the residents. “Especially working with the seniors. It's something I want them to be aware of knowing the signs to protect themselves,” said Yesenia.
In addition, Yesenia is a student at the University of Indiana Northwest. She will graduate next year with her bachelor's in social work and a minor in psychology. “I love school. It's difficult being an older student, a single mom while working full-time, but I thrive in challenges. My resilience helps me stay motivated,” said Yesenia.
Yesenia will be assisting and supporting residents at each of the Claretian Associates apartment buildings. “Every day is different and busy. I really thrive in that work environment, and I enjoy being here,” said Yesenia.
SALUD Fitness Center
Starting September 1st, the SALUD Fitness Center will be offering a monthly membership for $14.99. The SALUD Fitness Center has exercise equipment from free weights to Peloton Spin Bikes. Complete an application at the SALUD Center or visit us online. For more information contact us at email@example.com
The South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors attended a jazz concert in the SALUD Community Room, on Thursday, August 24. Several of the seniors are jazz musicians and were a part of the band, Ernest Dawkins and the Legendary Jazz Band.
The resident service team has organized a trip to Cracker Barrel. This event will give seniors an opp to socialize and enjoy a meal together. The team is implementing ideas from the last residents meeting such movie nights and senior trips. “The seniors are already suggesting movies. We are trying to get senior engagement,” said Resident Service Manager Wendy Steward.
The Villa Guadalupe seniors had a Coffee and Doughnut Social sponsored by Oak Street Health. Seniors learned about the services Oak Street has to offer. The Regional Transportation Authority also presented information to the seniors on the bus systems, free ride card and other services. Next month the seniors will have an ice cream social.
Summer Youth Programming
Youth Summer Programming Continues at the SALUD Center!
Learn more about summer youth programming below.
Youth experienced their first peace circle of the summer with two 4th District Chicago Police Officers. “It's important for us to build relationships with officers of the community,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens. The youth are preparing for their final project, a mock trail based off the movie Fruitvale Station. The mock trial is a method for youth to better understand and navigate the legal system. Community officials will be a part of the mock trial. The Cook County District Attorney's Office is facilitating sessions with the youth on how to create a mock trial.
UNITY Squad had a field trip to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Youth and Family Program Coordinator Pamesha Robinson planned this trip because of their gardening at the SALUD Center with senior residents. “We want our youth to see a different experience and see things outside of their community,” said Pamesha. UNITY Squad experienced a butterfly sanctuary, where they immersed themselves in a habitat filled with live butterflies. Youth learned about the life cycle of butterflies and had a variety of butterfly species land on them. “They only knew about the monarch butterfly and were able to see about over 60 different types of butterflies,” said Pamesha. UNITY Squad is scheduled to have more field trips before the summer program finishes.
Tech Corp solicited local and Ohio based businesses who were interested in expanding their websites. Youths were placed in groups and matched with business owners. Youth learned how to create websites utilizing HTLM (HyperText Markup Language) to create the websites.
Youth will be completing their websites and present proposals to their class to solicit feedback. The youth will meet one final time with their business owners before presenting the completed website.
All of the business are local or in tech related fields in Ohio, where Tech Corps offices are located. Business owners remotely engaged with the youth. “We choose businesses that had computer science professionals because they might actually be a web designer in real life and have experience working with clients and in teams. These individuals can share their real-world experiences and provide the students with professional development through their simulated exchange,” Tech Corp Program Manager Jeremy Rembert.
Tech Corps provides the business owners with a mock business profile. “One of the businesses is Pup Walkers, a dog walking business. We will have a real-life tech professional pretending to be an owner of a dog walking business. The owners work with web development teams, who are the Tech Corps students,” said Jeremy. The youths meet to discuss the website design, color scheme, pictures, content, and more.
This is the second year Claretian Associates and Tech Corps partnered for summer youth programming. “The coding skills the students are learning can be applied to a number of things in real life. Even in history and science, there is a digital component. The skills they are learning here are the elementary building blocks that can be paired with their interests,” said Jeremy.
The South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors had a game day in the community room. The social services team changed gear from bingo to checkers, dominos, Jenga, Trivia Pursuit, and cards games. Game day was held to be more inclusive with all the residents because bingo is highly attended by women. The seniors enjoyed an afternoon of games, pizza, and socializing.
SALUD Fitness Center Memberships
See how the SALUD Fitness Center can help you live a healthy and happy lifestyle. Come workout in our spacious gym and learn how to use various exercise machines. Talk with our Health and Wellness Coordinator, Maurice Garrett, to get started. Monthly memberships are available for an affordable cost of $14.99. Take advantage of our 3-month summer sale of $39.99. For more information contact the SALUD Fitness Center at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Night Out 2023
Join the Chicago Police 4th District in celebrating 40 years of National Night Out on Tuesday, August 1st. The event will be held at Eggers Grove Nature Preserve from 4:00 P.M. - 9:00 PM. National Night Out supports police and community partnerships in all neighborhoods. The event offers entertainment and activities and more. We hope to see you there!
Health and Wellness Back-to-School Event
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network (SCNN) and partners will host the annual Health and Wellness Back-to-School Event on Friday, August 11th. The event will run from 10:00 A.M. - 2:30 P.M. on the block of 91st and Brandon. There will be a bookbag giveaway, games for kids, music, food, and more. SCNN is still accepting donations of school supplies, snacks, and applications for resource vendors. For more information contact Program Manager Tiarra Owens at email@example.com
Finance and Budgeting Workshop
Claretian Associates and Center for Changing Lives collaborated to host a finance and budgeting workshop for residents and community members. Attendees learned the importance of budgeting while living on a fixed income. There will be a second workshop at the SALUD Center on Thursday, August 17, at 12:30 P.M. Register here.
New Hires at Claretian Associates
Claretian Associates welcomes Clintesha Briner as Resident Service Assistant to the resident services team. Clintesha is responsible for the engagement of the residents and activities. She will be planning holiday parties, senior trips, and more.
Clintesha will be assisting Resident Services Manager Wendy Steward to coordinate events for the multi families and seniors. Clintesha will continue to plan regular activities for the seniors like bingo and resource workshops and organize shopping trips for the seniors.
Prior to Claretian Associates, Clintesha worked as a customer service representative. Clintesha also worked as a CNA at nursing homes and senior nursing facilities. Clintesha is certified to lay brick. She is a second-year student at Phoenix University Online and is studying Health Care Business Administration. As Resident Service Coordinator, Clintesha hopes to bring the residents happiness through engagement.
Chicago Neighborhood Development Award
Claretian Associates in partnership with the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) is pleased to announce that we have been awarded the Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award for the preservation of the South Chicago SALUD Center and Senior Housing. The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards hosted by LISC Chicago was held on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at the Geraghty. We are grateful to our team who made this project a reality! Learn more about our award here.
Health and Wellness Back to School Event
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network (SCNN) and partners will host an annual Health and Wellness Back to School event on Friday, August 11. The event will take place at 91st and Brandon. A bookbag giveaway and other goodies will be offered. This is the third year SCNN and partners will be hosting this event. “It's a way for us to connect with community residents and help families get ready for the start of the school year,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens. SCNN is now accepting donations of school supplies, snacks for kids and applications for resource vendors. For more information contact Tiarra at firstname.lastname@example.org
Re-grand opening of SALUD Fitness Center
Claretian Associates recently hosted a re-grand opening of the SALUD Fitness Center. The event offered raffles, snacks, and music. Attendees who attended were entered into a raffle to win prizes and participated in fitness bingo. Participants were introduced to the Peloton spin bikes and other exercise equipment donated to the SALUD Center.
Two fitness events were held to introduce the community to the SALUD Fitness Center. At each event attendees played fitness bingo to familiarize themselves with the workout equipment. Each attendee received stickers on their bingo sheet for exercising on the equipment listed. Staff members provided guidance to attendees on how to utilize the exercise equipment.
The second fitness event was held for Claretian Associates’ Violence Prevention Program, Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P). Outreach workers and their participants were introduced to the exercise equipment and learned how to perform basic stretches before exercising.
The Peloton Spin Bikes are the highlight of the fitness center. In February of 2022, Peloton donated $100,000 in exercise equipment, program subscriptions and grant support to Claretian Associates. Earlier this year, Claretian Associates had a soft opening for the fitness center and hired a health and wellness coordinator. Last month, the YMCA donated weight room equipment. “I want people in the community to say, ‘Hey let’s go get fit at the SALUD,” said SALUD Program Manager April Morris.
When the South Chicago YMCA closed, Claretian Associates and Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) partnered to acquire the building. Since then, community meetings have been held to receive feedback for the vision of the SALUD Center. A common theme from the community feedback was the need to bring the Fitness Center back online. “We brought the fitness center back due to community response to get healthy,” said SALUD Center Program Manager April Morris.
The Fitness Center is open Monday – Saturday with a paid membership. Health and Wellness Coordinator Maurice Garrett is available to guide and assist SALUD Fitness Center members. For more information on the SALUD Fitness Center contact April at email@example.com
Fitness Center Membership Available
The SALUD Fitness Center is now fully open and running a membership Summer Sale. A 3-month membership is $39.99. Starting in September, regular membership will be $14.99 per month. You must be 18 years old to join. Fitness Center hours are 8AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday but stays open until 8 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturday and Holiday hours are 8 AM to 1 PM. A day passes will only cost $10. Come check us out!
The Fitness Center offers a wide range of equipment weights to a variety of cardio equipment. Peloton spin bikes are available to take self-guided spin class. Not sure how or where to start? Health and Wellness Coordinator, Maurice Garrett, is available to guide and assist. For more information contact the SALUD Fitness Center at firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Youth Programming
Summer Youth Programming has begun at the SALUD Center!
The seniors at Villa Guadalupe Senior Services and the South Chicago SALUD Center attended presentations on Domestic Violence during Violence Prevention Week. Program Coordinator, Pamesha Robinson, presented to the seniors and provided them with information on awareness of elder abuse. Our elderly are a vulnerable population and every person, no matter how old, deserves to be safe from harm from those who live with them, care for them, or have daily contact with them.
Older people today are more visible, active, and independent than ever before. As the population of older Americans grows, it’s necessary to ensure they have appropriate care resources. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 10 people aged 60 and older who live at home experience abuse, including mistreatment and exploitation.
Claretian Associates held a community meeting to provide a status update on SACRED (Sustainable Affordable Commercial Real Estate Development). In partnership with Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, Claretian Associates is developing an 81-Unit affordable housing development at the corner of 92 and Burley Avenue. The unit will have studios, 4 bedrooms and 6,000 sq.ft. of commercial space. Read more about the development here.
The meeting was a presentation of floor plans and to receive feedback from the community about potential interior designs. SACRED will have a parking lot and private outdoor space for the residents. SCARED will be designed for young people, all the way to grand families. The plan is to break ground next year, 2024. “I think it's great that a project of this size is coming to 92nd and Burley. It’s the continuation of new and better things to come to the neighborhood,” said Real Estate Project Manager Mikael David.
Chicago Air Quality
Chicago continues to be affected by the Canadian Wildfires. Claretian Associates received a report from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) asking residents to exercise care. Sensitive populations, including individuals with heart or lung disease, older adults, pregnant people, and young children should avoid outdoor activities and take precautions to protect themselves from exposure. For more information on the air quality and to stay updated see here.