New Director of Safety Programs
Claretian Associates welcomes Sam Castro as the new Director of Safety Programs. Sam has worked in the safety sector for 15 years. He was formerly at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago working in Austin, West Garfield Park and Back-of-the-Yards, and Brighton Park. Sam started as an outreach worker, became a supervisor in the Ready Chicago Program and was later promoted to program manager.
In 2019, at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago where Sam was a program manager safety, in their area, there was 57% reduction in violence. “Not only was it attributed to the work that we did, but it was also in collaboration with law enforcement, faith base organizations and elected officials,” said Sam. Sam also helped build a non-aggression agreement in Brighton Park with FLIP (Flatlining Violence Inspiring Peace) participants. The following year former organization, Institute for Nonviolence Chicago partnered with an organization, who received funding to do outreach in the Brighton Park community. “That for me was a success because I had guys who were FLIP participants and then became outreach workers, and just believing in the vision of violence prevention through the city of Chicago,” said Sam.
For Sam, violence is nothing new, he felt that it was his duty to help restore and build some of the communities that he helped destroy. “For me the plague of violence is relentless anywhere you go, so I said to myself, I will be relentless in helping prevent [violence] where I can and to help change lives of people,” said Sam. As Director of Safety Programs, Sam would like to bring the best practices that are used throughout the city to help reduce violence. “They have been doing amazing work here. It's just bringing fresh thoughts and new ideas. The magical part is how to get all the program to coincide in one. We all work safety, not reinventing the wheel, just greasing the wheel to make sure we are all connected,” said Sam.
Sam is looking forward to learning about housing and understanding community trauma and challenges. He will be doing restructuring with CP4P. Sam wants to make sure there is seven-day coverage, but also wants to respect the team’s days off because selfcare is important in their work. “I’m looking forward to building relationships with all community partners, elected officials and professional understanding with law enforcement,” said Sam.
South Chicago Neighborhood Network Health and Wellness Fair
The South Chicago Neighborhood Health and Wellness Fair is approaching, April 13, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the SALUD Center. “We wanted to have the Health and Wellness fair to reengage the community, and bring attention to health disparities,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens. Immunizations, dental health, and other resources from South Chicago will be offered. Advocate Aurora Health, Chicago Family Health Center, Family Rescue, Metropolitan Family Services and Pilsen Wellness Center, and other local organizations will be providing resources.
Advocate Aurora Health will be providing an immunization van, medical students and providers on site to answer questions for community members. “They will be showing how read and answer questions that attendees may have about their medical records,” said Tiarra. Place of Purpose will have meal demonstrations, healthy snack instructions and will catering the lunch. The fair will have a DJ and live. entertainment as well. “This event is for everyone, seniors, young adults, youth, families, no age limit. We want to start to build that family connection with residents in South Chicago,” said Tiarra. For more information about the health and wellness fair, contact Tiarra Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org
The fair leads up to the Paint and Create event. Teens and their families will receive a canvas and create a painting about the artistry in South Chicago. For more information contact Pamesh Robinson at email@example.com and register here.
One Summer Chicago UNITY Squad
UNITY Squad is starting to recruit for One Summer Chicago programming. Students are employed to learn in a series of modules, focused on leadership development, trauma-informed mental health and wellness, workforce preparedness, and civic engagement. Youth can apply here. Learn more about UNITY Squad here.
Our Strategic Planning
Claretian Associates' is working on our strategic plan. “We are embarking on the next five years, what our work will be, who we will be as an organization and what we will focus on,” said CEO Angela Hurlock. Claretian Associates will be getting input from board members, staff, residents and stakeholders about opportunities for growth and where to be focused for the next three to five years. “The last strategic plan got us to where we are now. We are excited to be at this point and look forward to continued growth and being able to serve the community,” said Angela.
Senior Spring Fling
On April 20, Change for Action is hosting a Spring Fling for the South Chicago SALUD Center Senior Residents in the court yard. Social Services Coordinator Wendy Steward and Frances Bratt from Change for Action worked together to have outdoor activities for the seniors. “We came up with the idea to have a spring party in the court yard,” said Wendy.
We’re Building- New Homes Project
The two New Homes located 92 and Brandon are set to come online in late April or early May. Claretian Associates was granted land, which is being called, the Black Industrial Site, located on 3200 East 92nd Street. They will have a community engagement meeting for their usage of land. Villa Guadalupe Senior Services is also soliciting architectural bids as it prepares for the renovation of the facilities.
Save the Date on May 14, for Claretian Associates Housing Fair with Fifth Third Bank, Center for Changing Lives, and Spanish Coalition for Housing Resources will be available on how to better access housing, improving credit and applying for loans. Look for the Fifth Third Bank eBus which provides financial evaluation, credit reports, financial education modules and more. The fair will be held at the SALUD Center from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Paint and Create
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network UNITY Squad will have a Paint and Create on April 29 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Youth and their families will learn about the artistry of South Chicago. They will create a painting from what they learn about South Chicago history. Register here.
UNITY Squad Meet and Greet
UNITY Squad will have a Meet and Greet on April 27 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the newly furnished Teen Drop-in Space. Program Manager Tiarra Owens and Youth and Family Coordinator Pamesha Robinson will meet with youth and family and introduce the UNITY Squad Program. There will also be assistance with the One Summer Applications. Learn more about UNITY Squad here.