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.