South Chicago Steel Rides
Our South Chicago Steel Rides have continued this summer with bikes funded last by Allstate. This year, we continued to have bike rides with the intention of having a healthy and safe summer activity, for South Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods. For six weeks, we had a variety of cyclists join. One neighborhood experienced cyclist, Jesse Chapa, was looking forward to this year's bike rides because he rode last year, “I enjoy bike riding, and it was an option available in my neighborhood and I wanted to take advantage of it.” Jesse, a Southeast resident has been cycling most of his life as a hobby.
Our annual Play Street events have been a success this year again. We close off high crime streets in in South Chicago to provide a fun, healthy, safe summer for the community. This year's entertainment included outdoor Connect Four, Jenga, bean bag toss and a bicycle raffle. Ronnie Chester, the new Salud Center Program Manager, said his goal was “To get as many kids out of their house, for some constructive fun and organized play” this summer.
August 18th on the final day of Play Streets, the South Chicago Neighborhood Network (SCNN) and partners will host a health and wellness fair from10am to 2pm, in the parking lot, of 9108 South Brandon Ave. According to Program Manager, Tiarra Owens, the Faith and Health Initiative committee of SCNN, chose to have the fair because with the pandemic, “the health disparities are the same as before. We wanted to make sure we can continue to provide resources to our community, so it won’t be hit so hard against the new variant of COVID-19.”
A COVID-19 Vaccination Van, from Chicago Family Health Center, will be available.
Summer programming for UNITY Squad started in July virtually with the first four weeks and the last two in person. This year marked four years since UNITY Squad was established. In partnership with One Summer Chicago, students are employed to learn in a series of modules, focused on leadership development, mental health and wellness, trauma-informed, work force preparedness, and civic engagement. Students complete a series of activities, and earn badges on skills they have learned.
During the summer, two instructors Alycia Evans and Brandon Young spear head the program. Although virtual learning can be challenging, students have the chance to practice yoga once a week. Students will have the opportunity to meet Congresswoman Robin Kelly this summer.
The program has expanded from summer participation during the whole academic year. Brandon, the all-yearlong UNITY Squad Instructor, says the best part of working with the students is the challenge of guiding and directing youth from different backgrounds, “I like being able to share experiences, information, and knowledge that is out there.”
Claretian Associates received a $75,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust to assist with development of a new Café for the community.
We will be starting construction on two new flats focused on families working their way towards homeownership.
Recently our Case Managers have restarted monthly resident senior bingo, which was put on pause because of the social distancing. Case Manager Jessica Cortez, decided to resume bingo due to social isolation, “their health was deteriorating.” Before summer ends, a few bingo games will be outside with hotdogs and hamburgers. At least once a month Jessica has a senior activity taking place. Senior trips to Walmart or Pete’s Fresh Market have also restarted.