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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.