October NewsletterRead Now
Promotions at Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P)
Claretian Associates welcomes James Sims as the new CP4P Program Manager and Suncheka Henderson as CP4P Case Manager and Victims Advocate. CP4P is a street outreach program which works with high-risk individuals to prevent and intervene violence.
Learn more about James and Suncheka at CP4P and their past experience below.
As CP4P Program Manager, James builds relationships with local dignitaries such as congressman, alderman, and police commanders in order to work together and reduce violence. James started as a violence interrupter with Cure Violence (Cease Fire), who at the time partnered with Claretian Associates in the South Shore neighborhood. “When I first started, I was on the fence about the position. As the first year went on, I saw myself show passion for this work [violence prevention],” said James.
James became a violence interrupter because he wanted to be a better role model for his children. “I had to be a better father, role model and to some people in the community, a better big brother,” said James.
In 2019, Claretian Associates partnered with Metropolitan Family Services for CP4P and James applied for a Case Manager position. “I wanted to do more to help, so I applied for the case manager position,” said James. During that time James went back to school for Social Work at Northeastern University. James motivated himself to return to school to show his CP4P participants that it was possible to get an education.
James graduated in 2020 from the Metropolitan Peace Academy, an 18-week training program for professionals already in the field of outreach work, and earned the Professionalism Award because of his hard work and dedication while in the training program and returning to school for his bachelor’s degree.
Later on, James became a Supervisor for CP4P and was promoted afterwards to CP4P Program Coordinator and most recently to CP4P Program Manager. “I bring motivation and leadership to the team. I build leaders amongst the team,” said James.
Suncheka started volunteering with Cure Violence and later on with CP4P before she became an outreach worker in 2020. As case manager, Suncheka connects and refers clients/participants to resources. Suncheka also enrolls clients/participants in educational and job readiness programs.
Suncheka is a CP4P Victim Advocate as well. As CP4P Victim Advocate, she supports victims of gun violence and their families. “I connect with victims and their families and offer them different services,” said Suncheka.
Suncheka became involved in violence prevention work because of the passing of her oldest cousin. “He was my oldest male cousin; he was 21 years old. I lost him due to gun violence,” said Suncheka. Since then, Suncheka always wanted to be a part of an organization that prevented violence.
Aside from working for CP4P, Suncheka has her own organization, Let Your Sun Shyne. In her organization she has coordinated meal distributions, clothes drives, tutoring and more. Suncheka thought her position at CP4P was tailor-made for her because of her own community service. Suncheka hopes to bring a fresh outlook and new ideas to her position, and a change to the community.
Center for Changing Lives Co-locates to the SALUD Center
Center for Changing Lives (CCL) has moved into the SALUD Center offices. CCL is a nonprofit financial opportunity center and a HUD approved housing counseling agency, located in the Logan Square neighborhood and now a has co-location at the SALUD Center. CCL is one of 14 financial opportunity centers in the city, but only two are fully bilingual. “For CCL it's really important that all of our material and programming is linguistically and culturally relevant. Every service we offer can be received in either English or Spanish,” said CCL Director of Resource Development Paula Cripps-Vallejo.
CCL rooted on the Northwest side of Chicago since 1989. For many years CCL has serviced the Latino and Black/African American community and advocated to ensure systemic barriers are removed. CCL offers coaching three main areas: financial with HUD approved housing counseling, employment coaching, and resource developing coaching. One of their newest areas is small business and entrepreneur coaching since 2021. “Our three overall goals are to work with community to achieve economic vitality, community wellbeing, and Black and Brown solidarity,” said Paula.
CCL and Claretian Associates will be partnering to serve and ensure community members in South Chicago and other neighboring communities, have resources to reach their goals. “We are excited to take roots on the Southeast to serve the Latino and African American community even more vibrantly in Chicago,” said Paula.
In 2020 CCL and Claretian Associates partnered to provide rental assistance and financial awareness to community members. CCL and Claretian Associates are collaborating to have a resume building workshop at the SALUD Center. Learn more about CCL here.
Claretian Associates and Center for Changing Lives will have Resume Building Workshop on October 27 at 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the SALUD Center. Learn how to create an outstanding resume, cover letter, and more. Lunch will also be provided. For more information contact Youth and Family Coordinator Pamesha Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org Register here.
On October 28, the South Chicago Neighborhood Network, UNITY Squad youth program will have a Harvest Fest at the SALUD Center in the multi-purpose event space. Join UNITY Squad for potato sack racing, pumpkin decorating, smores, music, food, raffles and more. For more information contact Youth and Family Coordinator Pamesha Robinson at email@example.com
The free yoga classes have concluded at the SALUD Center. The South Chicago Neighborhood Network and Yoga Care partnered for six weeks to offer free yoga classes on Saturdays. Each class was designed to have a different theme. Chair Yoga had the most attendees for the remaining three weeks of yoga. In the future SCNN would like to continue offering free yoga classes.
The South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors received a donation of books and DVDs from Girl Scout Troop 60758. Girl Scout Stephanie Lopez completed a service project of collecting books and DVDs and chose to donate to the seniors of the SALUD Center. The community room now has books and DVDs for the residents to check out.
The New Home on 92nd and Brandon is completed. The second New Home development is near completion. The Peloton and Precore equipment were installed in the fitness center. Claretian Associates is working on plans to open the fitness center.
UNITY Squad Afterschool Programming
UNITY Squad is still recruiting for Squad Up afterschool programming. Youth ages 13-18 are welcomed every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m.- 5 p.m. For the next six weeks youth will receive nutrient classes from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Youth will learn and make healthy snacks. For more information contact Youth and Family Coordinator Pamesha Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SALUD Center offers senior walking every Wednesday from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the multipurpose event space, at no cost. For more information contact SALUD Center Program Manager April Morris at email@example.com.
September NewsletterRead Now
Claretian Associates CEO Angela Hurlock Honoree at the Enterprise 40th Anniversary National Conference
CEO Angela Hurlock will be one of The Impactful 40 honorees at the Enterprise 40th Anniversary National Conference. Enterprise is honoring 40 Indvidual's who have helped break boundaries and strengthen communities over the past 40 years. Read more about Angela as an honoree here.
Michelle Thomas new Safe Passage Program Manager
Claretian Associates welcomes Michelle Thomas as the new Safe Passage Program Manager. Michelle will supervise Safe Passage Community Watchers at six local Chicago Public Schools. Michelle has been with the Claretian Associates team since 2009.
Michelle started at Claretian Associates as a Community Watcher for Safe Passage. The Safe Passage Program provides a safe passage for students going and coming from school. She was approached by the office clerk at Bowen High School because she was an involved parent. Afterwards, Michelle was promoted to a Safe Passage Base Operator for three years and later she became the Team Lead for two years. Then she was promoted to Safe Passage Program Coordinator.
When Claretian Associates provided rental assistance through the Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), Michelle transitioned to an ERAP Intake Specialist. Once ERAP concluded Michelle applied and became a Case Manager for Claretian Associates violence intervention program, Communities Partner 4 Peace (CP4P). Now Michelle will manage the Safe Passage Program. “I’m looking forward to being more hands on,” said Michelle.
UNITY Squad Afterschool Programming “Squad Up”
UNITY Squad will have Squad Up afterschool programming on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. at the SALUD Center for 13-18 years old. “This year we want youth to squad up for change. We want friends to gather and come to our afterschool space to learn about how they can make positive and affective change,” said Youth and Family Coordinator Pamesha Robinson.
During Squad Up afterschool programming youth will learn to become chance agents in their community. Pamesha will have organizations present to youth about family structure, school fatigue, bullying prevention, teen dating aspects, and more. Youth will meet in the SALUD Center Teen Drop-In Space for more information contact Pamesh at firstname.lastname@example.org
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network will have a Harvest Festival on October 28, at the SALUD Center from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. at the SALUD Center multi-purpose event space. Fun Autumn activities will take place like potato sack races and making smores. There will be food, raffles, games, and music. For more information contact Youth and Family Coordinator Pamesha Robinson at email@example.com
Yoga Classes at the SALUD Center
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network in partnership with Yoga Care is offering free yoga classes at the SALUD Center on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Yoga mats are provided. “I think it's important that we learn healthier ways to cope with stress. Mindfulness is a good coping mechanism to introduce to people,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens. Registration is not required, but it is encouraged. For more information contact Tiarra at firstname.lastname@example.org Register here.
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network Trauma-Informed Symposium
The annual South Chicago Neighborhood Network Trauma-Informed Symposium, Bruised But Not Broken, will take place October 24 through October 27 virtually. The symposium is a trauma informed conference where community members and providers come together to discuss and learn about different ways to make a better trauma informed community. For more information contact Program Manager Tiarra Owens at email@example.com. Register here.
Back-to-School and Wellness Fair
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network (SCNN), Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), and PlayStreets held the annual Back-to-School and Wellness Fair on August 18 at 9108 South Brandon. Advocate Aurora Heath provided the fair with three mobile health vans, Child Safety and Prevention, Immunization, and Blood Pressure. In partnership with United Way of Metro Chicago, Advocate Aurora Health, and PlayStreets, SCNN provided 350 school backpacks.
PlayStreets in collaboration with CP4P provided a safe space and food for community members. PlayStreets had outdoor games, a bouncy house, and family friendly music. The Advocate Aurora Health Immunization van provided 20 back-to-school health physicals. Community members also received take home COVID-19 tests from Chicago Family Health Center. In total 40 resource vendors attended.
Program Manager Tiarra Owens wanted community members to be aware of resources in their own neighborhood. “I think it's important for community members to see that there are other community organizations in their neighborhood that provide resources. It gives organizations the chance to network as well,” said Tiarra.
The South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors and Villa Gaudalupe Seniors held luncheons for Hispanic Heritage Month. The luncheons were catered by local South Chicago restaurants. During the summer UNITY Squad youth members and seniors gardened together in the SALUD Center garden beds. The vegetables were pulled and distributed during the monthly food giveaway. “The seniors can enjoy the vegetables that they grew,” said Social Services Coordinator Wendy Steward.
The New Homes have passed final inspections and will soon have occupancy. The Peloton and Precore equipment were delivered and installed in the fitness center. Currently Claretian Associates is in discussions with partners to help run and operate the fitness center and pool.
August NewsletterRead Now
Back-to-School and Wellness Fair
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network, PlayStreets and community partners will have the annual Back-to-School Event on August 18, at 9108 South Brandon. In partnership with Advocate Aurora Health, a dental and vaccination van will be provided. Chicago Family Health Center will also have health resources such as take home COVID tests, back to school physicals, and more.
Program Manager Tiarra Owens wanted to have the Back-to-School event because of the importance of health and to bring awareness to local resources to the community. “It's important that people have access to proper health care,” said Tiarra Owens. There will be a bookbag giveaway made possible by United Way of Metro Chicago and other donors.
Summer Youth Programming
Claretian Associates Summer Youth Programming concluded at the SALUD Center!
Learn more about summer youth programming and final presentations below.
The students were interested in the legal system and invited the Cook County District Attorney's Office to learn more about it. The youth prepared for a mock trial with them. “The Cook County District Attorney’s Office came by to teach the youth about prosecution, a defense team and overall, the legal system,” said Program Manager Tiarra Owens.
UNITY Squad final presentation was a mock trial based upon a scene from the movie American Skin. CEO Angela Hurlock was the judge, a few students from TechCorps and Claretian Associates staff members also played a role in the mock trial. Parents and community members were in attendance to watch the mock trial. “I wanted to have a mock trial to teach the youth about civic engagement and critical thinking skills,” said Family and Youth Coordinator Pamesha Robinson.
The youth also collaborated with the South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors for gardening. On the residential side of the SALUD Center are garden beds where the youth and seniors gardened together. “The youth were able to interact with the seniors. A lot of the seniors are going through social isolation because of the pandemic. It was a great opportunity for UNITY Squad to spend time with the seniors,” said Tiarra.
UNITY Squad had an award luncheon at Maggiano's and received their certificates from Tiarra and Pamesha. UNITY Squad Summer Instructor Alycia Evans, and Summer Programming Interns Taliah Bickart and Eleanor Johnston received certificates of appreciation.
This summer the TechCorps students became web developers. TechCorps students created websites for Google Clients. The students created websites from scratch by learning HTML, CSS, Java Script, and more. In collaboration with Google, the students were divided into teams and assigned to a company to create their website. The students not only learned the technical part of building a website, but team dynamics, leadership and project management skills.
The teams presented their finished websites to parents, friends, Claretian Associates, TechCorps staff, and Google virtually at the SALUD Center multipurpose event space. Afterwards, students received their certificate from TechCorps Executive Director Tina Chambers, TechCorps Program Manager Jeremy Rembert, and their summer instructors.
Both UNITY Squad and TechCorps will have programming for the school year. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoops in the Hood
Claretian Associates Hoops in the Hood basketball camp was featured on WTTW Chicago Tonight. Watch the feature here. Hoops in the Hood provides a safe place for youth to play basketball. Neighborhood youth came on Wednesdays and Thursdays to play and learn basketball skills. The basketball camp concluded with participants enjoying brunch and receiving certificates. “We hope to have Hoops in the Hood next year,” said SALUD Center Program Manager April Morris.
The next PlayStreets event will be held in collaboration with the Back-to-School and Wellness event at 9108 South Brandon on August 18 at 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. The next two PlayStreets will be at Thrope Elementary and Arnold Mireles. For more information contact Safe Passage Program Manager Michelle Thomas at email@example.com
The South Chicago SALUD Center Seniors Gardened with the UNITY Squad youth in the court yard. The seniors and youth planted the fruits and vegetables seeds together. A senior already had vegetables growing in their apartment and showed the youth how to transplant plants to a garden bed. “The seniors have been watering and doing the weeding,” said Social Services Coordinator Wendy Steward.
The New Home on 92 and Brandon is awaiting the final inspection on the first two units. The SACRED project has passed pivotal city councils allowing for bidding and permits. SCARED will have 81 units of affordable housing with 6000 square feet of commercial space. We are searching for general contractors to price and build the project.