Farewell Far South Side

November 23, 2010

This quarter, our class as a whole learned a lot, not just from the class itself, but the experiences we had and the readings we did.  Throughout the quarter, we went to four different site visits.  Each site was a different tutor/mentor program and was unique in its own way.  It showed us that not one tutor/mentor program in Chicago is the same and they are there for all different sorts of children.

When first coming into this class, none of us had a clear understanding of what exactly a tutor/mentor is.  Is it a teacher?  Is it a counsler?  Well, it can be.  It can be anyone from a teacher to a parent, or even a friend.  It is someone who helps guide you and steer you into the right direction;  someone who will play a positive role in your life.  This class has definiley helped build the idea of what we now think of as a tutor/mentor.  Not only did the readings help, but the site visits as well.  I remember when we visited Elliot Donnelly Center, that was when it all clicked for me.  The staff there did a real well job explaining what exactly they do for the kids.  They set a real comfortable environment for both us and the children.

As for the next group who chooses the far south side be prepared for your jaw to drop many times. The extreme crime numbers and the insanely poorly run schools will blow your mind. You all may think that you know a lot about Chicago but remember to keep an open mind and do not judge too quickly. The far south side is a great choice because in our minds it is the area of Chicago that needs the most help. The children live in fear and the tutor/mentor programs that they attend provide a safe haven for them. A place where they can love school, love themselves, and have someone love them right back. Most would think that a place that is so in need of a safe place for children would have more tutor/mentor programs. In reality out of 3 major south side locations, only 3 tutor/mentor programs were found all together. They were poorly funded but yet well attended. This shows that these programs are just crying out for help.

The next group that decides to take on the far south side should choose different parts. We decided to dig deeper into Washington Park, Morgan Park and Greater Grand Crossing. You guys and girls should choose different locations so that the whole far south side is covered and knowledge about all of it is spread throughout the World Wide Web. For our research we focused a lot on numbers and a more logical approach. To add depth to the entire blog your group can focus more on an emotional appeal. Tell stories about the far south side that will really show the help that is needed.  Do not hold back, there is no such thing as exposing too much when it comes to the education of children.


The Fun of Funding

October 26, 2010

Washington Park

The Washington Park Youth Center has been operating for 25 years. Their factors of success include dedicated volunteers and award winning programs. They receive some of their donations from private donors which will also help them become a successful program. Each part of the program is funded by various donors. Many foundations give generous amount of money to help keep this youth program running. They do receive some donations from large corporation like the Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio 720. Funding come from the city too. They get money from the Chicago Department of Children & Youth Services. When visiting the website for Washington Park Youth Center one will find that making a donation is very simple. You can just click on the donate tab and then choose your amount. The website also shows statistics of what their work has done to better the children of Washington Park. This shows the donor that their money is going to a beneficial and successful cause. All of the space and materials for this youth center are donated.

Morgan Park

Morgan Park does not have many tutoring/ mentoring centers. It mainly consists of The Sylvan Learning Center and The Tutoring Mentoring Leadership and Networking Conference. These are funded by government funding with the Sylvan Learning center and The Tutoring Mentoring Leadership and Networking Conference is all community and excutive doners. The reason for this is that Morgan Park has good schools both private and public that work with the children with their grades and overall education. The wealthy neighborhoods taxes go to funding these schools which leads to better teachers who are excited about their job and strive for the children’s success. There is almost no need for this neighborhood to have any tutor mentoring programs. If a child needs a tutor the schools will prvide them with a student to help them with their indiviual needs. The teachers are also there to help the students outside of class if the child wants to set up a meeting with them after class. Even though tutoring mentoring centers would give extra support it would not be worth the money to start them because the children have enough help already.

Greater Grand Crossing

Meyering Playground has been around for a while and has been part of the Chicago Park District ever since it has been built.  Because it is part of a city facility, the funding is very restricted.  They use TIF funds to get money to keep the facilities up and running.  The Chicago Park District’s Board of Commissioners is what approves the TIF funds and decides how much money each park gets.  They are the ones that approve the order to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the city.  TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing.  This method has been around for over 50 years now and is a way for public, city facilities finance their real estate.  Instead of paying everything up front, it is a way to “set up a payment plan” and finance their expenses.  TIF funding is the only way the Meyering Parkground is funded.



Tutor/Mentor Programs

October 13, 2010

Washington Park

There are not very many tutor/mentor programs in Washington Park for kids to choose from.  The only one that I found was the Washington Park Youth Program.  Founded in 1995 the WPYP is one of the largest community programs. It offers many aspects to help the kids of Washington Park successful in and out of school. There are over 150 youth and 175 volunteers in this program. The outcomes are 85% attend college or trade school, 94% retention rate of youth program, and only 1% pregnancy rate. These numbers show the success of this program in helping kids make good life decisions.

This program offers many things from literacy help to recreational play. Literacy help, or otherwise known as “read to me” is for children between the ages of 3-6. This program pairs children with a volunteer who helps teach the child phonics and comprehension skills, while reading to them.  The goal of this program is to have kids enter 1st grade with the necessary skills for success. The prep program is also offered for 3-6 year olds. This program helps stress the importance of the parents involvement in the education of their child. The parents teach their children how to read, which allows for building the child’s educational success and for positive parenting skills. The tutoring program is called the Score Program. Tutoring I, II, and III is offered to 1st-6th graders and teen tutoring is offered to 7th– 9th graders. This program gives one-on-one help to the youth. They focus on healthy and trusting relationships between the tutors and the tutees. The tutors teach the tutee concepts critical to being successful in the classroom. This program also collaborates with the teachers in public schools. The mentoring programs are separated by gender. The Sister to Sister program and the Boys to men programs are offered to 7th-9th graders. The girls and boys are taught life skills while exposing them to the real world. They are paired with adult volunteers who give guidance, prepare lessons and take them on field trips. Saturday dreams is offered to a wider age group, ranging from preK-9th grade. Children are divided into groups based on age and sex. They engage in various activities and take field trips, play sports, and do arts and crafts.

The Washington Park Youth Program also offers after school help. “PASS It On” provides help daily for the children. They rotate through a schedule of activities including: going to the library, book clubs, computer lab time, tutoring, health and nutrition and physical education. The main part of this program is the Peer-to-Peer aspect. College and late high school students offer leadership and survival skills to the children.

The youth program also offers a free clinic to the south side families. The recreational aspect helps the kids enjoy a wide variety of sports. They have soccer, golf, skating, bowling and many more things. By keeping the kids occupied in a program like this, they have less of a chance to get into trouble.


Greater Grand Crossing

In my specific area, there are no tutor/mentoring programs.  The only thing that Greater Grand Crossing offers is Meyering Playground, which is part of the Chicago Park District.  It is located right off of Martin Luther King Dr.  A lot of people ask, how can a park district possibly be a tutor/mentoring program? Meyering offers are a lot of different classes and activities that range from being free to about thirty dollars.  They have fit classes as well as classes that will help kids with athletics.  I think that this is NOT suitable for Greater Grand Crossing.  This area is a poorer area where kids come from families with not a lot of money.  Most families don’t have an extra thirty dollars to give away to their kids.  Although, they do have a playground for the kids to play on as well as an outdoor water park that is available during the summer season.  They also have baseball and outdoor basketball available.  This is a place for the kids to escape to, forget whatever peer pressure they may face, and be a kid again.

The environment of Greater Grand Crossing has a high poverty rate of more than 60% of the people being unemployed.  Coming from a very low-income neighborhood, there is less funding and less taxes to help support these programs.  Without the money, there is no possibility to have successful tutor/mentor programs.  To many people, that sounds sad.  Why should money be the reason that these poor, innocent children don’t get the help that they deserve.  It’s sad to say that it’s reality.  In order for Greater Grand Crossing to have successful programs, they need more money and more funding.







October 11, 2010

Washington Park

Living in Washington Park is not an ideal situation. It has a high violent crime index of 10 (1 is the lowest), and high unemployment rate. It has a low average income and a low average home price. Many of the schools received ratings of 3-6 out of 10 and yet the parents rated them with 5 stars out of 5. Do these parents have a different idea of a god education, or are they just pretending to be involved when they are really not? One school even spent more money on other expenditures than student support. When researching a charter school in Washington Park I found very different results than a public school. The Washington Park Chicago International Schools mission is “We believe in the innate capacity of every child to succeed.  This capacity must be fostered through high academic and personal standards, respectful and orderly schools, competent and caring faculty and staff, involved and caring parents, and administrative and management leadership which fosters a climate and culture of continuous improvement and a commitment to high and measurable standards of excellence.” They want everyone one to be involved in the success of these children. They have many different approaches on teaching kids with different learning styles, so that the success of each student is ensured. They take pride in their students and have a part of the website dedicated to them called “our stars” with pictures. More schools need to be like this, when kids are believed in it gives them that extra push towards success.

Morgan Park

Morgan Park offers both public and private schooling. Their public school is called Morgan Park High School. They have PTSA meetings and local council meetings. They also offer “college night” to help encourage the kids to want to go to college and further their education after high school. They offer counselors to the kids as support and guidance when needed.
Morgan Parks’ private school is called Morgan Park Academy. This school offered a lot more to the children then Morgan Parks’ public school. It has special admission of all lower, middle, and upper class. Morgan Park Academy offers Global Studies, After School help, Athletics, Clubs, and Service Learning Volunteering.

Greater Grand Crossing

Mount Carmel High School- This is one of Greater Grand Crossing’s private schools. Their mission is “To Live with Zeal for God, for Life, for Learning.” They focus on these there points and try to instill as much as they can in young men that attend Mount Carmel. They try to prepare them for challenges they will face through life and college. They really enforce their kids to go to college. Mount Carmel is an all boy, catholic high school. Priests and brothers have run it since the early 1900’s. This school is greatly known for their great athletics program.

Paul Robeson High School- Paul Robeson High School is part of the Chicago public school district. This school has a strong “school conduct” that they expect out of their students. It is run by the principle and staff who are expected to get treated with respect. They are really strong against Harassment, Intimidation, and Sexual Discrimination. They run their school as a “closed campus.” They don’t allow the kids to go off campus, including lunch periods, until school is out. Just like Mount Carmel, Paul Robeson offers Athletics.


We Are the Legacy

September 28, 2010

Welcome back readers.  We are here to continue the legacy of last year’s bloggers about the far south side.  This year, we will be covering the neighborhoods of Morgan Park, Washington Park, and Greater Grand Crossing. 

We are taking a class that is about all the different tutor/mentor programs in the chicagoland area.  This class helps us get familar with neighborhoods and people that are less fortunate.  We are going to take a deeper look into the areas of the far south side and what programs they offer to help these children succeed.  So far in this class, we have visited Cabrini Connections and the Elliot Donnelley Youth Center.  Even though we have only visted two different sites, we really got the feel of the different neighborhoods and how these programs differ.  With different neighborhoods, comes different needs for different children. 

The far south side is a very interesting place to study.  There is a wide range of social classes that rank from lower to upper class.  Even in the middle class neighborhoods, like Washington Park, there are very minimal resources to help these kids succeed.  What we are going to look at are the different programs the far south side offers and what statistics of children take advantage of these organizations that are offered to them.



Future of the Far South Side of Chicago

November 18, 2009

When looking at the different neighborhoods in this area, it’s hard to put them all into one category. The neighborhoods range from lower class to upper middle class.  Morgan Park and Beverly are upper middle class, Washington Park is middle class, while Roseland and Greater Grand Crossing are upper lower class. These neighborhoods are predominantly African American. Beverly, Morgan Park, and Greater Grand Crossing give support to the children of these neighborhoods through the schooling system, rather than outside programs. Washington Park and Roseland have tutoring/mentoring programs outside of the schooling system. Some of these are organized through churches and small organizations. The reason why tutoring/mentoring programs are needed in this area is because of the high school dropout rates, crime rates, and the lack of positive influences for the children.

A solution to the unsuccessful programs would be to advertise them more, make the activities more appealing to the kids, while also insuring that the general public knows the message and the benefits of participating in them. In order to make these programs more successful, individuals can give their time by volunteering to tutor and mentor kids. Corporations and the government should become more exposed to the needs for financial funding in order to make these programs more effective. The government should take more initiative in helping them because in order to better the education system and the economy, actions should be taken one step at a time, starting from the bottom up.

All information has been gathered about the many communities in Chicago. The next step would be to implement these actions by introducing these problems to the higher authority, meaning the government of Chicago and those in charge of the education system. The next group of students should focus on finding funders for these programs, and find areas that are in need of more programs. They should concentrate their efforts on the schools of communities in need to see what they are offering. They should also focus on encouraging the students to participate in these programs more by asking them what they want and need to be successful. Other than these specific concentrations, future students should not allow these problems to go unrecognized.


Tutor/Mentor Participation Census

November 9, 2009


According to the Chicago Census found online, there are approximately 11,483 kids’ ages 6-18 living in the Roseland area, which consists of the zip codes 60619, 60620, and 60628.  Upon researching, only about 4,112 of these kids attend tutor/mentoring programs in the neighborhood. In these tutor/mentoring sites, a big reason there are not more kids involved is because of the limited space. For example, the Kids Off the Block Program has only enough space to hold 71 kids, and about 80 are on a waiting list.  The area is not very wealthy, which is why the programs are not able to expand. In order to do so, they need money. The majority of the numbers of kids attending these programs belong to the Church.  There are about 3,036 kids involved in Church activities, most likely because they are free, and it is somewhere the kids can go with their parents or families, without having to worry about the cost.  I believe not many kids are involved in their after school programs because they just do not appeal o them.  Having to go to school 8 hours a day, and then going to a program at night does not seem attractive to many kids.  The programs need to be more advertised, have lower costs and more donations, and have a variety of activities the kids can engage in, other than focusing just on studies or worship.

Washington Park

The data received in census that was taken in the year 2000 showed that there were approximately 1682 kids enrolled in school grades pre-k through 12th grade. 80% of the kids attending the Washington Park Youth Program have remained active in it for at least 4 years. A total of 77% of youth active in the program in 2003 were still participating in 2007. The reason why these numbers are so high is because the program has never had a problem with program space, also because one of the main goals is to monitor each participant’s long term goals.

Morgan Park

A census found online claims there are about 12,204 children aged 5 – 12 in the neighborhood of Morgan Park.  Currently there are 70 students enrolled at the Connections Learning Center.  This program has had up to 100 students enrolled in the past.  Causes for the decreased enrollment are uncertain.  Also approxomately 87% of the students who attend Esmond Elementary School are involved in extracurricular activites in their school.  This number comes out to about 374 students.  The school has many after school programs offered including sports, art, math and reading club.


The total population in Beverly is 21,637. There are roughly about 6,000 children living in Beverly. This is the closest estimate I could possible find based on a census formed in 2004. The number of children benefiting from mentoring/ tutoring program are approximately 10-12%. Out of the general population, only 600 to 720 kids benefit from these programs. These numbers show that either the children are not taking advantage of the tutor/mentoring programs or there isn’t a need for them to receive support from these programs.

Greater Grand Crossing

In 2000 the total population in this area was 74,963 and 19,190 are under the age of 18. The census shows that there are about 3,895 16-19 year olds in this area. Out of 3,895 there are 80.1% enrolled and 19.9% not enrolled in school. The census also shows that the population of 18-24 year olds is 6,043 and 73.6% of those people are high school graduates. But only 28.7% enrolled in college or another form of higher education. In total from 3-35 and over years old there are about 21,015 enrolled in school. 3-4 years old is 6.8%, 5-14 years old is 51.9%, 15-17 years old is 15.4%, and 18-19 years old is 6.0%. You can see that has the age goes up the number of people enrolled in school goes down. Basically it looks like people are getting through school, but they could be doing better and getting more children to go into college. This is why this area needs tutoring/mentoring programs to keep children motivated to reach for the best.