July 30th, 2008
Tracy at her internship, After School Matters. You can see some of her students in their computer literacy class, and her supervisor Mr. Johnson.
Leesa’s Chicago Communities and Cultures Seminar learned about Chicago’s architecture and sculpture on a walking tour with Executive Director and Instructor Scott Chesebro.
photos by Scott Chesebro and Anna Clement
July 28th, 2008
Here at the Chicago Center, we love hearing feedback from alumni! Chicago Center Alumni Shava Jamerson writes:
“The Chicago Center was such a great experience for me and if it was not for your program I would not have accomplished as much as I did. After I interned for the Legion Records thanks to the Chicago Center, that gave me the confidence to move forward and I ended up interning at one of the largest records labels in the country SONYBMG in New York City. I can say that it was only because of my persistence that I got from your program and Wilberforce of course that landed me the position. I worked in the Human Resources department at SONY but still I learned a lot about the business of music. I did paper work, event planning, and I also helped conduct orientations for new hires.
I am 100% sure that Chicago is where I want to be!”
July 15th, 2008
Scott’s Monday section of the “Chicago Communities and Cultures” course traveled to the Center on Halsted located on the North side of Chicago, which is a community center for Chicago’s LGBTQ community. Students met with one of the Center’s directors and received a tour of the magnificent building, where they learned about what the Center has to offer. Students then traveled a few miles to the Bailiwick Theater, where they met with Artistic Director David Zack. David explained the types of plays the theater hosts, as well as shared some of his personal experiences as a gay man. David asked students about their own college environments, as well as their thoughts and opinions regarding personal and public perceptions of the LGBTQ community. Later that evening the students traveled to Andersonville, where they visited Women and Children First bookstore, had dinner at the LGBT diner “Hamburger Mary’s,” and attended the LGBT production of “The Ville” upstairs from the restaurant. “The Ville” is a weekly soap opera that provides an entertaining performance regarding lives of LGBT individuals.
Anna Clement, Class Assistant
July 9th, 2008
On Monday, July 7th, Chicago Center students and staff hosted a panel discussion on youth violence featuring some of our City’s most passionate and influential voices. Panelists included Ronald Holt, father of slain student hero Blair Holt, Wilbert Taylor, Jr., a young man injured by gunfire during a house party, Diane Latiker, founder of Roseland’s Kids Off the Block Club (profiled in Chicago Tribune Magazine on June 15, 2008) and Lisa Rivera, Armenia Rodriguez and Oscar Contreras who, together, have given mothers of youth involved in gang activity a crucial vehicle for support (Rivera, Rodriguez and Contreras were profiled in a May, 2008 Chicago Sun-Times article).
Panelists shared their life experiences with youth violence and spoke about what Chicagoans must do to make a difference. Jonathan Peck of the Southwest Youth Collaborative facilitated the panel discussion.
Leesa Albert, Instructor
Photos by Pam Adams, Instructor
July 8th, 2008
Some more Summer 2008 students with their Internship Placements:
Megan – My internship is with Streetwise, a non-profit newspaper that helps “down on their luck” people get back on the right track by providing jobs for them as vendors and offering typing/reading classes and various skills training. I chose that internship primarily because I had a difficult time finding available, quality internships within my desired field of book publishing. More positively, though, I chose it because Streetwise is a fantastic organization with great intentions; they function as a legit, well-respected news organization, but they also do everything in their power to help the people of Chicago. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that? Although I wanted to edit, Streetwise has me working mainly as a reporter. I’ve been researching Chicago’s culture and politics, tracking down interviews and writing news stories–the whole journalistic shebang. I work almost completely by myself, so it’s a little lonely, but, on the positive side, it’s pretty cool to have so much responsibility.
Nikki - I am working at The Branch Family Institute. I chose this internship because I want to get a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling. When I interviewed here, they said I would get to do some counseling as well as supervise visits between parents and their children. Since I arrived I have been creating a database of clients and performing some other office work. However, I am also being trained to counsel clients and to supervise visits. I am also getting to see how a non-profit organization runs and so far it’s been a great experience!
Diana – I am interning at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, which is a non-profit providing free representation for the people of Chicago in eviction and default proceedings. I chose this organization because I am interested in going to law school and I already have worked in the housing field prior to Chicago Center. I also liked the aspect that it is a non-profit and their main goal is to keep people in their homes and off the streets. I am working with the social worker to place people with immediate need in temporary shelters, homes, and emergency housing. I am also working on a one-on-one basis with clients locating housing and employment and providing the resources people need to get back on their feet.
Julie – I’m interning at Latinos Progresando in Pilsen. It is a nonprofit grassroots organization that offers legal services to immigrants along with community education and workshops, a youth theatre program, and a college bound youth group. I am interested in this kind of work because I am interested in human rights and social justice. LP works for just immigration laws. I also have an interest in the Hispanic population since I am a Spanish major and have studied this culture in depth. I have also traveled to Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and plan to return to Central America two weeks after the program to study for the fall semester in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. I enjoy speaking Spanish and have gained a lot of Hispanic friends through my experiences which have made me feel close to the culture. Right now, I am working on an education model for the College Bound Youth Group. I am making a graduate school guide which includes topics as how to choose majors, how to succeed in college, how to motivate students for higher education and promote specialized degrees. I am contacting colleges with bridge programs, organizing information, researching, learning a lot about immigration law, and using some Spanish when clients are unattended.
Sarah Lindesmith – My internship is at World Book Publishing. I chose that internship because it offered me the opportunity to get to do some real editing work; it also is a good name to have on my resume so that when I am looking for a place to publish my own manuscripts, I will have a good reference. I’ve been working on updating the online articles at World Book – sorting some of the biography articles, fact-checking and updating some articles, and working with the Spanish encyclopedia to find websites suitable for little kids.
July 2nd, 2008
2008 Chicago Summer Internships
Our Urban Academic Students work with Chicago Center Staff to find an internship that meets their career and personal goals. Here is a summary of what some of our 2008 Summer students are doing in their internships.
Damen – I am interning at Free Street Theatre located on West Blackhawk Street. I choose this internship because it is theatre-based. I am also given a chance to find myself within a group and to work within material that I help create. Thus far, we have created a play and come up with workshops that we can teach to kids. Each day, Monday through Thursday, the cast of our play goes to a different park and teaches kids.
Sascha – I am interning at Interfaith- Refugee and Immigration Ministries. In my studies, I am focusing on migration; especially immigration to the United States. I am helping case workers who support refugees (from Iraq, Burma, and African countries) with applications (such as state ID), and I am doing research on American immigration policy and the causes for migration, mainly from Mexico and Asian countries.
Lauren – My internship is at the Respitory Health Association of Metro-Chicago in the marketing & public relations department. The reason that I chose my internship was it seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about non-profit organizations and the cause is close to my heart (my brother has severe asthma and continues to be a chain smoker). I’m currently doing PR for an event called Cowalunga. It is a 3 day bike ride at the beginning of August that raises money toward lung-disease research. I am also working on improving the website and newsletter, as well as administrative work.
Joe – I am interning at Access Living. I chose this internship because I wanted to gain more experience in a field of social work which I have not yet been exposed to. I assist with the agency’s “Home Again” program working with senior citizens who are ready to leave the nursing home. They contact us and we work with them to find affordable housing and help them develop skills to live successfully on their own.
Okwara – My internship is at Free Street Theatre. We go around parks in Chicago teaching kids some games and warm ups used to energize and help with voice, body, mind, and soul. After the workshop, we all perform a play we made during orientation week. I chose this internship because I like working with kids for one, it helps me as an actor to gain new skills to warm up, and discovering more about myself.
Kristin – My internship is at the Chicago League of Theatres. It is downtown in the loop at Jackson and Wabash. I chose this internship because it is a nonprofit organization. There are only 6 full-time people in the office, making it personable and friendly, and also allowing me to get my hands into multiple projects dealing with marketing. On my first day, I have written a press release on the upcoming theater productions for theater Thursdays for July and I have been doing research on-line for updates in theaters around the city.
Sam – My internship is at the Lill’ Street Art Center where I help teach for the gallery as well as assist Artreach (a non-profit organization working through Lill’ Street). I’ve been following teachers around and assisting with a few kids classes. I will also be teaching a few of my own art classes to kids of various ages. I wanted to work with kids, but I also wanted to see the behind-the-scenes work of an art gallery. This job seems to cover both pretty well.
Maria Rodriguez – My internship is at Casa Aztlan, located in Pilsen. I chose that internship because I saw the necessities that the Hispanic community have in Pilsen, and I decided that I wanted to be part of the helping group of Casa Aztlan. In my internship, I teach basic English classes, help translate some papers, help answer the phone, serve lunch to the kids, and teach Spanish. Each day is a little bit different. The main thing that I do is teach English and Spanish classes. The English classes are held three days a week and the Spanish class is one day a week.
Tosha – My internship is at the non-profit organization Alternatives, Inc. I chose to do this internship because I really wanted to work with children this summer and use both my psychology and sociology major. So far, I’ve been helping to run a summer camp. I am in charge of my own group each day, and I will run my own workshop.
Tracy – I am working at the Better Boys Foundation in North Lawndale. I am working in the Department of Family Services. I chose this internship because they have so many services for at-risk children, adolescents, and families. I have been afforded the opportunity to interact with the community in ways I never thought I would. I have spent time in the teen room supervising 13-16 year olds. I also visited a placement facility for homeless teens. I sat in on a Stop the Violence panel with the 10th district police department. Most recently, I visited an elementary school summer program where I will be working with the children on Tuesdays. I love this internship and I definitely made the right choice.
Beth – My internship is at Community TV Network. I chose that internship because I wanted to work with film production and to become familiar with the equipment and production process. At my internship I have been working with high school students in the After School Matters program. I help them film public service announcements about issues that are important to them. I make sure they have what they need and help them if needed.
Liz – My internship is with Thresholds South, a psychiatric rehabilitation center on 47th. The primary reason I chose to work with Thresholds is because of the great work they are doing to promote the recovery of its members and to reduce the stigma of mental illness. They offer a variety of programs that are geared toward providing members with the skills they need to become more independent and to become active participants in their communities. So far I’ve been involved in a few of the community support groups which have allowed me to meet some of the members and observe the staff in action. Eventually, I’ll be participating in more aspects of the individual and community groups, as well as observing a case manager. Everyone at Thresholds is on a first name basis, and that kind of familiarity makes Thresholds an awesome place to intern at. Even though I’ve only been there three days, I don’t feel like a stranger.
Shannon – I’m interning at the Public Defender’s Office Juvenile and Child Protection Division. It puts me in a position to work directly with attorneys, supervisors, judges, and clerks; which I feel will help prepare me for law school and court endeavors in the future. Recently I have been organizing a TPR case, which is dealing with terminating a parent’s rights from their children. In addition, I have been sitting with Defense Attorneys in the court room for both the Juvenile and Child Protection sides. Here, I have been able to watch probation hearings, sentencings, and violations of probations. On Thursday, I will be organizing an Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile (EJJ) case.
Amy - My internship is at Deeply Rooted Productions. I chose this internship because I am very interested in pursuing a masters degree in dance therapy and Deeply Rooted does a lot of work in connecting body, mind and spirit within dance. There is no opportunity for me to really observe theraputic dance in Michigan and Deeply Rooted struck me as a very unique opportunity. It is a mainly African-American based dance company so I have the opportunity to work with populations much different than my own.At my internship I work as the scholarship coordinator and open-ear counselor for the students attending the Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre 2008 Summer Intensive. I also am interning as training management for the Mature Hot Women Program which is a Modern Dance Program that promotes health and emotional wellbeing and release in women over 30. It is a three hour dance class that covers three different styles of modern dance. The class includes two circles which encompass emotional freedom and free thought and speech. Women feel open to tell their stories and relate to one another through movement. I have been mainly organizing work assignments for scholarship students and listening to them when they are getting overly stressed or worked up about any given problem. I take class with the Mature Hot Women program every Wednesday and I plan on taking more classes with the summer dance intensive students.
- compiled by Keith Zabel
July 1st, 2008
Chicago Center is helping the University of Chicago Hospital’s newest Residents of the Friends Family Health Center and Section of Emergency Medicine learn about their new community.
Through the Center’s LearnChicago! Program, these doctors are being introduced to the South Side by Arvis Averette, U of C alum and Chicago Center Social Work Director (standing at the rear of the group in this picture).
Arvis has introduced the South Side to about 60 Residents in the past few weeks, covering the cultural institutions, history, politics and economics. “I try to show them about the health of our communities on this tour too,” says Arvis. Encompassing many middle- and upper- class neighborhoods, the South Side is also home to realities such as ‘food deserts’ (nowhere to buy healthy or fresh food) and environmental dangers for some neighborhoods built on old sewage dumps.
“Another thing that I think is very positive is that a lot of these doctors are now making their home in the city, and on the South Side. Two or three years ago, most of this group would have been commuting in from the suburbs. Now many of them live in Woodlawn.”
July 1st, 2008
During Summer Session 2008 Orientation, students traveled to the legendary Velvet Lounge to hear some quality jazz music!
Quote from the Velvet Lounge website:
The Velvet Lounge is the only place in the world where you can hear the Chicago sound five days a week. The Sunday night jam sessions have been an effective way to promote younger members of the jazz community. Fred Anderson opened the Velvet Lounge in 1982 after his club The Birdhouse, on the near north side, closed due to city zoning ordinances.
“I got fascinated over this music, and I just wanted to make a contribution. It ain’t nothing but folk music, like Hungarian folk music. It is all the same thing. That’s why I think Bartok is so good. He was playing and writing Hungarian folk music.” -Fred Anderson
photos by Keith Zabel