August 6th, 2010
Today marks the last day of work for our 2009-2010 apprentices! After completing a year long contract with the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture, Amy VanBecelaere, Emilie Lewandowski, Kevin Zabel, Michelle Bess, Steve Broadwell, and Whitney Voss will be moving on to the next chapter in their lives.
2009-2010 Apprentices (Not Pictured: Amy Vanbecelaere)
The Urban Apprenticeship is an exciting opportunity we offer Chicago Center alumni that have recently graduated college. More than a job, it offers opportunities for learning and skill development in a supportive urban learning community.
The apprenticeship started in 1990 and grew out of the mutual interests of Chicago Center alums to prolong their contact with Chicago Center and the Center’s interest in strengthening its staff and program. It has exceeded expectations in both arenas and has become a great strength of Chicago Center.
Michelle Bess, LearnChicago! Coordinator reflects on her experience: “Being the LearnChicago! Coordinator has been the most phenomenal job! I have learned so much about the city, life, and most importantly myself. It’s not often that one can find a place of work that encourages you to grow and learn, pushes your boundaries, and inspires you to make a difference. The Center does such amazing work; it was an honor to be on staff.” Following her apprenticeship, Michelle will remain in Chicago working as the Assistant to the Director at the Chicago Posse Foundation, a leadership scholarship program for public high school students. Learn more at http://www.possefoundation.org/about-posse/
Steve Broadwell, Recruitment Coordinator plans to move back to Oberlin and spend time thinking about graduate school. Steve shares, “I’m proud of the infinitely talented students I’ve seen come through the Center this year, and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of their experiences.”
Marketing Coordinator Emilie Lewandowski says, “Working at the Chicago Center has been a really great experience for me. I have learned so much, and grown tremendously as a person. I have really enjoyed being a part of the Chicago Center staff and watching students grow as they complete our programs. It is wonderful to have been a part of that.” Emilie will begin the Master of Social Service Administration program at the University of Chicago in September.
Amy VanBecelaere, Housing Coordinator, is still living in Chicago, and attending graduate school at Columbia College Chicago where she will acquire her M.A. in Dance Movement Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. Amy says, “The Chicago Center Apprenticeship inspired me to become a more articulate, cultured, well-informed individual. I am so grateful for the richness of experiences I have been graced with in the past year, and intend to use all the tools I have gained at my time there in life, in relation with others and undoubtedly in my graduate studies. Through the Chicago Center, I have not only discovered so much about cultures different than my own but have gained an enhanced understanding of my own culture as well.”
Administrative and Special Events Coordinator Whitney Voss says, “I want to say thank you to the Chicago Center for giving me the opportunity to work in the city and extend my time in Chicago for another year. This experience has taught me so much about the different communities and cultures throughout Chicago, and the injustices in our society. My time here has far surpassed my expectations, and I know that I have grown into a better person because of the Chicago Center! ” Whitney plans to travel home to Michigan and enjoy the rest of summer relaxing by the pool. She is looking forward to spending time with family and making plans to attend graduate school in the next year.
Kevin Zabel, Long Program Coordinator, is heading to Knoxville, Tennessee for an Experimental Psychology PhD. program at the University of Tennessee. He says, “My experiences with the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture, both as a student and as an apprentice, have provided me unique opportunities to hone invaluable work skill sets. Collectively, my experiences will forever affect the ways I think about not only my perceptions of others, but the ways in which others perceive me. In short, my experiences have forever impacted me. I am grateful for the many class resources, co-workers, and students I have had the opportunity to meet, engage with, and learn from along the way!”
Our apprentices have all worked really hard this year and contributed a great deal to the accomplishments of the Center. A new set of apprentices will join the Chicago Center during the upcoming week.
August 6th, 2010
Whitney Voss, Administrative and Special Events Coordinator
The Urban Apprenticeship is an exciting opportunity we offer Chicago Center alumni that have just graduated college. More than a job it offers opportunities for learning and skill development in a supportive urban learning community.
The apprenticeship started in 1990 and grew out of the mutual interests of Chicago Center alums to prolong their contact with Chicago Center and the Center’s interest in strengthening its staff and program. It has exceeded expectations in both arenas and has become a great strength of Chicago Center. The Urban Apprentice usually spends one full year in residence at Chicago Center. This month Whitney Voss, Administrative and Special Events Coordinator talks about her experience with Chicago Center:
“Hello! My name is Whitney, one of the six apprentices finishing up our final week at the Chicago Center! I am amazed by how fast the time goes by and sad to be ending this wonderful opportunity to live in Chicago. I am grateful for my time at the Chicago Center, and now feel equipped with the tools to take on any adventure that comes my way!
My hometown is Sterling Heights, Michigan, about a half hour north of Detroit. I am an alumna of Albion College, Class of 2009, where I received a liberal arts education graduating with a degree in Interpersonal Communications and Dance.
I attended the Chicago Center my last semester at Albion, coming to beautiful snowy Chicago in January 2009 to participate in the academic term. To complete my credits to graduate, I wanted to find an Internship in dance in which I could learn the behind the scene facets of a dance company. After interviewing with several theatre and dance companies, I was excited for the opportunity to work as a Development Intern at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, a contemporary company internationally recognized for their innovative, groundbreaking movement. I was also lucky to receive the Kemper Arts Fellowship, a program that allowed me to extend my work into the city, gaining hands-on experience in arts management and non-profit leadership through promotion of diversity in education, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Coming into a dance internship, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of inequality throughout our communities, but my time spent with Hubbard Street opened up my world and made me realize how much I still have to learn.
Working at Hubbard Street Dance gave me a taste of the struggles non-profits face and the importance of cultivating strong community-based partnerships. I also learned the ground work for fundraising and event planning, which is what I have been doing for the past year at the Chicago Center!
Participating in the Communities and Culture seminar as a student was probably the most invaluable experience I received while in Chicago. Having the opportunity to be exposed to diverse urban neighborhoods forever changed the way I see and understand the world. Visiting the Southwest Youth Collaborative and meeting Camille Odeh is one experience that sticks out above the rest. Meeting the at risk youth at SWYC made me realize the pressure on urban adolescents and the need for organizations and activities that give youth an outlet to be creative, get help with school, talk to mentors and meet friends. Working with the youth at SWYC for my research topic, allowed me to personally interact with urban teens and gain a better understanding of how an activity like dance could keep youth involved and off the streets.
I enjoyed my time as a student at the Chicago Center so much that I decided to apply for the apprenticeship program. It was easy to fall in the love with the city and I really wanted to extend my time in Chicago. I was excited to be chosen as the Administrative and Special Events Coordinator for the 2009-2010 year, and was even more excited to learn that I would be helping plan the 40th Anniversary gala.
Staffing the student’s events is one of the best parts of the job, you continue to learn about the city and travel to hidden gems and neighborhoods that have so much culture and history. A big part of my position this past year has been managing the Fall and Spring Fundraisers. Donations and gifts play a big part in keeping a non-profit company running, and I was happy to manage two successful fundraisers, and hope to have laid the ground work for more successful fundraisers to come.
Aside from providing administrative support for office function and maintenance, along with organizing and updating the Chicago Center database, I have most enjoyed working with my supervisor, Althea Conyers, on planning the 40th Anniversary gala! Celebrating Chicago Center’s 40 years of service is a very exciting time, and I was proud to be a party of the planning committee. The 40th Anniversary celebration will be held on November 6, 2010 at Carnivale! After viewing several different locations to find a venue, I am absolutely positive that we have found the perfect place to celebrate the Chicago Center and bring together four decades of alumni! I cannot wait to celebrate the 40th Anniversary and meet so many of you whose lives have been enriched because of the Chicago Center!
I want to say thank you to the Chicago Center for giving me the opportunity to work in the city and extend my time in Chicago for another year. This experience has taught me so much about the different communities and cultures throughout Chicago, and the injustices in our society. My time here has far surpassed my expectations, and I know that I have grown into a better person because of the Chicago Center! A quote that has been heard several times this year perfectly wraps up my feeling about the Chicago Center.
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand. -Confucius
Thank you for helping me understand. I still have so much to learn.”
We’d like to thank Whitney for telling us about her experience and letting us share it with our potential students and alumni!