Friday, October 21, 2011

The Learning Curve: Mission and History

Welcome to the inaugural post of The Learning Curve!

We hope this blog will function as a counterpart to the Femi Memorial Outreach program-- a way to keep our students, tutors, followers, and the residents of Chicago updated on our daily moves and progress as well as offering an innovative approach to interacting with the educational community.

So how did all of this get started? And why should you read our blog?
Part of our mission at Femi Memorial Outreach is to provide at-risk students in the Chicago area with top-notch tutoring and home-work assistance. We love working hands-on with our students, in the classroom. But we also believe there is more that we can offer to the Chicago education community.

 I've often sat, scratching my head and wondering, where can I find reliable information and updates about education in Chicago? Where can I find breaking news about local legislation passed that directly influences our schools? Aren't we all "at-risk" students if we aren't educated about what's going on?
 But, education isn't all politics, what about the kids? Is there a resource that gives personal classroom stories, or a website that posts interviews with students? Can we be the digital refrigerator door, showcasing our students' finest work and creativity? We hope so. This is what The Learning Curve is all about.

What's our history?
It goes without saying that the Learning Curve wouldn't be possible without the wonderful support and resources given by our parent organization Femi Memorial Outreach.

Femi Memorial Outreach is a non-profit after-school program dedicated to helping at-risk students throughout the Chicago area, with a focus on children who come from either immigrant families or low socio-economic backgrounds.

Femi Memorial was founded on October 1st, 2004 by Bob Pedro, a Nigerian immigrant who moved to the United States to start his family . The organization was founded in loving memory of Olufemi (Femi) Robert Martin Pedro, son of Bob Pedro, who died of a rare cancer at the age of seventeen. Femi Memorial Outreach honors Femi by providing students with the opportunity to enhance their educational accomplishments, realize their best selves, and fulfill their dreams.

Femi Pedro (right) with friends 
Currently we serve Loyola Park in Roger's Park, Broadway Armory in Edgewater, Holy Angels in Bronzeville, Mahalia Jackson in Beverly, John Hay Community Academy in Austin, and Bret Harte in Hyde Park.

Students in the Broadway Armory in Edgewater

Our success can largely be attributed to the Federal Work Study program, a grant that provides financial assistance to college students by linking them with community service work for which they receive monetary compensation as well as a decrease in college tuition. By partnering with student employment centers at Chicago universities, our program enjoys increased sustainability and provides elementary students with bright college students who provide academic assistance and serve as role models. In this way, we feel our organization builds and opens dialogues between many types of students. Our university partners include Loyola University Chicago, University of Chicago, and Dominican University.

So watch out for us. Keep us bookmarked. We promise to bring good things in the future.

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