Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A belated Happy New Year, and other glad new tidings

Happy Belated New Year! I know, we're a bit late. Although we've been on the downward slope on keeping up the blog, we still haven't forgotten about our internet community. Stories have been buzzing around my head, and I can't wait to get back into the swing of things.
Would you believe it if I told you we've been busy this year?

2012 has already brought so many wonderful opportunities.
First off, we've partnered with a new school site to begin tutoring. Welcome McNair Elementary to the world of Femi Tutoring. Valerie and I went in early December to the site to do a walk-through and preliminary safety inspection with the head of Off-Campus Employment at Dominican University. We recruit tutors predominately from Dominican to work in our sites on the West Side.

McNair was one of the most inspiring sites I've been to since working with Femi Outreach.
Since the West Side is a transitional neighborhood, the school has had to work hard to keep up with the ever changing flux of students. Additionally, Chicago has one of the most under-funded and attended mental health and disabilities programs for children, especially in the inner city.  (For a great article on WBEZ about this, click here.) Principal Shirley Dillard has gone far beyond the call of duty in fully equipping her school to cater to the needs of handicapped children, grades K-8.

Each floor, comprised of long, tiled sparkling hallways, has designated classrooms divided into grade, and level of disability. Here, students ranging from simple hearing impairments to severe learning handicaps are able to receive the right amount of attention, with trained specialists and in a class room of their peers. McNair doesn't exclusively have a handicapped student population-- all types of children roam in and out of the school day, with toleration and acceptance always at the top of the lesson plan.

I want to welcome McNair today, but also congratulate the Femi Team! It's an honor to be able to work with such a virtuous institution.

However, with the ushering in of a new school, sadly comes the goodbye to another. Unfortunately, we no longer can claim John Hay Elementary as part of the Femi mission. Earlier this week, the fall and bankruptcy of the Jane Addams Hull-House brought the organization to an end. Our participation in John Hay relied heavily on the presence of Hull House, who staffed an after-school supervisor and extra-curricular coordinator for many years. Without the Hull House, we are unable to continue serving the students there.
Later in the week I hope to write more about this. Look out for a post.

To close, here is a picture taken by Valerie of one of our senior tutors, Kristine, whose been with the organization since her freshman year of college. She works in one of our Park Districts on the North Side. 

And look at that forecast! Hello Chicago!

Lastly, some links to things going on around the internet today, along with interesting education articles.
Goodbye Hull House
Obama on drop out rates
10 Tips for traveling with kids
Some great stories by kids over at the 826 writing gallery, and here
Article by bullies, for the bullied
A great organization in Chicago for girls, and finding their confidence

That's all!
Happy Wednesday.

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