Program Update

Greetings Friends,

As we make our way through the month of December and celebrate the final weeks and days of fall semester, it’s a natural time to look back on the semester and 2018 in general, to take stock and gain perspective. It has truly been a transformational year, a year of tremendous opportunity and growth. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

In 2018 we provided programming at a maximum of nine sites around the city: SRHAC, Primo Sangamon, Primo Homan, House of the Good Shepherd, Cornerstone Community Outreach, Su Casa and Family Rescue Ridgeland, with two sites new for 2018, Apna Ghar and Primo Western. Program curriculum was meticulously revised every semester and included new activities, new read-aloud books, and new components to support students’ social and emotional development.

We also expanded programming to include more middle school students at more sites. House of the Good Shepherd continued with Literacy Mentors and included visits from the Poetry Foundation, Math Circles, and special speakers and presenters. Primo Sangamon enjoyed Classrooms, Inc. programming over the summer, utilizing technology to solve real-world problems, and Cornerstone started middle school programming to support students with test preparation, homework help and literacy and math experiences.

Students enjoyed many special experiences and field trips in 2018, including cooking lessons at Bloomingdale’s, a visit from Sesame Street characters, several trips exploring the arts and sciences, an art show at the Literacenter and many more. Family Game Nights expanded to four sites every month, and experienced record high participation levels from partners and families. Students at House of the Good Shepherd also enjoyed a Dance Program and will be attending a field trip to the Nutcracker, put on by the Joffrey Ballet.

Our creative, innovative curriculum included over 100 books, exploring cultures from around the globe, wide varieties of artistic and literary formats, and lessons of life on grand and small scales. Through our enrichment activities and our partnerships with more than a dozen enrichment partners, our students were superheroes, scientists, sculptors, writers and designers, among many other things. When I really pause to consider the breadth and depth of wonderful work that occurred this year in every respect, I’m filled with tremendous gratitude. Our program is impactful and important, and it is an honor to take part in its growth.

To all of our partners, supporters and friends: thank you, and warmest wishes for 2019.

Erica Walker, MA, LSW