Greetings! I am Erica Walker, and it is my pleasure to introduce myself as the new Program Manager at Chicago HOPES for Kids. I joined the team during the first week of February, and I am thrilled to be part of this special mission. In an effort to learn as much as possible about the program and its implementation, I have prioritized visiting each site, meeting HOPES staff members, site coordinators, volunteers, shelter partners and students, and listening to their input. There’s so much to learn!
Our program is currently based at seven locations throughout the city, partnering most recently with Apna Ghar, Primo-Homan Center, and Su Casa/You Can Make It. We continue to reach out to shelters and organizations throughout the city to establish partnerships and grow the program. Additionally, we have established several new enrichment partnerships. The first is with Code Create, which combines artful craftsmanship with technology and engineering; this programming will commence at our Cornerstone and Primo-Homan sites starting in March. The second newest partnership is with Ignition, a local glass-blowing foundry, which will be working with our site at House of the Good Shepherd.
Earlier in the month we were fortunate to receive a generous donation of Apple iPads from our partners at 7-Eleven, and we excitedly anticipate incorporating the tablets into the program. Additionally, thanks to another generous donation of backpacks, school supplies and toiletries, we have been able to supply students at most of our sites with fresh, brand new items they can use to support their success during the school day.
I’d also like to take a moment to welcome our newest site coordinator, Shawnice Reid, based at our SRHAC site. Between our capable site coordinators, motivated Americorps members, helpful volunteers and enrichment partners, our students are receiving high-quality programming that is fun and effective. Thank you to everyone who contributes to the success of Chicago HOPES for Kids; your efforts are truly making a positive impact!