April was an exciting and busy month for the program! There was a variety of special activities, including recognition events and gatherings, outings, and special guest appearances. We held our very first Partner Appreciation Event where we recognized donors and supporters who have gone above and beyond to support the program and shared our plans for the future of the program. Children, families, staff and volunteers at our site in Austin participated in a day at the Garfield Park Conservatory, and enjoyed the indoor playground while learning about the extraordinary plants and flowers housed there. Multiple outreach events spread the word about our program across the city and connected people with resources to help improve their lives.
In addition to improved program curriculum, enrichment partnerships were all in full swing in April. Thanks to Code Play Learn, Site Coordinators were provided with training and materials to provide in-house STEM project enrichment activities including an “art bot” which writes while moving. With our latest partner, Code Create, students made cardboard and aluminum-based creations that interacted with the Scratch coding language. Harmony, Hopes and Healing made beautiful music with the students, taught classic rounds and rhymes and even some relaxing yoga moves. Mad Science provided hands-on experiences of chemistry and physics. The Poetry Foundation engaged students with age-appropriate readings and writing prompts.
The program continues to bloom in many ways. With a strategic plan, a variety of partnerships and supporters and a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the program curriculum, Chicago HOPES for Kids is headed towards a strong summer and beyond!