2018 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Awards

Chicago HOPES for Kids Executive Director Wins NASW- Illinois Chapter Statewide awards. NASW is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world with 150,000 members and over 7,000 in Illinois. The NASW-Illinois Chapter keeps their members on top of up-to-the minute news and information regarding their professional development, whether it's changes in government regulations, breakthrough treatments, and innovative resources. This month NASW-Illinois Chapter announced Chicago HOPES for Kids’ executive director Patricia Rivera as the Lifetime Achievement award winner.
Pat Rivera has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social worker from the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Pat is the pro bono executive director for Chicago HOPES for Kids, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that provides academic support and literacy mentoring for children living in Chicago’s homeless shelters. Chicago HOPES for Kids began in 2006 as an initiative of Chicago Public Schools Homeless Education Program (HEP) when Patricia Rivera, HEP manager, realized that the majority of homeless shelters in Chicago had little or no academic support for the children living there. As a result, a program, then called “Chicago HOPES” was created with the support of AmeriCorps VISTA members and a great group of volunteers. The program offered students homework help, math and reading support, cultural enrichment opportunities, and field trips. The Chicago HOPES program quickly expanded to 27 shelters throughout Chicago. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, Chicago Public Schools defunded the program in 2010.
Realizing the program was far too valuable to end there, Patricia and a group of HOPES volunteers applied to become an independent nonprofit organization. Nonprofit status was granted in late 2010, and the program started back up at two shelters in Chicago, two days per week. In early 2012, HOPES received 501(c)(3) status as a charitable organization and became Chicago HOPES for Kids with Patricia as the Executive Director.
Currently, HOPES programs are offered in ten shelters throughout Chicago, four days per week. With the support of over 150 vetted volunteers we are able to directly impact over 100 students every day that programs are in session.