Gads Hill Center embarks on new partnership with the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) to address Chicago’s racial wealth divide
Recently, Gads Hill Center embarked on new partnership with the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) to address Chicago’s racial wealth divide. Download the press release below for information about GHC's partnership with CFED and other nonprofit organizations, as well as a new report from CFED that reveals a troubling racial wealth gap in Chicago.
Members of Gads Hill Center's leadership team participated in a CFED event in Baltimore, MD in January, 2017
Gads Hill Center (GHC) received a $15,000 grant from the Comcast Foundation to support year two of a technology project in which students in our Building Leaders program are trained to teach parents digital literacy skills. The project targets youth and adults across Chicago’s under-resourced southwest and west side neighborhoods – including North and South Lawndale, Brighton Park, Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, Ashburn and Back of the Yards.
Comcast also supported this project last year with a grant from the Comcast Foundation. Thanks to Comcast’s support, last year GHC provided technology training to 177 residents who demonstrated growth in digital literacy skills; 40 of the residents used enhanced computer access and proficiency to seek employment, with 53% securing employment as a result of their job search. Additionally, the youth digital literacy trainers developed valuable leadership and oral speaking skills, and a tangible advantage they can use to set their college applications apart from their peers. One youth trainer remarked that the program “taught me responsibility – what it’s like to be in the workforce, and to have a hand in helping others.”
With the help of Comcast, GHC will continue to leverage the strengths of local youth by identifying and training a cohort of 12 high school students who have demonstrated a high level of interest and competency in working with computers to serve as digital literacy trainers for other members of the community. Through this cross-generational project, GHC will improve the lives of participants by demonstrating improved digital literacy skills among adults, increasing measures of leadership, pro-social behavior and 21st century skill development amongst youth, and creating college and employment opportunities that will help local residents realize better future.
In addition, this year’s grant provides funding for GHC to update the computer lab at GHC’s Pilsen site with new tech equipment to offer an appealing, committed space for youth to present digital literacy workshops to at least 240 local residents, and to engage in their own learning. The lab will remain open for adults and youth to utilize during the agency’s hours of operation from 8am to 6pm in the summer and 8am to 8pm for the rest of the year.
“We are proud to support Gads Hill Center to help youth and adults develop the skills they need to succeed in today’s digital world,” said John Crowley, senior vice president of Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region.
This grant from the Comcast Foundation is in recognition of Comcast’s commitment to the communities where its customers and employees live and work. Since its founding in 1999, the Comcast Foundation has distributed more than $163 million in cash support of programs implemented locally in Comcast communities.
About the Comcast Foundation:
The Comcast Foundation was founded by Comcast Corporation in June 1999 to provide charitable support to qualified non-profit organizations. The Foundation primarily invests in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on their communities. The Foundation has three community investment priorities—promoting service, expanding digital literacy, and building tomorrow’s leaders. Since its inception, the Comcast Foundation has donated more than $180 million to organizations in the communities nationwide that Comcast serves. More information about the Foundation and its programs is available at www.comcast.com/community.
For her internship, Elizabeth provides mental health support at William H. Seward Communication Arts Academy Elementary School in Back Of The Yards, where she's learning how serve students through a clinical approach. She also works with Building Leaders, the youth program at GHC's Pilsen site where she assists in providing a therapeutic environment for group and individual activities. Elizabeth, who attended nearby Cristo Rey High School, was drawn back to the Pilsen area for this opportunity.
Regarding her experiences at GHC, Elizabeth explains that "after accepting the internship, I knew this was where I belonged. Gads Hill Center has given me the opportunity to grow into a different specialty. My specialization is in Children and Families, and Mental Health was not my main scope of interest — until now. I am grateful to have the clinician I work with at GHC because he is extremely knowledgeable and great at his job. This internship keeps me on my toes and challenges me every day. It is a continuous learning process, and I'm excited to see how much I'll grow by the end of the academic year."
After she completes her degree, Elizabeth has many aspirations: to "feed and shelter individuals and families in need," and "to do everything I possibly can" for others, including opening a group home. "Once my internship with GHC is over," she continues, "I will have the tools and confidence to continue on this path and help others. For now, I'll stick to what I can do today and we'll see if I accomplish everything else!"
At Gads Hill Center, we are indebted to the dedicated students and emerging professionals like Elizabeth who contribute to our mission through internships in departments across the agency. For more information about current internships and other employment opportunities at GHC, visit the Careers page of our website. We're always looking for talented, mission-driven individuals to join the GHC family!
Over the course of two days, the volunteers transformed the space alongside Gads Hill Center's youth and staff with new paint, artwork, furniture, and ingenuity. This included constructing dry erase boards that act as movable partitions to facilitate brainstorming on multiple projects simultaneously.
Building Leaders is a college-preparatory after school program for youth ages 13-18; one of its objectives is to provide enrichment in STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art, and math. As an interdisciplinary program, there's great need for a space that allows teens to work on more than one project at a time, such as building a robot to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition, engaging in ACT preparation, and creating original art. With the help of Marshalls, youth in Building Leaders now have a space that meets those needs — and looks fantastic! In yet another demonstration of support, the Chicago region of Marshalls stores also hosted a clothing shopping trip for 20 Gads Hill Center youth, with a spending allowance of $1,000.
We cannot thank Marshalls and TJX enough for their continued investment in Gads Hill Center's programs and their dedication to our families. If you or your company is interested in corporate or other volunteer projects, please email email@example.com.
Take a look at the photos below to see the transformation in action!
In addition to playing their way through 18 holes at Village Greens of Woodridge, attendees had the chance to win over a dozen rousing raffle prizes, networked over lunch and dinner, enjoyed games on the course, and learned about the mission and work of Gads Hill Center.
We offer special thanks to the 2016 Golf Outing Sponsors:
Despite early morning clouds, the sun was shining by the time golfers got on the green. Check out the photos from this day of summer fun below. We look forward to seeing you next year!
Gads Hill Center would like to thank ComEd and the OLE members for doing such a splendid job helping us beautify our Pilsen site. Friends of Gads Hill Center might recognize one of the volunteers in the photos below as our own Kendrick Rogers, Teen Connection participant and one of the speakers at our 2016 Annual Spring Gala, and currently an intern at Exelon. Thank you, Kendrick, for continuing to give back to the GHC community! Click here to see a video of Kendrick's presentation at Gads Hill Center's 2016 Teen Connection Portfolio Presentations.
If you or your company is interested in corporate or other volunteer projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run visited Gads Hill Center's Club Learn program for a peace ceremony that culminated in the donation of a peace tree and plaque to GHC's Pilsen site. The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run is a global torch relay that embodies humanity's universal aspiration for peace. Since its inception in 1987, the Run has traversed over 100 nations; it does not seek to raise money or highlight a political cause, but to create goodwill among peoples of all nations.
Gads Hill Center would like to thank the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run for bringing the torch to our organization and sharing aspirations for a peaceful world with GHC's youth. We hope to see you again in the future!
With the culmination of another academic year, the youth at Gads Hill Center (GHC) celebrated their achievements at the 2016 Teen Connection Portfolio Presentation Ceremony. This annual event gives program participants an opportunity to showcase their projects to their family, friends, and the GHC community.
Check out videos of the three presentations below!
At Gads Hill Center, we are honored to work with teens who have such a wide range of talents and abilities, who go above and beyond expectations, and who continue to give back to the program and their communities even after their tenure in Teen Connection.
We offer special congratulations to the 2016 seniors who will start college next fall:
Kendrick Rogers, Raylan Grace, and Monica Gamon.
We'd also like to thank the contributors who make Teen Connection possible:
Chicago White Sox
GPD Charitable Trust
NCLR Innovation Lab
Teen Connection is a college-preparatory program that serves high school students interested in attending college, and exposes youth to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while maintaining a focus on post-secondary education. In the 14-year history of the program, 100% of Senior Fellows have graduated with a college acceptance letter in hand. Click here to learn more about Teen Connection and our other Youth Services programs.
This spring, youth in Gads Hill Center’s Building Leaders program developed a Greenspace Project for the NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Innovation Lab, which empowers youth to drive social change through innovation. Their project, which draws attention to the lack of greenspace in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, won first place in the Innovation Lab contest. The video below was scripted, filmed, and edited entirely by the teens themselves. Watch to learn more!
Tell us a little about yourself and why you chose to volunteer with GHC.
I’m a retired engineer. Two years after my retirement I found myself playing around with drum lessons, but then I came across an article that wanted to connect teachers and people from various industries together. The purpose of this was to help teachers get more practical insight into their curriculum. I decided to sign up for this opportunity and a physics teacher from Gage Park High School contacted me. While I was assisting him, he asked me if I wanted to start a robotics team and eventually introduced me to a robotics team on the South Side of Chicago. I became involved with his robotics team, but unfortunately, the team from Gage Park High School faded away. Even though his team no longer existed, I wanted to continue helping students learn about robotics. Luckily, a staff member from Gads Hill Center contacted me and asked if I wanted to start a robotics team. I eagerly agreed to help out and I've been a volunteer with GHC for the last two and a half years.
What would you consider your greatest strengths? How are those strengths an asset when volunteering?
My greatest strength is engineering. I know how to make numerous robotic figures, so I love the technical aspects of the projects I do with the students. When I volunteer, my goal is to keep the teens engaged and help them think critically, so they can come up with answers. I enjoy asking the students “Who, what, when, where, and how?” I discovered the key to teaching robotics is implementing project management, keeping track of their resources, and managing how much time they have to complete a project. I have noticed most of these students don't have any workshops like this in their classrooms. I can tell they appreciate the different method of learning and I feel great knowing how much they're going to need these skills in the work force.
What have you gained from volunteering with GHC?
I have met some really nice people. I enjoy the other volunteers I work with, the staff at Gads Hill Center, and most importantly the students. I feel happy knowing these students are learning, having a great time, and find it's beneficial to work with me. Overall, the robotics team at Gads Hill Center is an amazing group of students.
What has been your most rewarding experience volunteering at GHC?
My most rewarding experience while volunteering at GHC is seeing the enthusiasm of the students when they are involved in the robotics competition. Even when things are not going well, it’s amazing to witness them work together to fix the robot, and run all over the place making sure their individual participation matters. That's the coolest part and is honestly an experience I look forward to every year.
Based on your experience, what can individuals interested in volunteering with GHC expect?
Individuals interested in volunteering with Gads Hill Center can expect to adopt a good sense of priorities from their experiences. They have to understand that it's about the students and not necessarily building robots, for instance, but guiding them to learn about robotics as a subject matter. This can be very difficult at times because volunteers can easily get caught up in competing and focus more on the students winning the competition, instead of understanding the educational process. I may help them build this robot; however, I never want to find myself taking over the project. The best way to help the students is allowing them to learn, allowing them to fail, and allowing them to succeed when they rightfully earn their spot.
Describe a situation that occurred while volunteering during which previous experiences were valuable.
My previous professional experiences proved to be valuable because I've realized that a team requires everyone to work together. Knowing how to work well with a team was my experience in the outside world. I've realized it's not everybody's experience because some people are accustomed to working on their own and have the desire to finish tasks by themselves. Teamwork is very important and really works well in a place like Gads Hill Center.
What's it like coaching the teens in GHC's program?
Overall, coaching the teens has been a great experience in my life. Participating in the Midwest Regional FIRST Robotics Competition is very exciting; I love seeing the teens work together.
At Gads Hill Center, we rely on dedicated volunteers like Bruce to supplement the services our programs provide. We are grateful that he and other caring individuals choose to give their time and efforts to help us create opportunities for children and families to build a better life through education, access to resources and community engagement.