After School Matters teen apprentice Vanessa Arnold, a sophomore at Washington High School, recently attended and was chosen to speak before out-of-school time industry leaders at the After School Allilance's "Afterschool for All Challenge" conference in Washington D.C. on May 8 and 9. Vanessa, who is currently enrolled in her fourth session in the Advanced Culinary Arts program in the East side neighborhood, was joined by her instructor, Gloria Hafer, who has provided this culinary program to After School Matters for more than a decade.
"My program has shown me what I can do and who I can become through food," said Vanessa in her presentation. "I hone my culinary skills while also sharpening my speaking and leadership skills. I hope you all continue to support after-school programs...because they really do matter!"
During the conference, Vanessa participated in a workshop on how to become an effective youth advocate and visited Capitol Hill, during which she spoke with Congressional leaders and staff members about the impact that After School Matters has had on her life.
"Vanessa's skills have developed to the point where she now frequently leads program activities and mentors other teens," said Hafer. Vanessa was introduced to After School Matters by her older sister, who participated in the same program when she was in high school.
As the Spring program session wrapped up, teens in After School Matters programs across the city showcased their work and celebrated their achievements at closing celebration events for family and friends. The Downtown Region held their Annual Spring Gallery Walk, which included a performance of selections from South Pacific by Chicago Opera Theater for Teens and the culinary program served a delicious seafood gumbo. A variety of additional closing ceremony events took place throughout the regions, including performances of martial arts and West African drumming at Humboldt Park and Foreman High Schools, a "peace rally" at Manley High School and a vibrant mural unveiling at Bogan High School. Closing celebrations give our teens unique opportunities to showcase their work to family and friends, while also learning from each other's achievements.
For the first time this year, After School Matters offered a "Bridge" program session from late April through early June. Bridge session programs span the gap between Spring and Summer program cycles in an effort to keep teens engaged between our traditional program cycles and provide even more opportunities for them to find their passion and discover their potential. Examples of Bridge session programs include the tech37 True Star Graphic Design program at Simeon High School and the gallery37 Vocal Arts Ensemble program Downtown.
And this, of course, leads us right into Summer programming! Summer programs begin in late June...but teens should apply now as programs fill up quickly. At www.afterschoolmatters.org, teens can search for programs by content area and location, apply for the programs that interest them and take the first steps toward summer programs with After School Matters!
Last month, After School Matters teen-designed silk scarves, men's ties and notecards were included in the welcome bags provided to guests at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. These items featuring Chicago landmarks are available for purchase in the Retail Store.
The After School Matters Retail Store, located at the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts at 66 E. Randolph, is now offering online shopping, enabling supporters to purchase and ship one-of-a-kind artwork, jewelry, clothing and more created by teen apprentices. The time is right to purchase graduation gifts, Father's Day gifts and more! Find a wide range of painting, scultpures, photography, ceramics, painted furniture for your office, home and more by visiting the Online Retail Store. Proceeds directly support After Schoool Matters programs.
This summer, you can also visit the After School Matters Retail Store booths at the
We look forward to seeing you there!
Teens in the science37 AeroStars Aviation Exploration program at Air Force Academy High School recently participated in a special hands-on, behind-the-scenes tour of Chicago O'Hare International Airport. During their visit, teens saw the fleet of massive equipment used to keep runways in optimal condition during Chicago's harsh winter months at the airport's Maintenance Complex. Standing on the active airfield, teens also felt a bit of jet blast from planes cruising by only a few feet away as ground support services carried out essential duties to prep other planes for flight.
In addition, they visited the United Airlines Maintenance Hangar and examined a 747 Jumbo Jet; each teen even had the opportunity to see the cockpit. On the way to Signature Flight Support, where private aircraft including that of dignitaries, celebrities and corporate leaders travel through O'Hare, teens observed pluming smoke and fire from the state-of-the-art Airport Rescue and Fire Fighter Training Center. The tour ended with a bird's-eye, 360-degree view of the airport atop the Operations Tower.
After School Matters is grateful to United Airlines and O'Hare International Airport for providing this experience to our teens. Through these partnerships, we can expose our young people to rewarding careers and build upon the knowledge gained in programs.
Visit the "Highlights" section of our website for frequent news and updates on After School Matters programs and to learn more about the accomplishments of our teens, instructors and alumni!