After School Matters Citywide Showcase
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Last month, nearly 500 Chicago teens proudly displayed their skills and talents at the After School Matters Citywide Showcase, held at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.

Teens from programs across the city demonstrated skills developed during the past year in an extraordinary presentation of performing and visual arts, science and technology. The evening’s performances highlighted the wide variety of programming that After School Matters offers, including performances from Hi Def Dance Ensemble, Chicago Opera Theater for Teens, Queen Nzinga’s Brigade and a martial arts performance by the Leadership Apprenticeship Mentoring Program, to name just a few.

A Teen Gallery displayed throughout the theater lobby featured a variety of one-of-a-kind, teen-created artwork, jewelry, clothing, photography and more, all of which was available for purchase onsite with proceeds supporting After School Matters teen programs. The Teens-in-Action exhibition showcased hands-on, interactive displays from After School Matters aviation, forensics, science and urban gardening programs.

“The Citywide Showcase is evidence of the passion and determination of Chicago’s teens,” said Mary Ellen Caron, After School Matters Chief Executive Officer. “They never cease to amaze me with their conviction and hard work. What they accomplished tonight should make Chicago proud.”

Teens Participate in Google's High School Symposium
Friday, March 21, 2014


Recently, four After School Matters teens from various programs took a trip to Google’s downtown Chicago office for the company’s High School Symposium event. The full-day enrichment program, designed specifically for high school seniors, provided our teens with valuable information as they transition into their college years. Sessions included guidance and helpful tips around professional development, building and leveraging networks and understanding how to manage personal brands.

“I found today to be exciting and really fun. It was experience I will never forget as I learned a lot about personal branding and positive psychology. I never thought about the difficulty of trying to ‘sell’ myself for jobs and colleges until today,” said Mindy, one of the participating After School Matters teens.

Throughout the day, Google employees led the group through a series of breakout sessions that encouraged teens to discover the personal qualities—such as values, strengths, skills and passions—that they will continue to develop as they begin their college experiences and professional lives.  To top off the extraordinary day, our teens got an inside look at Google’s offices on a fun-filled tour…all in all, an experience they’ll never forget!

Teens Kick-Off 2014 with Winter Intensive
Monday, January 6, 2014

At the start of the year, 210 After School Matters teens kicked off by participating in a four-day Winter Intensive program session held January 2-5 at Roosevelt University.

The Winter Intensive provided safe and engaging opportunities for teens during their winter break. Industry professionals taught workshops and master classes for our teens in Photography, Hip Hop Dance, Visual Arts, Music Composition, Business and Marketing, and Poetry Writing and Spoken Word.

Additionally, parents and teens were invited to participate in a post-secondary financial aid workshop that provided them with valuable information and resources from financial aid experts. Parents and teens received tips on how to fill out the FAFSA, apply for scholarships and effectively manage finances using a “college budget builder” tool.

Through these master classes and workshops, teens developed their talents in a professional setting and gained career and college readiness skills, such as creating a professional portfolio, that they can use in future college and job interviews.

Teens Display Final Projects at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts
Thursday, December 12, 2013

On December 7 more than 20 programs displayed their final projects at the Downtown Fall Gallery Walk. The Gallery 37 Center for the Arts building was bustling with teens, their friends and families.

Guests visited our Retail Store to buy unique, teen-created products from After School Matters jewelry, hat, wood carving and painting programs. They also had the opportunity get their blood pressure and reflexes checked by our Health Science Explorers, check out screening of video and animation projects in the Storefront Theater and taste delicious smoothies made from different plants grown in our Urban Garden Lab. Teens from Culinary Artistry were also busy cooking up special appetizers and treats for guests to sample including chicken skewers, deviled eggs, pizza rolls, lemon tarts and wonton cream puffs.

The teens in After School Matters Downtown programs come from all corners of the city to participate in our programs at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts. They produce top-of-the-line work, and we are very proud of all their efforts this Fall. Check out photos from the event here!