After School Matters Program: Clark High School Intern
Kissqwanna has been participating in After School Matters programs for the past three years. One of her teachers suggested she get involved and she sure did! Kissqwanna has participated in multiple programs including: African Dance, Poetry, Clothes Design, and finally interning for After School Matters.
Kissqwanna has been the Clark High School intern for After School Matters programs for two and half years. She is proud of the work she does, which includes administrative work and assisting instructors with their programs. Her family has always encouraged Kissqwanna to treat her internship as a real job, so she makes sure she is always responsible and on time for work.
“Participating in After School Matters programs has taught me how to be organized and how to be a leader,” said Kissqwanna. “It helped me stay focused and motivated me to achieve my goal to graduate and go to college.”
Kissqwanna is scheduled to graduate this May and has already been accepted to multiple four-year universities. She hasn’t decided which university she wants to attend yet, but she does know she wants to major in business
After School Matters Program: gallery37 Experimental Animation
Gibran, a Senior at Michelle Clark Prep High School, heard about the After School Matters program at Gallery37 from his brother Gregory and was determined to get into a program as soon as he got into high school. Gibran has participated in 12 After School Matters programs including improv, art programs and experimental animation.
Experimental animation is the program that really caught his interest because since he was a young boy he has always wondered how cartoons and video games were created.
“I have learned so much from my After School Matters program,” said Gibran. “Recently I went on a college tour of DePaul University to visit their animation lab and realized that those college students are learning the same things I’m learning in my After School Matters program.”
Gibran is a very creative young man and comes from a family of artists. Now that he has taken art and animation programs he feels like he understands the artistic process better and is proud to follow in his families footsteps.
After high school Gibran hopes to be a professional animator or a police officer. He wants to help people and reverse the negative stereotype that police officers have received in his neighborhood.
Jesse, 15 and Alex, 16
After School Matters Program: science37 Junior Research Scientists
Over the past year, Jesse and Alex have been working in the After School Matters Junior Research Scientists program at Columbia College to find renewable materials that could serve as alternative energy sources.
“I’ve always been interested in science, but it wasn’t until I joined After School Matters that I learned how to create my own experiments,” said Alex. “I hope that I can find a way to better capture the sun’s energy to make it a more viable energy source.”
This spring, Jesse and Alex were two of three After School Matters teens who entered experiments created in the Junior Research Scientists program in the city-wide science fair hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry March 22-24. Both Jesse and Alex’s projects were chosen to advance to the state-wide competition at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign on May 4-5.
Jesse received special recognition for his work on solar power solutions. He is grateful for the support his instructor provided as he created an award-winning science project. “I just wanted to say thank you very much for your support and sponsorship. I won a special award of $500 from GE for having the best project on renewable energy. I am very excited.”
Both Jesse and Alex hope to continue pursuing their passion for science through After School Matters programs and plan on studying electrical engineering in college.
School: Harlan Community Academy
After School Matters Program: gallery37 Culinary Artistry
Dequandre has many passions and has been able to explore all of them through After School Matters programs. Since his freshman year of high school, Dequandre has participated in 5 programs including: sewing & basket weaving, purse design, music and poetry, landscape design and culinary programs. He is currently enrolled in the Downtown Culinary Artistry program at Gallery 37 where he learns the skills and cooking methods needed to work in a professional kitchen.
“After School Matters has made me a better person,” said Dequandre. “These programs gave me a safe haven from the violence in my neighborhood and the skills I need to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.”
As a sophomore, Dequandre combined his passion for cooking and poetry and started his own catering business. What sets his catering business apart from the others? He’s a chef-poet! While preparing food he entertains his audience with original poetry.
Last year, Dequandre was one of four students to receive the One Summer Chicago Internship at Tyler Lane Construction and this year, as he prepares to graduate high school, he has received a full ride scholarship to Washburn Culinary College.
Dequandre is excited to attend culinary college this Fall and hopes to open an international restaurant one day.
School: Morgan Park High School
After School Matters Program: words37 True Star Editorial
Braylyn discovered her passion for writing in eighth grade. She participated in the After School Matters True Star Editorial program last summer because she wanted to explore career opportunities and get hands-on experience in journalism.
“I love writing, but I never knew how much I enjoyed interviewing people until I joined this After School Matters program. Talking with people and uncovering their stories is so fascinating to me,” said Braylyn.
In the True Star Editorial program, Braylyn is learning the skills she needs to actively interview people for and promote local events though her articles. Her stellar writing and interview skills have provided her with the unique opportunity to interview Mellody Hobson, chair of After School Matters and president of Ariel Investments. Braylyn’s interview with Ms. Hobson will run in the Spring 2013 issue of the True Star Magazine.
Braylyn, a sophomore at Morgan Park High School, is a legacy at True Star Editorial. Her older sister was a part of the same After School Matters program when she was in high school and inspired Braylyn’s passion for writing. After high school, Braylyn plans to attend college to study journalism and communications much like her sister, who is a journalism major at the University of Missouri.
School: Team Englewood Community Academy
After School Matters Program: science37 Students Training As Researchers
Mario has been fascinated with science since as far back as he can remember. In the After School Matters science37 Students Training As Researchers program, Mario gets the opportunity to engage in hands-on research projects and explore what a career in science might be like.
For the past two years, Mario has researched the growth rate and spread of e-coli bacteria. To do this, he has learned to be proficient in antiseptic techniques, UV Spectroscopy and growth curves. Mario’s determination and patience have allowed him to find success in his research, even when the outcomes are not what he expected.
“I enjoy the hands-on work and experiments,” said Mario. “Conducting research and experiments allows me to develop my leadership skills as I learn and work together with my peers.”
Mario has four younger siblings and he strives to set a good example for them. He is looking forward to applying to college next year and plans to study medicine.
School: Chicago Christian High School
After School Matters Program: Culinary Artistry, Downtown Themed Culinary Buffet, South Shore Chefs
India, who dreams of owning her own bakery, discovered a love for the culinary arts as a freshman through her experience in the gallery37 South Shore Chef’s program. Currently a junior, India participated in the Culinary Themed Buffet program this summer and is currently enrolled in the Culinary Artistry program taught by Chef Reggie Thomas.
India said that participating in After School Matters culinary programs has given her confidence to follow her dream of opening a bakery.
“I’ve learned communication skills this summer through the summer buffet class and I really feel that the programs have prepared me for everything in life,” India said. “I’ve learned to work with different people and I’ve become more open minded.”
Through After School Matters India has already started to take steps towards her future and recently went on a college visit to Washburne Culinary Institute. While India is still deciding on where she wants to go to college, she plans to pursue a baking and pastry degree after graduating high school.
School: Austin Polytechnical Academy High School
After School Matters Program: Move Me Soul
Reggie joined After School Matters after the dance team was cut at his high school and has participated in our gallery37 Move Me Soul Advanced Apprenticeship program at Austin Polytechnical Academy for the past two years. Reggie credits his participation in After School Matters for helping him develop skills in ballet and a variety of other types of dance and gaining valuable experience as a performing artist. Last fall, he participated in a Move Me Soul community dance performance that toured eight different theaters across Chicago.
Reggie aspires to be an actor or a dancer like his favorite performer, Michael Jackson. Now in his senior year of high school, he plans to study performing arts and health in college. This past August, After School Matters sponsored Reggie’s visit to Cornish College in Seattle, Washington where he interviewed with administrators, and participated in Modern, Ballet and Pilates dance classes.
Reggie credits After School Matters for giving him a fresh start and a hopeful outlook for his future, and his instructors consider him a role model to other teens.
School: John Hancock Preparatory High School
After School Matters Program: Creative Printmaking
Throughout her three years of participation in After School Matters gallery 37 Creative Printmaking programs, Valerie has shown tremendous dedication to developing her artistic skills even as she undergoes treatment for a rare kidney disorder called Nephritic Syndrome (AgA Nephropathy). Doctors have told her, at some point, her kidneys will simply stop working.
Valerie admits the disease has changed her life. Her medication makes her moody, and she is often frustrated because doctors cannot reassure her everything will be OK. The disease makes her tired and it is sometimes hard for her to get up in the morning.
Despite all of this, Valerie makes it a priority to get to her Creative Printmaking program, sometimes rescheduling doctor appointments because she says, “Participating in After School Matters helps me to forget I’m sick, even if just for a while.”
Through her participation in this program, Valerie is learning to master the 100-year old art of using an etching press, exploring various hands-on techniques, such as linoleum carving and plexiglass etchings, and coming up with her own bold new ideas, as well.
And Valerie’s determination to live life to the fullest doesn’t stop with After School Matters— this year, as a result of her hard work and academic success, she was nominated for a POSSE scholarship, a four year, full-tuition scholarship awarded to public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. This year, Valerie will began planning for college; she hopes to attend the University of Wisconsin or the University of Chicago and study medicine.
School: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
After School Matters Program: ICNC - Daufenbach Camera
This summer, 60 Chicago teens are gaining invaluable real-world experience with start-up businesses as part of After School Matters new and innovative internship program developed in partnership with the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), the nation’s largest small business incubator.
Roberto, a recent graduate of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School who plans to attend Carlton College in the fall, is participating in the ICNC program as an intern at Daufenbach Camera, a professional camera rental house based in Chicago that specializes in HD, RED, and 3D cinema.
Roberto has been been an After School Matters participant for two years through programs including the Advanced Experimental Photography at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, where he advanced his interest in photography by learning darkroom techniques.
Through his internship at Daufenbach this summer, Roberto has helped inventory and supply high-end 2-D and 3-D digital cameras that are rented for use by movie and television crews filming in and around the Chicagoland area. He even had the opportunity to recently staff a filming on set for a Cap Gun Productions piece starring The Katydids (Second City talent)!
Roberto credits After School Matters with helping him to make friends and build his college- and career-readiness skills. Opportunities such as our ICNC internships provide Chicago teens with the experiences to discover their potential and find their path to a meaningful life.
School: Chicago Virtual Charter School
After School Matters Program: Youth Council Advisory Board, science37
When Patty first discovered After School Matters, as a freshman in high school, she was amazed at the variety of programs offered to teens and wondered how she could ever choose just one. Luckily, she didn’t have to! Three years and six programs later, Patty says she has gained valuable experience, developed her talents and found friendships that never would have been possible without her involvement in After School Matters, as she attends a “virtual” high school and completes much of her coursework and peer interactions online.
From her first experience in the After School Matters gallery37 Found Art Teenage Wasteland program where she created artwork from used and found material, Patty credits After School Matters for teaching her to keep an open mind and work with others even when they don’t always see eye-to-eye.
Currently, Patty is participating in the science37 Youth Council Advisory Board program being delivered through the Mikva Challenge, a nonpartisan organization that helps identify the next generation of civic leaders by developing teens’ leadership skills, igniting their passion for politics, increasing their civic knowledge and aiding them in finding solutions to school, neighborhood and city problems. Participants in the Youth Council Advisory Board will support After School Matters in more effectively serving Chicago teens with high quality out-of school time programming by serving as marketing researchers and general advisors to our organization on topics such as what programs teens are most interested and website accessibility.
This school year, Patty looks forward to continuing her work on the Youth Council Advisory Board as she makes plans for her postsecondary education. Her work with After School Matters has inspired her to look for educational and career opportunities that will allow her to work with youth and express herself creatively, such as journalism, urban planning or literacy education.
School: King College Prep High School
After School Matters Program: Advanced Drawing and Painting, Mosaic Mural, gallery37
A graduating senior who will attend Middlebury College in Vermont this fall, Tamir has participated in After School Matters programs during all four of her years at King College Prep High School in the Kenwood community, developing her talents as an artist and as a leader while gaining valuable skills to use on her path to college, a career and beyond.
Tamir discovered her passion for the arts during her freshman year when she enrolled in After School Matters gallery37 Studio Art program. Since then, she has further developed her skills as an artist through her participation in our Advanced Drawing and Painting program. Last May, Tamir was selected for an After School Matters internship in our Mosaic Mural program during which she collaborated with professional artists and other teens to design and install a large-scale mosaic that is now on display in the Columbus Drive underpass at Chicago’s Museum Campus. As a result of her participation in our Jewelry Design program, she has even launched her own line of jewlery made of natural gemstones and inspired by warm, earthy Native American designs.
Tamir credits her experience in After School Matters programs with giving her critical career readiness skills, like teamwork and collaboration, that she says directly led her to earning the national Posse scholarship; a four-year, full-tuition scholarship awarded for outstanding leadership skills; as well as the Gates Millennium Scholarship, a four-year renewable scholarship also awarded for excellence in leadership.
Tamir plans to double major in political science and French when she attends Middlebury College, where she will surely discover even greater potential while finding her path to a meaningful life.
School: Washington High School
After School Matters program: Advanced Culinary Arts, gallery37
Vanessa, a sophomore at Washington High School, is in her fourth session as an After School Matters teen apprentice in the Advanced Culinary Arts program in the East Side neighborhood. Through participation in this program, Vanessa has had the opportunity to perfect her culinary skills while being introduced to the training necessary for employment in the culinary hospitality industry. She has also developed strong speaking and leadership skills, and often coordinates program activities and mentors other teens in the program.
Vanessa recently attended and was chosen to speak before out-of-school-time industry leaders at the Afterschool Alliance’s “Afterschool for All Challenge” conference in Washington D.C. May 8 and 9.
During the conference, Vanessa participated in a workshop on how to become an effective youth advocate and visited to Capitol Hill, where she spoke with Congressional leaders and staff members about the impact After School Matters has had on her life.
School: Curie Metropolitan High School
After School Matters program: sports37 at Kelly High School
Following in her older siblings’ footsteps, Samantha joined After School Matters in Fall 2009 and has participated in a multitude of sports37 programs, including soccer, softball, basketball and even football, where she has learned to officiate and teach various sports and athletic activities to younger kids. This spring, Samantha is perfecting her volleyball skills in the sports37 program at Kelly High School. She is also preparing to take the recreation leader exam for employment with the Chicago Park District this summer.
Samantha credits her participation in After School Matters with giving her the confidence and leadership skills necessary to feel comfortable taking the initiative to plan and lead group activities. Her success in After School Matters has led to summer employment the last few summers as a mentor and role model for younger kids in Chicago Park District programs. Samantha will take her passion for sports and the skills that she has gained from participating in After School Matters and working with the Chicago Park District with her to Northern Illinois University next fall, where plans to study kinesiology—the study of human movement. She hopes to work for the DeKalb Park District while in college.
School: Austin Polytechnical Academy
After School Matters program: Beverage Industry Products and Profits, tech37
As a teen apprentice in the After School Matters Beverage Industry Products and Profits program, Torres has gained hands-on experience in various aspects of the multi-billion dollar local and global non-alcoholic beverage industry, including working with other teens in the program to develop a business plan to market and sell their very own health-conscious beverage targeted at teenagers.
Through his participation in his After School Matters program and the strong relationship he has built with Instructor Michael Levesque, Torres has developed critical career readiness skills, including strong writing and verbal communication, teamwork, and the ability to set and achieve goals.
Torres will now be using these skills in his new role as one of 11 national youth ambassadors selected by the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) to serve as spokespeople on “Opportunity Youth,” a coordinated campaign to raise awareness and spark action to help the more than 6 million young Americans nationwide ages 16-24 who are disconnected from education and from work. This initiative was designed to support the work of the White House Council For Community Solutions, which is charged with identifying ways every American community can create the civic infrastructure to move youth along pathways to education, employment, and ongoing civic participation.
We are proud of the impact After School Matters has and of the inspiration our programs provide Chicago teens. Click here to read more about Torres and his experiences as featured in After School Matters 2011 Annual Report. He will also be featured as our teen speaker at After School Matters Citywide Showcase at The Chicago Theatre on Wednesday, March 28. For more information or to RSVP to attend our Citywide Showcase, click here.
School: Uplift Community High School
After School Matters program: Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble, words37
As a teen apprentice in the Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble program, Sahara has found her voice through her writing and spoken word performances. She challenges herself daily to improve her techniques. Some of her many successes include recording a voice-over in a professional production studio for an After School Matters video and traveling throughout the Midwest with her program to perform at events and festivals. Next month, Sahara will perform at “Louder than a Bomb,” Chicago’s rapidly-growing teen poetry festival, which is the largest of its kind in the world.