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Teens across Chicago participating in more than 500 remote programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports and STEM while earning a stipend
CHICAGO—After School Matters® has re-envisioned summer programs to provide safe, equitable and innovative remote learning opportunities during the pandemic to 10,000 Chicago teens. More than 500 different programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports and STEM are kicking off this week in which Chicago high school students will engage virtually and remotely throughout the summer, while earning a participation stipend.
While programs will look different this summer, they continue to offer teens the chance to expand their subject-matter skills as they also develop critical thinking proficiencies in collaboration, problem-solving, social awareness and more. Remote programs offer a combination of one-on-one time with instructors, group collaboration as well as individual work time to achieve various projects.
Teens who need access to technology are acquiring devices through After School Matters, and to ensure teens have the other materials needed for their projects, instructors and staff delivered more than 5,000 supply packets to teen homes.
All remote summer programs are paid apprenticeships and internships, with teens earning a stipend between $336 and $850 depending on the length and level of expertise required for the program.
After school programs have been a crucial part of the COVID-19 response, adapting services to meet youth and community needs, offering social-emotional supports, and filling the education gap through virtual programming. Eighty-three percent of the teens participating in After School Matters live in high-poverty communities, and the organization remains committed to ensuring all teens in Chicago can access programs needed to discover their passions and develop their skills for life beyond high school.
“The myriad challenges facing our city are falling hardest on our youth and communities of color, and as the largest after school and summer program provider for Chicago teens, After School Matters teens are seeing and feeling this impact first-hand,” said CEO Mary Ellen Caron. “Today, more than ever, Chicago teens need paid opportunities to create and express themselves while gaining critical skills which will prepare them for college, careers and beyond. For 30 years, After School Matters has advocated for Chicago teens, and we’re building on that commitment this summer through this new, remote and accessible program model.”
Multiple independent studies have confirmed teens who participate in After School Matters programs have higher Freshmen On-Track rates, improved school-day attendance and higher graduation rates than their peers.
A few of the remote programs offered this summer include:
This program develops the authentic voice and media literacy skills of underserved and underrepresented teenage girls from across Chicago by equipping them with skills and tools to consume and analyze media critically, as well as to create and share digital media content and journalism on issues and stories that impact them and their unique experiences as young women in Chicago. This summer their project will focus on creating film and audio pieces that reflect their own experiences in Chicago during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This visual arts program mentors youth within self-resilience, community engagement, and exploring social issues that impact them on day-to-day basis through dialogue and art. Through art, teens will explore the impact of COVID-19 within their communities, and themselves, by designing various of pieces independently while simultaneously participating in virtual dialogues, virtual group projects, and learning creative techniques to guide them in designing through instructor lead tutorials. Each youth will contribute various pieces to an online archive of youth lead artwork, all following youth lead visual art prompts that are both personal reflections and visual activism.
Advanced Culinary Arts
Teens will learn new culinary skills and perfect their basic techniques. They will receive training necessary to obtain jobs in the culinary hospitality industry or simply to prepare healthy and sustainable meals for themselves and their families. Teens also learn the arts and techniques of cake decorating, table setting, and catering for large groups. This summer, each teen will receive a supply kit with ingredients to make delicious meals for their families, fun challenges will be incorporated such as “secret ingredients” that will give teens an opportunity to be creative with their recipes and virtual guest judging panels will recreate fun competitive food plating challenges.
Teens will work with their peers to stop the violence and make a positive contribution to their community. Peacemakers will learn about the peace building process, reflect on their communities, recognize their roles as peacemakers, and design a project to spread the message of peace. Young people in this program will gain an understanding of the peace-making process and youth empowerment.
Astronomy & Space
In this program teens will learn about urban astronomy, celestial bodies, viewing and discussing space themed films, conduct physics experiments, study NASA and manned space travel/rocketry, and learn about careers in the astronomy and space field. By the end of the session, teens will be prepared to present and display newly gained astronomical knowledge for their friends and their family.
For more information, visit www.afterschoolmatters.org.
About After School Matters
After School Matters provides Chicago high school teens with high quality, after-school and summer opportunities to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond. Since 1991, After School Matters has offered more than 350,000 opportunities to teens, helping them gain valuable knowledge and skills which have helped them discover their passion in life. Programs take place at locations throughout the city including Chicago public high schools, Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library locations, community organizations, downtown at the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, in Belmont Cragin at our Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters and at our new After School Matters at Gately Park space. For more information, visit www.afterschoolmatters.org.