We are eight weeks into our Born to Thrive program. As CPS remains closed, we are committed to provide a conducive learning space for all our kids — both virtually and in person. 

So far, 100% of the kids reported feeling supported by their advocates. One of the reasons we were able to quickly establish a solid foundation with our program is the ability to hire from our community, many of whom had already been involved with our kids programming either through Summer of Hope or Life After School. We have been able to hire and support three core advocates and an additional two after-school advocates to work with our children. 

We are committed to creating and sustaining a space where kids feel loved and protected, and part of that is reflected in how our kids see and feel about themselves. When asked, “what do you love about yourself?”, 100% of the kids responded positively, with variations of physical traits, personality traits or the relationships that they have. Here are some of the kids’ responses: 

  • “I love everything about myself.”
  • “I love my beautiful brown skin.”
  • “Everything” 
  • “That I am beautiful”

During Summer of Hope 2020, we centered Black Excellence as one of our core pillars. In our fall learning program, we are continuing to nurture Black Excellence and civic awareness. When asked, “What does it mean to you to be Black?” 59% of the kids responded with positive affirmations, here are some of their responses:

  • To be black is being proud. You can be gay, or bisexual, you can like girls and boys. To me, when it comes down to being a Black person, you got to be proud of yourself. Like the Bears, and the Bulls, and the Cubs. I’m proud of myself for being black. You can be pink, purple, whatever, you should just follow your dreams.” 
  • “To know you’re Black and beautiful.”
  • “I don’t know. I just feel powerful.” 

Announcing our newest Born to Thrive partner:

We still have much work to do, but all that we have achieved, we achieved with the support from all our partners. We are grateful for our newest partner, Spark Ventures, for investing in local community to support our students. 

Thanks to our partnership with Spark Ventures, a Chicago-based, non-profit organization that builds partnerships to lift communities out of poverty and empower future leaders, we are able to support the salaries of advocate and hire community members from Englewood so that students can ease into virtual learning as seamlessly as possible without having to navigate and build new relationships. 

Thanks to our ongoing Born to Thrive partners:

  • Stephanie Izard and Girl & the Goat
  • Rethink
  • Cruelty Free You + Me
  • Glen and Wendy Miller Family Foundation

What’s coming next:

This winter, we are providing individualized presents to children through our Share the Love program. In addition to our Born to Thrive students, we are registering all families in the 60636 zip code who need support. So far, we have registered more than 500 children for holiday support! Each child will receive three individualized presents, including a new outfit.