Entering Chicago House’s Family Support Program (FSP) apartment building, Jae, my fellow Communications Intern, and I were greeted with the welcoming smiles of young faces. The children attending the FSP after-school program had just arrived, so we were asked to help two girls with their homework. They were obviously good friends, and they wisely put giggling aside to get their homework done as quickly as possible.
Beyond tutoring assistance, the after-school program encourages children foster artistic passions early in life. On a weekly basis, children can participate in dance classes, music lessons, and acting classes. They are currently putting together their annual summer Mesh-N-Groove performance entitled The Wiz: There’s No Place Like Home.
The dance instructor arrived promptly at 4:00 p.m., and the children greeted her with hugs and excitement to start a new lesson. All of them were energetic to get up and move, but we couldn’t help but adore just how passionately our two new friends danced, following the instructor’s every move without skipping a beat.
The after-school program has proven extremely enriching. Among the 25 children involved in the program, FSP has seen a transformation from a 100% high school drop-out rate to a 100% graduation rate. Most students now go on to college, many receiving incredible scholarships and awards.
Watching the two young girls dance about during our visit to FSP gave Jae and I an appreciation for how much work goes into making each day a special one for these children. The FSP staff and volunteers serve as incredible mentors and facilitators, giving parents and guardians time for themselves each day. Every child we encountered at FSP was energetic and excited to share their creativity with us, and we are immensely honored that they welcomed us into their space with open arms. The Family Support Program represents exactly what families are all about; care, love and acceptance.
To learn more about the Family Support Program, contact Andrea Tashiro at 773-248-5200 x 314.