Stories

Beating the Summer Heat with Hoops and PlayStreets

Beating the Summer Heat with Hoops and PlayStreets

By Amanda Reilly Throughout the summer groups of youth have been outside our local schools and parks shooting hoops, chowing down on hot dogs, kicking around a soccer ball, and just enjoying being kids. SWOP’s long-standing programs, Hoops in the Hood and PlayStreets have come to Chicago Lawn again this summer! On July 12, 2019 Play Streets was out in front of Edwards School with giant human-size Jenga, basketballs, face painting, and even Mickey Mouse. Parent volunteers supported the effort…

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Parent Mentor Graduation 2019: “Seeing the Big Picture”

Parent Mentor Graduation 2019: “Seeing the Big Picture”

By Amanda Reilly On June 14, 2019, over 900 Parent Mentors gathered at Carl Schurz High School for the 8th annual statewide parent mentor graduation. Miguel del Valle, former senator and the incoming president of the Chicago Board of Education, spoke at the event on the important and valuable work of the program. Both first-time parent mentors and seasoned parent volunteers alike had the opportunity to walk across the stage and shake hands with state representatives and senators. For many…

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Interfaith Celebration of Reclaiming

Interfaith Celebration of Reclaiming

By Amanda Reilly On Thursday, June 6, 2019, at 9:30 am over 150 people from the neighborhood began to gather in front of Saint Rita’s Catholic Church on 63rd ST. for an inter-faith celebration with Cardinal Cupich. The morning began with the sounds of mariachi and mingling of people from SWOP, United Power for Action and Justice, as well as other local community organizations and faith-based institutions based in Southwest Chicago. The gathering was opened with remarks and greetings from Rev….

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Building Leaders

Building Leaders

On Thursday, April 25, 2019, 37 people jammed into a conference room on the seventh floor of Holy Cross Hospital for the English version of SWOP’s Leadership Development Training.  A similar number were meeting in the auditorium of the hospital for the Spanish training.  This was the third and final session of SWOP’s April 2019 leadership training.  These leaders were Parent Mentors from local schools, young people active in SWOP’s jobs campaign, health professionals wanting to become more active in…

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Get Out The Vote 2019

Get Out The Vote 2019

SWOP’s non-partisan Get Out The Vote Campaign began on March 30th 2019 and extended through the evening of Election Day on April 2nd.  Eighty-nine Parent Mentors, young people, SWOP organizers, and volunteers mobilized and knocked on doors throughout the four day campaign.  In an effort to increase voter turnout in in Chicago’s southwest side in the runoff election, SWOP leaders walked through their neighborhoods talking to voters about the importance of the election. Through Get Out The Vote efforts, SWOP…

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Coming Soon- Community Employer Assisted Housing Program!

Coming Soon- Community Employer Assisted Housing Program!

SWOP is pleased to announce the development of a “Community Employer Assisted Housing Program (CEAHP).” Through the generous support of Chase Bank and local employers, SWOP will be offering this program. The community employer assisted housing program will be providing $2,500 grants to eligible employees to purchase a home within the Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Campaign borders. In line with SWOP’s mission to empower and enable individuals and families in the community to determine their own future and connect with each…

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March Action Council Meeting

March Action Council Meeting

On Thursday, March 28, 2019 over 170 community members, Parent Mentors, individuals from member institutions, SWOP staff, and friends of SWOP entered the basement of Holy Cross Hospital to represent their neighborhood and share their concerns for their blocks, churches, schools, and other organizations. SWOP opened its quarterly action council with SWOP leaders speaking on diverse issues from immigration to youth engagement. SWOP’s executive director, Jeff Bartow, provided an opportunity for community members to learn about each other’s values and…

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Mayra Sarabia: Inspiring Change in Our Community

Mayra Sarabia: Inspiring Change in Our Community

For some people, every day is just living out a routine, but for Mayra Sarabia, every day is beautiful. She tells us, “Life is beautiful, I’m alive and I can do a lot of things. I’m blessed to be able to open my eyes. For a lot of people, it’s routine, but for me [each day] is an opportunity.” Mayra Sarabia, who has been a SWOP leader for the past 12 years and is currently a member of the SWOP…

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Senior Staff Profile: Rafi Peterson

Senior Staff Profile: Rafi Peterson

Rafi Peterson, a long-term SWOP staff and community leader, has roots that run deep in Chicago Lawn. Rafi’s initial connection to Chicago Lawn was through the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN), where he served as a board member for many years, starting in 1998. Rafi knew that he wanted to see a change in his neighborhood and begun conversations with community members and in particular youth. He started working within the CeaseFire program, now known as Cure Violence, with the…

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