Stories

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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SWOP’s Citizenship Campaign: Lending a Hand to Our Neighborhood Families

SWOP’s Citizenship Campaign: Lending a Hand to Our Neighborhood Families

SWOP has an ongoing citizenship campaign to protect our immigrant families and to build power within our community by informing and accompanying legal permanent residents on their path to become citizens. This year, SWOP is collaborating with six other organization including Instituto del Progreso Latino, Latino Organization of the Southwest, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, and Casa Michoacan to bring monthly citizenship workshop events to the neighborhoods of Chicago. This effort is funded…

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SWOP Celebrates the Holidays

SWOP Celebrates the Holidays

More than 250 people representing SWOP’s 38 member institutions came together on December 13th to celebrate the holidays.  They met in the cafeteria at Maria Catalyst School where they shared food and conversation and appreciation for all the work they had done together over the past year. Sister Margaret from the Sisters of St. Casimir kicked off the event with a prayer and Adriana Velazquez of the SWOP staff followed with an overview of the year’s accomplishments.  Natalia Robles discussed…

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Building a Southwest System of Care

Building a Southwest System of Care

Understanding that there is a great need for behavioral health services in the community, SWOP is beginning implementation of the Southwest System of Care (SWSOC).  With support from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation and in partnership with Holy Cross Hospital, Ada S. McKinley, Catholic Charities, Esperanza Health Centers, IMAN, and Metropolitan Family Services, SWOP has begun to use a community organizing model of relationship building to bring together these institutions with local schools.  The goal of this work is to build…

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