Stories

How Do You Reach Young People? With Teen REACH.

How Do You Reach Young People? With Teen REACH.

By Jasmine Serrano Several years ago, SWOP was looking to expand its work with young people in schools. SWOP wanted to go beyond providing after-school programming to begin to build youth leaders for the community. That’s when SWOP discovered the Teen REACH program. In Chicago Lawn, SWOP’s Teen REACH effort began at Fairfield Elementary in the 2008 – 2009 school year, and was moved to Morrill Elementary in the 2009 – 2010 school year; where it has remained ever since. …

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What Do Hundreds of People Do When It’s Cold Outside: They Come to the SWOP Holiday Party

What Do Hundreds of People Do When It’s Cold Outside: They Come to the SWOP Holiday Party

While the temperatures outside were well below freezing, the mood was warm and happy inside Maria Catalyst High School on Thursday evening, December 15th.  Hundreds of SWOP leaders from community institutions across Chicago Southwest came together to celebrate the holidays.  There were lots of holidays and traditions to celebrate as the crowd represented the diversity of the community: Catholics and Protestants, Muslims, and Jews; African-Americans, Latinos, and whites; and, young people and more mature folks. Like most holiday parties, there…

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SWOP Parent Mentors Are Making a Difference in Chicago Southwest Schools

SWOP Parent Mentors Are Making a Difference in Chicago Southwest Schools

Everyone in the field of education always talks about the need for more parent involvement in schools. SWOP is doing something about this with the Parent Mentor Program. Through this effort, SWOP recruits parents, mostly mothers, but there are some fathers, to work in classrooms in their children’s schools. The Parent Mentors work in a classroom (but not their own child’s room) for two hours a day, four days a week. On Friday, the fifth day, they spend time in…

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SWOP Leads Police Accountability Discussion

SWOP Leads Police Accountability Discussion

More than 160 community residents packed the auditorium at Catholic Charities’ Sisters of St. Casimir Motherhouse on Tuesday, November 15th to talk about an important issue to the Chicago Southwest community; police accountability. Led by Imelda Salazar and Rafi Peterson, the group heard testimony, reviewed facts, and met with neighbors one on one to learn about each other. Most important, the large gathering broke into small groups to develop ideas for improving both police accountability and community/police relations. The collection…

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Now, More Than Ever, Organize

Now, More Than Ever, Organize

It is safe to say that almost everyone was surprised by the results of the Presidential Election on November 8th. To many in Chicago Southwest, that surprise was not a happy outcome. President-Elect Trump’s comments on immigration, crime, banking legislation, and many other issues are in direct conflict with the work of SWOP and its partners. What to do about that? The answer is easy, don’t mourn, organize. In a time of increasing partisan rancor, name calling, and disdain for…

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The Good News and Bad News About Foreclosures

The Good News and Bad News About Foreclosures

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The change is that foreclosures are down and down by a lot across the city. What has stayed the same is that Chicago Lawn still has a foreclosure rate twice that of the city as a whole. A home of one’s own is an essential part of the American Dream. People owning houses and raising families in stable and secure homes makes a community a solid place to live. The…

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SWOP Partners to offer English as a Second Language Classes

SWOP Partners to offer English as a Second Language Classes

SWOP and Gage Park High School have partnered with Instituto Del Progresso Latino to offer free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. The classes began on Monday, November 7th, but there is still plenty of room to join in. You can register for the class on Tuesday, November 15th from 10 – 11 a.m. at Gage Park High School, 5630 S. Rockwell, room 218. When you come to register, you will need to bring identification with your current address…

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It’s Election Day, SWOP Wants You to Get Out and Vote

It’s Election Day, SWOP Wants You to Get Out and Vote

SWOP leaders and staff have been pounding the pavement and knocking on doors in advance of today’s election. No matter which side of an issue you’re on or which candidate you favor, today is an important day to make your choices known and to have a hand in picking the people you want to lead our city, state, and nation. Focusing on an area bounded by 55th on the north, Marquette Road on the south, Western on the east, and…

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SWCC Kicks Off To Revitalize 63rd ST.

SWCC Kicks Off To Revitalize 63rd ST.

On a bright sunny morning on November 3rd, leaders from SWOP, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GADC), and Teamwork Englewood joined with LISC Chicago and Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago’s Mayor, to announce a new effort to revitalize commercial areas on Chicago’s Southwest side. Called the Southwest Corridor Collaborative (SWCC), the initiative will target specific retail/commercial nodes in Chicago Lawn, Englewood, and Auburn Gresham. LISC Chicago has committed $50 million in loans and grants over the next 10 years to help SWOP…

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SWOP’s Reclaim Southwest Campaign Delivers More Affordable Housing to the Community

SWOP’s Reclaim Southwest Campaign Delivers More Affordable Housing to the Community

On Saturday, November 5th, SWOP and Brinshore Development will host a workshop to help families learn about affordable housing opportunities in Chicago Lawn. The workshop will take place at Morrill Math and Science Academy, 6011 S. Rockwell from 10 a.m. to noon. Between December and the coming spring, SWOP and Brinshore will make 30 new units available in nine different buildings in the community. All the units will be newly rehabbed with all new appliances, state of the art energy…

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