The Tale of Two Cities analogy is overused. But in Chicago’s case it’s true. This is the best of times and worst of times for our city.
Best, because Chicago continues to be a leader among global cities. The hub of a metropolis of nearly 10 million people, Chicago is home to an impressive roster of innovative companies, world-renowned cultural institutions, and top-tier universities. Worst, because we’re a city in which more than a quarter-million people live in deep poverty*, where racial and economic segregation are entrenched, and where gun violence is so prevalent that a Chicagoan is shot, on average, every other hour**.
There is no better way to knit these two Chicago’s into a single, unified city than by investing in our public-school children. Research consistently shows that when young people get the supports they need and graduate on time from high school they: earn substantially more throughout their careers; enjoy substantially better health outcomes; and are far less likely to become victims or perpetrators of violence.
Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is at the forefront of this important work. Our vision is to ensure that every Chicago Public School student graduates from high school prepared for success. We do this by surrounding children with a community of support anchored by caring adults. During the 2017-2018 academic year, we will link 71,000 CPS students to support programs in the arts, college and career prep, mental health, and physical wellness - programs that all students need to thrive but which their schools or families often can’t provide. Equally important, CIS of Chicago is placing Master’s level staff in a growing number of Chicago public schools to provide intensive supports to students significantly off-track in their attendance, behavior and grades. This year our school-based team will work closely with 450 at-risk students, with the expectation that at least 97 percent of them will either graduate or be promoted on time to the next grade.
No organization in Chicago matches the breadth and depth of our work with young people. Our work is made possible by the generosity of our donors and funders. With deepest appreciation for their support, we invite you to read more about our impact, and learn what we mean when we say that CIS of Chicago is #allinforkids!
**Chicago Public Radio