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Parents benefiting from school connection and resources

Our Calumet’s Community Schools program is making a difference in the lives of our students and their parents! The program’s goals include giving families a voice and connection in their local school, and helping our parents earn gainful employment, making a positive impact and providing sustainability for families.

Our Calumet Center’s Community Schools program is pleased to partner with Metcalfe Academy and SGA Youth & Family Services; recently, this developing relationship led to employment for four parents with the City of Chicago’s Safe Passage initiative.

About Safe Passage: If a child is walking to or from home or school, and for any reason they become alarmed or approached by a stranger, they can find refuge in any “Safe Haven.” Additional parent patrols around school locations and showing presence throughout neighborhood routes to and from school creates a “Safe Passage” for the youth in our city. Learn more about Safe Passage

Audrey Johnson, Metropolitan Community Schools Coordinator at Metcalfe, recruited a few parents and grandparents from her program who needed employment to care for their school-age children. During the interview process with SGA, Audrey supported 11 parents to overcome barriers from clearing CPS background checks to uploading computer documents and onboarding through electronic software.

Although more parents are waiting to hear about their status, four parents share what this experience has meant to them:

Nicole Barber
I had been working with Ms. Johnson since May of this year. I had been on interview after interview. I really needed to secure employment that would help me care for my children. I asked Ms. Johnson about the Safe Passage jobs, I thought it would be great if I could work in the community. I’m excited now that my kids see me every day. They seem proud of me, and they get to see mommy working every day. I wanted to do something different, so this is a different field and position that I am excited about the possibilities and where it will lead me in the future. It took me a process, but I was glad that I had support and dealing with the computer, and transportation. I am glad that the school and the resources are there to help parents like me. 
Erma Spencer
It is a good experience for me; I really did not have the computer skills to get everything completed. I appreciate all the assistance and help to get this job. It brought tears to my eyes when I found out I was hired. I needed some things for my grandson, I needed some supplies in my household, and I was struggling to make ends meet. This job has given me the help I need to help provide for my grandson, who is the love of my life. I really have joy now and I feel like me and my grandson will have some type of security with this employment opportunity. 
Constance Fornizy
I feel great that I get to work where my kids go to school. I get to see them more, and they get to see me working. I am excited I can meet new people, other students, and other parents. The job allows me to be at home and get my kids ready for school. This opportunity allows me to spend more time with my children while I help with their homework and watch them grow and learn. 
Kristine Smith
This job has impacted me in a great way, because before this opportunity I was working overnight. I could not see my kids at night or in the morning. Now, I get to see my kids every day. They want to have a family reunion every day on the corner. The money I get from the job will help me do family activities on the weekend with all four of my children. I am now at home in the evenings so I can help with homework and get them ready for bed. This experience is exciting to me and is better for my family.