As an organization dedicated to rigorous evaluation and measurement, Get IN Chicago spends a great deal of time tracking long-term outcomes of our groups, schools, and neighborhoods.  We devise strategies to help our grantees reach greater numbers each year and look for trends showing large-scale impact.  We are committed to determining what works.

But we also know that while we crunch the numbers, our grantees are making enormous strides.  The time, conversations, and guidance that they provide to our youth and parents can change the course of a life.  This support, which our grantees give through mentoring, teaching, tutoring, therapy, and more, might not always be easily measurable – but it is always invaluable.

Throughout the year, Get IN Chicago asks grantees to send us updates about the young men, women, and parents in our funded programs. In the spirit of the holidays, we hope to share a few of these snapshots over the next few weeks.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of our program participants – and thanking the workers who make these successes possible each and every day!

summer girls

Participants at Westside Health Authority’s summer program graduation (photo via WHA)

Westside Health Authority
Core Programming – Mentoring

Through a combination of individual and group sessions, Westside Health Authority provides mentoring support as well as a curriculum that incorporates multiple community service projects.  Westside Health Authority (WHA) was awarded a grant in June to continue their mentoring program for 100 youth at Austin Campuses and Frederick Douglass Academy in Austin.

Dominique* started out as a kid fighting to fit in with her peers, unfocused in class. She lacked self-confidence and was not really interested in being in school; many described her as “all over the place.” Over the course of a semester, her WHA mentor started meeting with her individually and in group sessions. The mentor’s goal for Dominique was to help build her confidence with positive affirmations and remind her the importance of focusing on her goals.

As a result of the mentoring, Dominique began to believe in herself and her capabilities. At the end of the semester, she wrote the following testimony about working with her mentor:

“My name is Dominique. I am 17 years old and a current student of Academy of Scholastic Achievement. This mentoring program has helped me stay on track and ever since I have been in this program I have been on the ASA Honor Roll. My mentor, Mr. Coleman, has encouraged me and empowered me to excel in school and in my life so that I can have a great life. And, so I can be the student and person that I think I can be.”

“I hope and pray this mentoring program expands so there can be more students that can receive as many blessings as I have. I want to personally thank Mr. Coleman for not giving up on me and staying on my neck because growing up without guidance left me with no choice but to just give up on all my hopes and dreams. But thanks to my mentor, I know I will be the most successful person not only in the world but in my family.”

*name changed


Family members joined staff and participants to celebrate the end of WHA’s summer program (photo via WHA)