From students to donors to educators, #WeAreChicago
Our community is made up of unique individuals with one shared mission: fighting poverty by creating world-class educational opportunity.
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As a former public school teacher and community organizer, I feel I can bear witness to the wealth of possibilities in our neighborhoods and our schools. I think a lot of times when people talk about Chicago neighborhoods, they talk about them from a place of deficits instead of assets. I've seen what it looks like to have parents involved in low-performing schools and see low-income kids achieving their potential. My background helps me to be part of breaking down the stereotypes and misconceptions about black and brown kids and build bridges between philanthropists and organizations like A Better Chicago.
Being a first generation college student, I often times felt like the guinea pig trying to maneuver my way through the education system. I had challenges along the way because my parents were not able to guide me because they did not know how to. I try to help those students that are behind me whether it's my brother, family members or friends. I want to help them through their journey to academic success. I know that the unknown can be overwhelming but feeling like someone is in your corner to help you, always helps and alleviates some of those stresses. If I can serve as that for other students, I feel like I am helping create a better Chicago.
I believe we’ll be a better Chicago when we close the degree divide for CPS students. In Chicago today, 69% of CPS high school freshmen aspire to earn a four-year college degree but projections show that only 19% will achieve that dream. Our young people deserve better. Living in a better Chicago means that every single student who sets a postsecondary goal, regardless of income or neighborhood, will have an equitable opportunity to achieve their personal aspirations.
I work in education, specifically college success, by making an impact with high school juniors and seniors through mentorship relationships. Supporting our high school students of all backgrounds and our public schools is what I am doing to create a better Chicago.
A better Chicago is a city where all youth have access to the opportunities, resources, and knowledge to pursue a postsecondary degree and begin their future careers as successful leaders and change makers in our communities and beyond.
A Better Chicago is a city where every young person is given the opportunity to realize their potential and write their own success story. That means every young person not only having access to high-quality education but also being provided the resources that undergird academic, career, and life success: safe communities, access to healthcare, access to housing and food, and role models who inspire them to reach higher.
I want to be a role model to the kids in Roseland who might not think they can achieve their dreams. I want to show those kids that if someone like me—who was born and raised in Roseland—can make it, then so can they. My father always told me never to forget where you come from and I want to make sure I give back to my community in any way I can.
A better Chicago to me is one where the leaders of organizations like KIPP are representative of the students and communities we serve. We'll know we've been successful when the person who has my job looks like one of our students.
To me, a better Chicago is a city where every single young person has access to the opportunity I, and so many of my peers, have been afforded. I love this city, but know that it does not treat each of us equally and it's time for that to change.
Constance Jones Brewer
A Better Chicago is equal opportunities for every single Chicagoan, starting from equal access to a high quality education for all families that will unlock unlimited options for all, particular those that look like me.
Dominique Jordan Turner
What I see on the news and the narrative about our city is not my reality, and it’s not the reality of many of the students that we serve. They have all this talent and yet they’re invisible to leaders in this country. I’m trying to make them visible.
A better Chicago has hundreds of schools that fuel the talent and pertinacity each young person in Chicago carries with them. A better Chicago has extraordinary opportunities for every child to learn, play and engage - on weekends, after school and through the summer. And a better Chicago prepares our young people for real careers, enabling them to generate wealth and live just, purposeful, passionate lives.
A better Chicago is active collaboration between governments and nonprofits that infuse student voice to the solution.
A Better Chicago is more opportunities for a greater percentage of the city's population.
To me, a better Chicago is where communities and neighborhoods are intentionally interconnected in a positive manner. There is a well-known divide in our city and many organizations have people working on the ground to close this gap. One of these organizations is iMentor where we influence this need through cultivating meaningful relationships that increase social capital. Chicago has potential and I believe the citizens who make up the communities are the very people who have what it takes for exponential growth and impact. It is essential that we stick together during these trying times and prove to the world we are resilient for the future and betterment of our admirable city.
In many ways, Chicago is an amazing city. Chicago is filled with high quality talent, delicious food, great festivals, and innovative industries. A better Chicago means everyone has access to what makes Chicago a great city. That access is achieved through high quality education and the best opportunities for all. A better Chicago means less inequality, less violence, and vibrant, economically stable, safe neighborhoods that celebrate our city’s diversity. A better Chicago is where someone from the North Shore and someone from Englewood have the same chances to succeed in this wonderful city and, unfortunately, that’s not the Chicago we have.
A Better Chicago is quality neighborhood K-12 education for all in our city and eliminating hunger from our city.
A better Chicago is a city where everyone – from all races, neighborhoods, and countries of origin – has the opportunity to work hard and build the career and the life they want.
A better Chicago is every student in the city having access to opportunities that can unleash their unique talents- regardless of race, income or zip code.
I am not a native Chicagoan, but I have come to be so proud of this city and the innovation, tenacity, and compassion that has brought some tremendous progress particularly in the education space.