As part of a citywide effort to provide a safe and active environment for Chicago Public Schools’ students this summer, area churches and faith-based organizations will open their doors to children beginning June 25 for the Safe Haven, Safe Summer initiative.
The free program, running Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Aug. 3, will offer daily play, arts, reading and tutoring, as well as activities to address conflict resolution and bullying. Meals will be provided by Catholic Charities, according to a CPS press release.
“The Safe Haven program has been a safety mechanism for the children, as well as an educational opportunity,” Pastor Johnny Miller of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church said in the release. “The program not only provides an opportunity for conflict resolution, a space to solve potential problems before they evolve. But it has also allowed children to continue their education while school is out during the holiday break.”
Safe Haven was established during the winter school break in December 2009, with 24 churches serving about 500 young people between the ages of five and 17. CPS estimates about 2,000 students will be served by the 60 participating churches this summer.
“Safe Haven, Safe Summer is an important partnership between CPS and our faith-based leaders that works to keep our children safe over the summer,” CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said in the release. “It gives me and our CPS parents peace of mind to know that our students have a caring environment filled with engaging activities – both creative and educational – while they are out of school.”
Churches have adopted specific schools and sent fliers out within their neighborhoods to help promote participation. Students can sign up through each individual church. While the decision to accept students beyond the June 25 program start date, most have said they will continue accepting students after that date.
Here’s a list of participating Austin area churches and contact information:
5920 W. North Ave., 773-569-5397
1256 N. Waller Ave., 773-378-3300
832 N. LeClaire Ave., 773-378-4601
3 S. Laramie Ave., 773-626-3800 (Rosemary, ext. 103)
345 S. Cicero Ave., 773-626-2114
4700 W. Polk St., 773-848-6140
4301 W. Washington Blvd., 773-287-5051
4520 W. Washington Blvd., 773-921-0339