Friday, March 27, 2009

Casa Central

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of not visiting one but TWO different programs. In the morning I visited Girls on the Run, which has its headquarters just north of us on Dayton and Halsted and in the afternoon I visited Casa Central, which is located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Incidentally, both of these programs are located in the same zip code as us (as is 826 CHI and Erie Neighborhood House) and I've been astounded by how diverse the zip code is.

Casa Central is actually the largest social service organisation in the Midwest that serves the Latino community. Its services include homework help for grades k-12, a Head Start program for pre-k, housing for the homeless, programs for senior citizens, a teen pregnancy prevention program, and much more. Yesterday afternoon, when I visited, they were hosting an event, co-sponsored by ComEd, for people who are on the verge of getting their electricity shut off to help them figure out ways to pay for their electricity. I was also happy to see news vans outside, which shows that good information about Casa Central is getting out into the news media.

The main program that I was concerned with was their Wednesday night tutoring program for high schoolers, where students meet one-on-one with tutors and mentors. While the program is small right now, Casa Central is looking to possibly expand this program.

In addition to homework help, Casa Central also offers various art, drama, music and drumming, technology and many more clubs to keep students engaged and help them explore various creative outlets. They readily use volunteers from all over the city, but have especially taken advantage of college students from such places as UIC, De Paul, Dominican, and Moody Bible College to help their students grow and learn.

As with all the organizations I visit and write about, I'm more than happy to promote any events and/or fundraisers. On April 26th, which is a Sunday, Telemundo will have a telethon for Casa Central. Tune in and find out how you can help out an outstanding social service agency!

I want to thank Cheryl Debusemann-Serra for sitting down with me and explaining to me all the wonderful things Casa Central does to help their community.

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