Youth Programs Benefit from Renovations to Historic Chicago Settlement House
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
July 7th Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in West Town Will Celebrate Completion of $500K Project to Increase Program Capacity at Erie Neighborhood House
Chicago, Illinois—Social service agency Erie Neighborhood House announced plans to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 7th as renovations to its historic West Town facility near completion. The project will expand the agency’s capacity to serve local middle and high school youth through a variety of programs, including after-school tutoring, one-on-one mentoring, and STEM education initiatives.
“The youth are very excited about everything—the additional space, the wall, the new YOU kitchen, the bathroom,” says Joshua Fulcher, Director of Youth Options Unlimited (YOU) at Erie Neighborhood House. The wall he references—one entire wall primed with dry-erase coating to allow program participants to create temporary public artwork—was a special feature his youth and staff lobbied for when plans were drawn up for the renovations.
Fulcher indicates that his staff and volunteers currently work with over 100 area youth, a number that has grown steadily over the past decade. “The renovations will give us space to serve more kids and do so more effectively,” he says. With renovations completed, YOU’s outreach capacity will increase by more than 10% and provide participants with an enhanced environment for learning and personal growth and development. TEAM—a one-on-one mentoring initiative boasting a 100% high school graduation rate, 97% college placement rate, and a strong emphasis on STEM-related career opportunities—will also utilize the space for parent workshops and other program activities.
Executive Director Celena Roldan-Moreno describes the renovations as an investment toward a more just, inclusive society. “The YOU and TEAM programs help bring the mission of Erie Neighborhood House into focus,” says Roldan-Moreno. “There is tremendous potential whenever we can work individually with high school youth in our community and empower them to excel both as students and as members of society. The renovations at 1347 W. Erie St. will create a more fertile environment for this sort of impact to occur and will enable us to reach additional families in our community.”
Executed by Novack Construction Company, the project began this April and comes with a price tag of roughly $500K, funded by an Illinois capital grant championed by Sen. John Cullerton, state senator for the 6th District and president of the Illinois Senate. Among the renovation’s features are a new classroom for study hall and tutoring activities, a more functional layout in the program’s common area, and larger restroom facilities to accommodate a greater number of program participants.
“Erie Neighborhood House has long served as an exemplary model of community involvement and service in the 6th District,” remarks Sen. Cullerton. “The agency’s youth programs, which will so greatly benefit from these renovations, embody the mission of Erie House and contribute toward building stronger individuals, families and communities within our district.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 1347 W. Erie St. at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 7. Sen. Cullerton will be among several community leaders present for the celebration. Due to space considerations, attendance will be by invitation only and limited to key agency stakeholders. Members of the media are encouraged to attend and may contact Erie Neighborhood House with any questions about the event.