HEART Chicago Highlights from the 2011-2012 School Year

As we begin preparing for another exciting school year, we feel it’s important to look back and assess the incredible progress we’ve made. This progress is even more notable in light of our very small paid staff – only three part-time employees.
 
Service Projects – We led several successful service projects this past year, from holding an assembly on stopping homophobic bullying to leading a group of 8th graders on the city’s south side to take a stand against gang violence to lobbying state legislators for greater protection for animals to organizing beach cleanups. All of our service projects are designed to empower youth to make a positive difference in their communities.
 
Summer Camp – Thanks to a generous grant from the ASPCA, we are able to partner with Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society to offer our very first two-week Humane Heroes Summer Camp! The camp is designed to show campers, in a fun way, how to use empathy and compassion to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment.
 
Humane Education Family Nights – This past May we worked with 7th and 8th grade students at Stockton Elementary on a science fair style humane education family night. For the past two to three years these students have learned about many issues that affect humans, animals, and the environment. This event allowed them to teach their families and community members about these issues and relay to them the importance of addressing the issues as a community. We hope to replicate these family nights in other schools next school year.
 
New Curriculum – We redesigned our grade 4-6 curriculum to allow for more student participation, to be more academically rigorous, and to incorporate more Common Core Standards. The curriculum’s primary focus is on the hidden consequences of the choices we make and then to seek doable solutions to these problems.
 
Promotional Videos – HEART Chicago volunteer extraordinaire, Chuck Stepner, put together three amazing promotional videos that show people the amazing impact our program is having on students and their schools.
 
Stockton School Has HEART
HEART Students Speak Out Against Gang Violence
HEART Chicago Students Advocate for Animals in Springfield, IL
 
Volunteers – HEART Chicago has 27 volunteers who contributed more than 300 hours of service to our organization this past year! Because of the dedication of our wonderful volunteers, we are able to accomplish more than many other larger organizations.
 
Advisory Board – Board member, Ashley Craig, heads up this local board of established professional and civic leaders. The advisory board’s main function is to promote HEART Chicago’s name in the professional and civic community and raise funds.
 
Young Professionals Board – Advisory Board member, Caroline Pakenham, heads up this local board of young professionals (ages 21-35). The young professional board’s main function is to promote HEART Chicago’s name primarily in young professional circles and raise funds.
 
Partnerships – We leveraged our organization’s resources by partnering with several community partners to enhance the programs we offer to the schools. Some of the organizations that we partnered with this past year include, Communities In Schools Chicago, Northwestern University, Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago HOPES, Between Friends, CeaseFire, Southwest Partnering Organization, Target Area DevCorp, Uptown United, and Mercy For Animals.
 
Fundraisers – We held two very successful fundraisers; one at the Hopleaf in October and one at the offices of Avondale Strategic Partners in May. These two events raised thousands of dollars that went directly toward humane education programs for youth.
 
New Office – This past February we opened our first office in Chicago. Located in the Rogers Park community, our office provides a space for staff to collaborate and a place to hold meetings with partnering organizations.

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