Thursday, January 19, 2012

Got A Teen? After-School Matters Accepting Spring Applications

If you have a teenager who's 14 and over, and enrolled in a CPS high school, you might be interested in After-School Matters.  This spring's citywide courses (all free) range from fashion design to sports broadcasting to urban gardening, with many in the Uptown area.  Programs begin in early February and generally run three hours after school, when violent crime soars in the time between school getting out and parents getting home.  Just a few samples of available programs in Uptown:
  • At Uplift: Girl World 2.0 is a gender-specific program which provides a platform for young women to engage with citizen journalism and digital media.
  • At Gill Park:   The Improvisational Theatre Program at Gill Park teaches teenagers the important lesson of ensemble, working together, and public speaking.
  • At Vietnamese Ass'n of Illinois:   Teens support an after school program for youth ages five through twelve involving ESL. 
  • At Alternatives:  Interns will act as a youth advisory board for Region 1 of After School Matters. Interns will research teen and community needs and interests. Interns will report their findings back to the ASM Region 1 staff though the use of website development and video.
  • At Chinese Mutual Aid Society:  Teens learn how to do traditional Chinese and modern dances, the basics of video creation.

Programs are already filling up, so you'll want to move quickly if your teen is interested.  You can see all of the available programs here and read about the After-School Matters program here.


  1. Just a few reasons not to advertise for this organization:

    Misuse of TIF dollars:

    Misuse of City-paid workers:

    And most significantly, it just doesn't work:

  2. Your comment that it doesn't work contradicts the article you cite, trunner.

    So is ASM working? "There's some evidence that it is," Hirsch says. "It's not easy to get results that are statistically significant," so any difference is "noteworthy." And the worst didn't happen: "There were no instances in which the control group did better." On the other hand, he says, results were modest. "I think it's a good start, but they need to make improvements."

    If I were mom to a latchkey kid -- I'm not -- I'd want the kid to learn something and have somewhere to go after school. I grew up in Chicago and my folks, who didn't have much money, put me in summer school classes at CPS so that I'd have something to do. I don't see that ASM is that much different.

    Yeah, it has the stink of the Daley administration on it, no disputing that someone close to the Daleys made some bucks off it, but if you're a parent who doesn't have the money to send your kid to summer camp or pay someone to make sure he's okay after school, then it's a viable option. Certainly not the only one, but an option.

    There are a ton of projects all around us that have misused TIF money. Do we boycott all of them? Do I not shop at Target or avoid Hair Cuttery or PNC Bank because of Helen's horrific and wasteful misuse of Wilson Yard TIF dollars? I guess I could, but multiply that by 161 TIFs and I would be severely restricting myself if I refused to use anything that was created by corruption or badly allocated funds. (This is Chicago, after all.) I may not like how the TIF money is spent, but I choose not to spend my life avoiding the results.

  3. One must read the entire Reader article, to know that the Hirsch quote cited above was simply his attempt to soften the blow of the NU report.

    The gist of this report was to say that the impact of ASM is no "better than, say, a slot on the school volleyball team."

    Or more precisely, according to the article:

    ...a comparison of teens participating in ASM to a control group of teens yielded results so negligible the authors offered a take-your-pick pair of interpretations: a "positive perspective," focusing on the few statistically significant outcomes, and a "skeptical view," noting that effect sizes were "generally small" and—oops—that "testing a more representative sample of ASM instructors may well eliminate the few positive impacts that were found."

    I'm sorry that this is so, but unfortunately that is the reality.