My mother was in a gang and I have heard horror stories bout the gang activity in Pipelines years ago. Several blocks were claimed by a different gang. Lord for bid you were in the wrong block or wearing the wrong colors. You would get beat up or "jumped. " I still see some gang activity but I think it has decreased over the years. It seems like the old gang members are at war with community organizations. These gangs are desperately trying to recruit new members, while youth organizations are trying to keep children from joining the gang by providing better opportunities. 3. What are the schools like in Pipelines? The schools have improved a lot.
The schools seem to care more about their students, not only when they are in school, but outside of the school as well. I feel like there is more cultural diversity in the schools, and because of this, students are learning more about other families and their differences. 4. What types of services are offered in schools and in your community for families with children who have special needs? My brother has special needs. That is something my mom always complains about. My brother was diagnosed with a mental disorder a few years ago. His high school teachers labeled him as lazy and not wanting to participate.
They had no idea he was going through something very personal and very emotional. My mother had to pull him out of school and homesick him because she said that the teachers were not doing their job. She visited his high school on numerous occasions trying to get the school to do an PEP for him. It never got done. Eventually, my brother lost all interest in returning to school when his condition worsen. Some of the teachers did not believe that he was actually sick. One teacher even made a comment saying why wasn't there anything done for him in his elementary school.
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Well, he wasn't diagnosed with special deeds until he reached high school and suffered a very traumatic experience. Wish that the school was more sensitive about this issue. Maybe this way he would have been able to finish school. Now he just stays home and depends on us for help. It makes me sad that the community does not have many resources for children with special needs. 5. Are there enough places for children to attend go after school while their parents are at work? For example: Community centers, youth development programs, day care centers, etc...?
Yes, schools offer after school programs, park districts offer after school activities, and other places, like the library, offer homework help. There are a few day care centers that offer financial assistance to low income families, if they can't afford to pay for day care. My little sister attends a program at the park district. My mother pays $5 for 3 months. That is nothing compared to other private day cares. My sister can walk there after school (it's only 3 blocks away) with a group of other students. She is there from 2:pm until pm when she gets picked up by one of us.
While she is there, she does a lot of fun stuff with the kids from the neighborhood. 6. Do these after school spots offer learning resources for families? If so, what types of resources are available? Yes, Gaza Sultan offers an after school program for children and SSL classes for parents. Bonito Curare High School has Parent-university, which offers GEED, SSL, Computer classes and parenting skills for parents and the park district which my sister attends offers programs like free meals, affordable summer camp, and they even have a holiday party where the kids get Christmas gifts.
This is awesome because some families can't afford to buy their kids Christmas gifts. We are one of those families. 7. Is Pipelines an affordable place to live and raise a family? Pipelines is a lot cheaper than Lincoln park and Logan Square, that's for sure. This is why a lot of college students choose to live in Pipelines. Rent is more affordable. My mother talks about moving out of Pipelines all the time, but when she sees how expensive rent is in other neighborhoods she quickly changes her mind. She also thinks that moving will make things more stressful for my brother.
He knows this neighborhood well and she thinks that moving to a new neighborhood will confuse him and probably have a negative impact on him. The neighbors also know him, they know of his condition, and therefore, she eels he is safe here. 8. Are there free resources for low income families? There are plenty of free resources for low income families. The best place to look is the library. They always post community information on their bulletin boards and many organizations drop off fliers with their information and services. My mom knows a lot of places where they offer free services.
She takes advantage of all of these. 9. What is the community doing in order to make positive changes in the neighborhood? There is a program for youth called After School Matters. I worked with them a few years ago. After School Matters encourages managers to learn about art and the youth are encouraged to display their art work through murals around the neighborhood. Organizations like this, give children the power to feel proud of their work. I definitely felt a sense Of pride whenever I walked past a mural I know I helped paint. 10. What is lacking in the Pipelines neighborhood? Hind that we need more resources for families who can't afford medical insurance. Some community organizations offer health screenings for the elderly and some schools offer free dental and vision checks for their students but it doesn't go beyond a simple check -up. I fall into this category. I have a medical condition which requires me to take medication on a daily basis. My mother had Public Aid insurance which is insurance provided by the government for those who can't afford to pay for medical insurance. The bad part about this is that once turned 19, was taken off her insurance because I was no longer her dependent. Ant get insurance through my job because I am not a full time employee and I do not qualify and can't afford to purchase my own medical insurance because I do not earn enough income. I would have to choose, either I pay for school and school supplies, or I pay for declined and medical care. I choose to pay for my educational expenses instead. Follow up question: How do you get by without medication, if this is something you need on a daily basis? I just do. When the pain is unbearable, I take as many over the counter drugs as I can safely take.
I have tried calling different hospitals, clinics, and organizations to see if anyone can help me at least get the medicine I need, but I have had no luck. I do not know where else to look for help. My mother has called so many people, I think they all know who she is and purposely transfer her to different departments Stephanie laughs and finds humor in this) because they don't want to talk to her. Recently applied for the Obama Medical thingy. I hope I get approved. 1 1. Do you know who your community leaders are and what they've done recently to help your neighborhood? Eave no idea who they are and what they do, but I know for a fact that the residents here are the ones who work the hardest to improve the community. I should know who they are though, maybe one of them can help me get medical insurance! (laughing). 12. Tell me one organization that helps families. Why did you choose this organization? Measures Latinist en Action. This organization empowers women so that women can take care of their families and be strong head of households. MALE helps families find different resources in the community.
They also have a great early child hood intervention program which helps children get the help they need at a young age. I think it is so much better to get detected early with any special needs or any medical conditions, it seems like there is more help out there for younger kids, instead of us older ones. If I had to step aside so that a baby can get help before me, I would. I do not have a problem with that. 13. How long do you think you will live here and why? I hope to live in Pipelines for the rest of my life. I would love to raise a family here. I love Pipelines. Love the neighborhood and the art. M an artist. Belong here. B. Summary Stephanie Moline works in a child care center in the North side of Chicago. She has been working there for 3 years. The children she deals with at work come from a different class than the children in her neighborhood. Stephanie stated that she works mostly with high class families and sometimes baby-sits for them to make extra cash. Stephanie has been living in Pipelines for 21 years. She was born in Pipelines. "My mother has moved around a few times but I have always chosen to stay behind, with my grandmother. I will never leave Pipelines. " Stephanie stated this firmly.
I chose Stephanie for my interview because she is an art student who has lived in Pipelines her entire life. I wanted to know why she has never left Pipelines and what makes Pipelines so special. Stephanie is well known in the neighborhood. She has lots of friends and has volunteered in many of the organizations which help children stay off the streets. Met Stephanie about 15 years ago when I volunteered in the elementary school which she attended. Stephanie was always running around and seemed pretty busy for a young girl. Often asked her where she was running off to and her response was, art class, photography class, or to the library.
Stephanie was involved in so many of the youth programs available in Pipelines. Know because I volunteered in most and I saw her all the time. Literally watched her grow up. I coached the softball team in which she played and I worked with Stephanie on an art project which was dedicated to one of the youth who lost their life due to gang violence. He was a good friend of hers and I could see how much it hurt her to say good bye to him. Stephanie seems to know a lot about the programs and different resources in Pipelines. During my interview with Stephanie, I learned some things about her personal life.
Stephanie is the oldest of 5 siblings. Her mother was married for ten years and then divorced. Stephanie mother has been raising 5 children on her own, working as a bank teller and earning minimum pay. "We never had much growing up," Says Stephanie. "l remember my mom would find out about all kinds of free events going on in the neighborhood, like where to go for free health checks, who handed out free school supplies, free school uniforms, and even free meals. My mom knew how and where to find stuff for free or for very cheap. She could not afford to do things on her own.
Her favorite place to shop for our clothes was at the Salvation Army or at neighbors' sidewalk sales. I never complained. She did the best she could. " (Moline, 2014). I asked Stephanie why she liked to work with all of these organizations. She asked me, "Is there something else I should be doing? " I laughed and listened to her reasons. The reason that stood out the most was that she wanted teenagers to know that there are so many things to do in Pipelines besides joining a gang. She wants children to follow their dreams and not let their financial status get in the way.
I know so many kids who think that they can't go to college because they can't afford it. I was one of them. It wasn't until started working with these organizations that I realized that there are so many opportunities out here for me. There are plenty of ways to make money for school and so many people willing to help. You just have to have an open mind and leave your fear of the unknown behind. I am now a student at the American Academy of Art, and I am majoring in Art Therapy for children. I want to give back to the community live in, and what better way than to help our youth through art, something which Pipelines is well known for. Owe that if my mom had all these opportunities available to her when she was my age, she would have taken them. She tells me that the neighborhood is so different now, but different in a good way. " I noticed that Stephanie talks a lot about her mom during our interview. "You must be really proud of your mom, you mention her a lot," I tell her. Stephanie responds, "My mom is my idol. She is a very strong woman who has done everything to help her family survive. It makes me sad that Pipelines was not such a great place for her to grow up because she was in a gang and she had to basically take care of resell most of the time.
My grandparents were always working and my mom had nowhere to go after school. She would just hang out with her friends and get into trouble. Think it was the same for a lot of kids back then, that's why so many joined gangs. " I proceeded to ask, "So do you think Pipelines is a much better neighborhood now? " Stephanie response: "Heck yeah! " I thanked her for her time and let her know that the interview was over, but she continued to tell me some interesting things about Pipelines, so I stuck around and enjoyed our conversation for another hour or so (S. Moline, personal communication,
April 2014). A. Interview with Chicago Public School teacher Esther Valediction 1 . Is Pipelines a good place to raise a family? Why or why not? I think that Pipelines is a good place to raise a family because there is so much diversity in this community and it is rich with art. There are many good schools, such as the one I work in. My biggest concern is the gang activity that goes on in Pipelines. It has diminished over the years but would like to see it completely gone. The gangs have taken many innocent lives and they have caused so much grief within the Hipic community.
We need to unite and show these gangs that hey do not run the streets of Pipelines. Our children need to know that they are safe in the school and on the streets. We have a zero tolerance for gang activity in our school. The schools are amazing. I have been working for Walsh school for over 15 years, and I love my job. I have gotten to know so many families and I have seen many of my students grow up, graduate and become professionals. The community has accepted me as part of their own, even though I do not live here. I am here 5 days a week, sometimes 6.
I love to work with the organizations in the neighborhood and come up with ideas that will help keep our children off the streets and interested in their education. I have visited other schools and they also have great programs for children and their families. 4. What types of services are offered in your school for families with children who have special needs? The principal of Walsh school, myself and other teachers, are part of a planning committee called the Pipelines Education Task Force. Our goal is to offer the best education possible to all of the children who reside in Pipelines, including those with special needs.
Walsh school has excellent special education teachers. They work closely with the students and the families. They meet regularly with the school social worker to ensure that children with special needs and their families are receiving all the services they need. 5. Are there enough places where children can go after school while their programs, etc...? Yes, there are many places where a child can go after school. We have an after school tutoring program here at Walsh, where students from different universities volunteer to help students with homework.
The park district has a great after school program which collaborates with Elevate (community Organization). Elevate offers art classes, photography classes and even has a youth circus. The kids love going to these places, I hear them talk about the events all the time. The children are very proud of the work they accomplish through these programs. Types of resources are available? Yes, the majority of these programs welcome children and their families. The park district has annual events for the entire family. They can exercise together, they can take art classes together, and some have family fun nights.
Many of these places are open to the entire family, not just the children. Our school has movie nights, science night, a book fair, and health fairs for the entire family. 7. Is Pipelines an affordable place to live and raise a family? It depends where in Pipelines you choose to live. Some families have been in the same apartment/ home for many years. They do not leave for fear of not finding affordable housing elsewhere. There is a lot of new development in Pipelines as well. These include condos and single family homes which are on the higher price range.
I think that if you do the research, you will find out that there is something in everyone's price range here. I like to do my grocery shopping in Pipelines. One of the things I really enjoy about Pipelines, are the street markets. Here, you can mind fresh fruit and vegetables, and also some household items at a very affordable price. I do not live here, but do like to shop here. Yes, in my years of working as a teacher, I have come to find out that there are many resources for families in Pipelines. There are so many organizations which assist families in need. These organizations can direct families to all the proper places.
The residents of Pipelines are the best resource. I have seen families help each other and come together in the time of need. The residents of Pipelines truly support and help one another. Neighborhood? Think that the community is trying its best to get rid of the nag activity. The youth programs are doing what they can to keep children off the streets and involved in other activities. Pipelines is all about art. We have many local artists who work with the children of Pipelines. They offer art classes, mural painting, and sculpture. The best part of this is that you can see the student's work displayed throughout Pipelines.
Children are introduced to art at a very early age. Pipelines is all about art. You see families getting their babies ready for the festivities that happen in Pipelines. Many young children take part in and collaborate in making these festivities colorful and fun for everyone to 10. Do the local businesses contribute to the development of the neighborhood? Yes. Pipelines is a big tourist attraction now, with all the art galleries and the great restaurants. This brings in more money for the business and the neighborhood. Many of the businesses donate to good causes here in the neighborhood.
Some of the bakeries donate bread and coffee to community gatherings, and some of the businesses donate toys during the holidays for children whose families can't afford to buy toys. Businesses have donated food for some of our school events. There is an organization called 18th street Development. Know for a fact that this organization works with all of the businesses in Pipelines to come up with ways to make it a better neighborhood for everyone who works and resides here. 11. What can the residents of Pipelines do, in order to make this a better neighborhood?
The residents of Pipelines can continue to work together to improve their neighborhoods and keep them free from negative things. The families need to support each other and give each other security, this way everyone feels safe. The residents of Pipelines need to know who their government officials are and they need to approach them in time of need. That's what these government officials are here for, to help our spinsterhood. Parents and residents should be able to approach community leaders without being afraid. 12. Do you know who your community leaders are and what they've done recently to help your neighborhood?
Yes, we work closely with the alderman Danny Solid, to see what can be done to better our schools and the community. The alderman just received funds to renovate the park. The children in the neighborhood are going to be very happy to get new playground equipment. 13. Tell me one organization that helps families. Why did you choose this organization? The Resurrection Project is my favorite organization in Pipelines cause it not only informs their residents about things that are going on in the community, it also helps its residents by educating them on home ownership, and it offers affordable housing to families who are struggling financially.
The Resurrection Project has helped many families get out of foreclosures and they work close with government officials to protect the rights of the people living in Pipelines. 14. How long do you think you will work here and why? Think I will work here for as long as can because although do not live here, have grown to love Pipelines like it is my family. Love the school I work in. I love he students and their families. I enjoy taking walks with students, and enjoy seeing the positive changes that are happening. Who knows, maybe one day I will also become a Pipelines resident. B.
Summary Esther Valediction is a ad grade teacher for one of the Chicago public schools in Pipelines. She has been working for the same school for over 20 years. She started off as a teacher assistant in a pre-kindergarten classroom, which my oldest child was attending at the time. Esther came to Chicago with very little education, but a great desire to succeed. Esther says, "l have always known that wanted to be a teacher. When I came to the United States, I came with the desire to succeed and learn. Did research on many schools and found out about programs that would help me achieve my goal. As not gong to take no for an answer. " Esther is a very friendly and enthusiastic woman. I often see her talking and laughing with parents on school grounds or in social events. Yes, Esther attends many social events in our neighborhood. She is well known by parents and children in the community. She has seen my children grow up and she has been a great support for me. I chose to interview Esther because not only does she work with children, she encourages women to become the best that they can be so that they can provide for their families and become independent. This is what she did for me.
She encouraged me to go back to school and get my degree in education. Often see Esther taking a stroll through our neighborhood on the weekends or at school events, sometimes bump into her at social gatherings. You can say that to many of the Pipelines residents, Esther is considered family. She has worked closely with many families and she has helped many single mothers find resources within the community. I recall the day met her, in front of me was a petite woman with a very strong accent. Often wondered how this tiny woman got a job as a teacher assistant and where she obtained her degree in education.
She hardly spoke English. I was 16 years old at the time, a teen mom, and didn't really have an education myself. I just remember thinking, if this lady can get a job as a teacher, I can get a job as the school principal. I had no idea what challenges and how hard Esther had to work to earn her degree and the job she had. AAAS being judgmental, based on what I saw. I began volunteering in Ester's pre-k classroom, almost every day for many years. Since I had no education, I could not get a job, so spend most of my mime volunteering and helping In my child's classroom.
When one of my children moved on to the next grade, the other once started school, and the cycle went on like this for about 6 years. This is where I learned most of my field experience working with preschool children. Here was, a teenage mom, spending all my time working for free in a Chicago public school. I was rewarded for my efforts and named top volunteer for months in a row. During this time, I had the privilege of getting to know more about Esther. Soon found out how she moved to the United States with a degree in education from Mexico. Her degree was not valid in Illinois or any other state so she basically had to start from scratch.
She could have chosen to work in something else, something that would not require a degree, but she chose to pursue her dreams of being a teacher. "One of my goals was to master the English language" says Esther with a smile on her face. Esther still has a strong accent, but when she speaks English, she does so very fluently. Better than, when first met her. When was comfortable enough to ask her about her personal background and education, she told me that there was a university in the neighborhood which offered the majority of college courses n Spanish and helped students of Spanish speaking background with SSL classes.
I had no idea universities offered this type of help, and I had no clue that we had a university right in the neighborhood. This is when she started to encourage me to go back to school. "l see how you work with children. You like this, and you are good at it. You are a natural and you need to go back to school," she said to me one day. Laughed at her and said, "No way. I could never go back to school. I have kids to take care of and a husband to feed, and a home to keep clean". Then she asked me, "But are you happy? My response: no. Was not happy.
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