Teen Work-Learning Project at Trinity Galewood
Trinity Galewood is going into an exciting new opportunity to expand its comfort zone and participate in the community where the church is located. Since July 2, seventeen 14- and 15-year-olds finishing eighth grade at Lovett Elementary School next door have been spending six hours a day at Trinity church in a work-learning experience.
Funding from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s One Summer Chicago program has been granted to hire Trinity’s Jon Daniels to lead a curriculum that will help neighborhood 14 and 15-year-olds improve skills needed in their future work world. One Summer Chicago helps city agencies and partner organizations provide summer employment from July 2-August 10 for qualifying young people from the Chicago Public School system. Jon grew up in North Lawndale and now attends Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, where he will be a senior in the fall. He’s been active at Trinity a year now.
Partner organizations working with Jon in this project, along with Trinity and One Summer Chicago, are CPS’ Lovett Elementary School and West Care, a Chicago youth foundation that works with teens in the criminal justice system as well as offering other family services.
Select students were invited into the program at Trinity by Lovett staff and West Care. They participate in a 9-3 workday at the church, Monday through Friday, with field trips off site. They are learning what a job looks like and practicing the skills, manners and behaviors that go along with being an employee. Each week they also do service projects, have computer time for job-related tasks, and learn about related life topics.
Two West Care staff are on hand to provide assistance as Jon guides the boys and girls through this curriculum. Jon already knows most of the teens through basketball and pizza nights and other events he’s helped lead at Trinity the past year.
“I hope to give these kids an opportunity to go beyond their past experiences, to see what they’re really made of and build character in themselves,” Jon said.
Above all, he says his desire is that they will know how much they are loved – by God and people in the church. His own love for them extends to the degree that he hopes to have a career someday within an organization that serves kids.