This Is ME, Inc. Overview
Target demographics: Adolescent and teen girls on the northwest side of Chicago
Direct beneficiaries per year: 150
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: volunteer at one of our monthly Drop-In programs; write a newsletter article or blog about issues relevant to girls; help us update our database to track girls’ participation and progress; complete the quarterly newsletter mailing; help at one of our fundraisers
Geographic areas served: Primarily the Northwest side of Chicago
Programs: Homework Heroes.
In partnership with the Junior League of Chicago, This Is ME introduced Homework Heroes in 2006. The purpose of Homework Heroes is to provide study skills training, homework assistance, and general life skills education to area girls in grades 3-8.
Logan Square Library Drop-In.
This Is ME has partnered with the Logan Square Library (3030 W. Fullerton) since January of 2006 to bring a monthly program to adolescent girls ages 10-15. These programs consist of theme-based discussions, snacks, guest speakers, and fun activities and are held the last Saturday of each month in the afternoon. For information about our next session at the library, please call Jennifer O'Grady at 773.818.6964 or Lucia Guidice at 773.227.0643.
TIME (acronym for This Is ME) introduces girls to the importance of analyzing the various sources that influence their values. As girls grow in self-awareness, they improve their ability to put their ideas and opinions into words, to participate in a group setting and to move from ideas to action.
This Is ME has partnered with Hanson Park School from the Spring of 2003 until the Spring of 2009 to bring a weekly girls program to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. This weekly program consists of theme-based discussions, activities, guest speakers, and journaling. During the 2009-2010 School Year, This Is ME moved one school over to Reinberg School. We have also worked with Saint Andrew, Portage Park School, and St. Ignatius College Prep.
Each semester during the school year we offer a 6-week Exploration Series. Some of our past Exploration themes include Cultural Exploration, Career Exploration, Impov Exploration, Music Exploration, and Fine Arts Exploration, all at the Logan Square library.
Workshops and Special Initiatives.
This Is ME occasionally offers workshops and mini-programs for both members and non-members. Some examples of past workshops and mini-programs include:
West African Drumming
o served more than 700 girls between the ages of 7 and 17,
o delivered more than 70 programming initiatives,
o introduced participants to countless female role models, and
o engaged girls in special events, field trips, and productions every year
In the past year alone, This Is ME
o served 140 girls through 15 programming components and field trips,
o provided 31 of This Is ME’s neediest families with in-kind and financial resources,
o welcomed 42 new volunteers, and
o began quarterly training 0pportunities to ensure volunteers understand our mission and approach to serving girls.
We would like to share some of the achievements of these activities and here focus on the weekly school-based programs during the 2008-2009 school year (update to come soon):
* The Hanson Park School Reading Enrichment Program exceeded all four of its objectives:
o At least 60% of participants will express a greater interest in reading. Actual 79%
o At least 60% of participants will improve their vocabulary. Actual 65%
o At least 50% of participants will demonstrate increased confidence in reading aloud. Actual 53%
o At least 40% of participants will adopt new study skills. Actual 79%
o Plus 93% responded that the program helped them learn something new about themselves.
o 93% responded that the program helped them learn something new about their classmates.
o 93% responded that the program helped them feel better about themselves.
* The 8th Grade Girls Circle at Saint Andrew School set out to build positive peer relationships among the group of 13. We made the following strides:
o 69% said the program helped them learn something new about their classmates.
o 62% said the program helped them appreciate someone either they didn’t know or didn’t like before.
o 100% said they learned something they can apply to their real life as far as having self-confidence, accepting others, or making good choices in their relationships.
o 93% said the program helped make their 8th grade year better than it would have been without it.
* Participants of the 7th Grade Girls Circle at Saint Andrew School who completed their end-of-year evaluation unanimously felt that the program helped them learn something new about their classmates; appreciate someone either they didn’t know or didn’t like before; learn something they can apply to their real life as far as having self-confidence, accepting others, or making good choices in their relationships; and made their 7th grade year better than it would have been without it. Some comments that stood out:
o I learned that people aren’t just what they seem like, they go deeper than that.
o I was never really sure about myself; I feel better than I did about myself.
o I learned a lot of them (classmates) were feeling the same way as me, too, just not saying it like me.
o Now I know how I can talk to others without hurting their feelings.
o I know now that some people aren’t as strong and as put together as they act.
o I know not to judge people because they just want to be accepted and we’re all the same in the long run in terms of our wanting to be accepted.
* By the end of the 8 weeks that the 6th Grade Girls Circle at Saint Andrew School met,
o 55% of the girls learned something new about themselves.
o 55% leaned something new about their classmates.
o 73% said the program helped them feel better about themselves.
o 64% learned to appreciate someone they didn’t know or didn’t like before.
o 82% learned something they could apply to their real life.
Girls commented at the end:
* I have good things about myself that people see, too.
* I’m more open to myself and other people; I’m true to myself.
* Before I attended “This Is ME,” I doubted myself, but now I feel a lot better.
* I think twice now about what I do.
* Some feedback from participants of the Homework Heroes Program:
o If I didn’t have Homework Heroes, I’d have to work harder and I’d be totally stressed out.
o Homework Heroes (HH) is awesome. Everybody should be in HH and if they’re not, they should sign right up because it’s a very, very, very good program and it helps you with your homework.
o If you need help with your homework they help you and they teach you lessons about it. They really have good activities.