June 14, 2011
Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard was joined today by members of Chicago's faith community in announcing the "Safe Haven, Safe Summer" program, a partnership between Chicago Public Schools and 100 churches. Safe Haven, Safe Summer will provide an estimated 5,000 young people with various programs and activities following the end of the regular school year this Friday.
"Programs like Safe Haven, Safe Summer are important partnerships between CPS and faith-based leaders," said Brizard during an appearance at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, 2622 W. Jackson, on Chicago's West Side. "Keeping our students safe is one of our most vital priorities and the programming provided by Safe Haven, Safe Summer strives to provide our children with engaging activities and a create a creative outlet during the summer break."
One-hundred churches have been invited to partner with CPS under the Safe Haven, Safe Summer initiative which will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. weekdays from June 27 until August 5. The programs will be held at faith-based organizations throughout Chicago. (Click here to view the list of participating churches).
"The Safe Haven program is design to help prepare children with life skills by providing mentoring and tutoring," said Pastor Roosevelt Watkins of Bethlehem Star Church. "At the same time, Safe Haven has kept thousands of students safe and off the streets during winter, spring and summer breaks and also after-school."
Safe Haven was established during the winter school break in December 2009, with 24 churches serving about 500 young people between the ages of 5 and 17. Last year's Safe Haven, Safe Summer program served an estimate 1,000 young people at 40 churches.
"Safe Haven is an investment in our children. These programs have kept students in neighborhoods from Garfield Park to Austin to West Humboldt Park safe and off the streets," said Pastor Ira Acree of St. John Church.
Students can sign up through each individual church. Churches have adopted specific schools and sent fliers out within their neighborhoods to help in promotion and registration.
While each program is different, churches will provide a variety of services to children including healthy meals in partnership with New Birth Christian Center, engaging activities, reading programs, tutoring and performing arts through the entire day. College graduates and mentors from the church communities will be available to the students for guidance.
During today's press conference, Brizard also highlighted CPS' summer classroom programs. The district will be offering a variety of learning opportunities—from Step Up to Kindergarten and Summer Bridge to Freshman Connection—which will serve over 75,000 students this summer.
Chicago Public Schools serves 409,279 students in 675 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.