June 12, 2013
Today, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced at the End-of-Year Faith Leaders luncheon that CPS along with our faith-based community partners will significantly expand Safe Haven. The Safe Haven program will expand from some 60 to 100 locations across the City this summer, benefiting thousands of students and families through activities and programs available within their own neighborhood. The program has kept Chicago students off the streets and engaged in educational activities during the winter, spring and summer breaks since 2009.
“I want to thank our dedicated faith-based community partners for their commitment to keeping our children safe and filling their summers with valuable activities and experiences,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “Everyone in the community shares a responsibility to keep our children safe and provide them with opportunities to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. I’m very grateful that our faith leaders have renewed their commitment to this program and the children it serves.”
This summer, the Safe Haven program will expand to 100 sites across the city offering free programs that help keep students safe and active over the summer. The program runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday starting July 1 and ending on August 13. Each of the 100 locations will provide students free breakfast and lunch through CPS’s partnership with Catholic Charities. Throughout the day, the program will also engage students in workshops that focus on positive conflict resolutions, anger management, anti-bullying and anti-violence.
The Safe Haven program also provides an important bridge between the end of the school year and the beginning of a new school year by giving student access to productive activities that prepare them for the next academic year. Each program is different, and CPS’ faith-based community partners provide a variety of services to children like reading programs, tutoring, performing arts and the opportunity work with college graduates and mentors from the church communities.
"The CPS Safe Haven program has kept Chicago's children engaged in productive, meaningful, creative activities over summer, winter, and spring breaks since 2009," said Pastor Roosevelt Walker of New Memorial Church. "We are proud to partner with CPS to give our children the summer experience they deserve and help prepare them to return to school ready for all the opportunities the new year has to bring."
The expansion of Safe Haven includes enrichment programs for select Safe Haven sites where students will participate in expanding important conversation of anger management and anti-violence through drama and other cultural arts activities. The enrichment programs were made possible by a generous donation from Sultan & Sakeba ISSA Family Foundation. Additionally, CPS is partnering with Grey Matters Inc. to provide social, emotional and artistic enrichment, while encouraging thought provoking life changes.
"The Safe Haven program provides a free, fun, and educational atmosphere for our kids," said Pastor Robert Belfort of New Life Pilsen Church. "Whether engaging in photography, art, conflict resolution, or mentoring programs, these children get to have a safe and well-rounded summer thanks to this wonderful partnership between CPS and Chicago's vibrant faith community."
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.