This week, CEO Byrd-Bennett announced a significant expansion of the Safe Haven – program – a collaboration that gives Chicago's children the opportunity for a safe, productive summer filled with programs and activities to enrich their development.
The Safe Haven program is made possible by a partnership between CPS and Chicago's faith-based communities – one that provides thousands of students with positive neighborhood options that keep them safe, active and engaged throughout the summer.
"I want to thank our dedicated faith-based community partners for their commitment to keeping our children safe, and for filling their summers with valuable activities and experiences," said CEO Byrd-Bennett.
This summer, Safe Haven will expand from 60 to 100 locations across the city. This is a shining example of a key point CEO Byrd-Bennett has stressed in her 5-Year Action Plan for the District – that active partnerships with our CPS communities help children thrive and achieve.
"I'm eager to expand Safe Haven with the help of our faith leaders to ensure all children have a safe and enriching summer," she said. "All of us have a responsibility to do what is right for our students, both in and out of the classroom. I'm very grateful that our faith leaders have renewed their commitment to this program and the children it serves."
Since 2009, the Safe Haven program has kept CPS children engaged in creative, meaningful activities during winter, spring and summer breaks. This summer's program begins on July 1 and runs through August 13. The hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and all activities and meals (breakfast and lunch are provided at Safe Haven locations) are free for CPS students.
Children who take advantage of Safe Haven participate in the arts, cultural enrichment programs, and social emotional learning that builds self-esteem and improves conflict resolution skills. Safe Haven also acts as an educational bridge from one school year to the next, as students are exposed to many academic programs and have the opportunity to be mentored by caring adults from their surrounding church communities.
"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."
For general information on the 2013 Safe Haven summer program, call the CPS Office of Faith-Based Initiatives at (773) 553-2500.