This weekend, I was able to take teenagers who are from Chicago area projects on the West Side downtown to the lake. People are always surprised by the fact that many teenagers have never visited the lake. I don’t say these things for a sound bite. How many Chicagoans have ever visited a Chicago area project like the Lathrop Homes? Not many!
Even though these teenagers live within eyesight of the Sears Tower, the social norms are a lot different. Not far from the United Center, people are living in a different Chicago. Thank God for the Major Adams Center, a place of refuge for teenagers who grow up in the Lathrop Homes.
JoaKim Noah, who plays center for the Chicago Bulls, has done a lot of work with the youth at the Major Adams Center. I’m honored to be partnering with the Noah’s Arc Foundation for a series of explorations in 2016.
My whole purpose for this exploration was to get these teenagers to step outside of their comfort zone, and not just go to Lake Michigan, but take an “Intro to Sailing” course and then get on a sailboat and really sail. The teens got a quick lesson on starboard, port, bow and stern sides of the boat. They had a chance to open a sail, start the engine, and even learned to steer the boat.
This weekend was perfect timing because the explorers also got to see huge sail boats, courtesy of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Sail Boat race that took place in Chicago this weekend. We saw some interesting looking boats and a few stunt planes. The teens even got to fly a drone. It was an amazing experience.
Thank you to Aint She Sweet Café in Bronzeville for making us delicious picnic baskets.
Also have to shout out the XQ Super Schools Bus Tour project. Created by Lauren Powell Jobs, wife of the late Steve Jobs, they’re taking on the mission to rethink high school on the road, hearing from people and visiting places where change is happening. The XQ team called me and told me they love what we’re doing in Chicago, and they stopped by to interview me about the My Block, My Hood, My City Explorers Program.
Does your school need assistance with exposing students to new cultures and professions?
Does your school want to improve attendance and on-track rates?
Does your school want to better support your students’ socio-emotional development?
If the answer is yes, a partnership with MBMHMC could be the right fit for you. Recognized by the Chicago Urban League and a leader in educational reform, the Explorers Program is currently working with 3 public schools and 3 nonprofit organizations in Chicago, serving more than 45 students monthly. We are currently in the process of expanding into more schools.
If your school is interested in exploring a partnership, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.