Thirty-eight volunteers from JPMorgan Chase Bank joined CCH this week to honor some of their top volunteers and make plans for upcoming outreach in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.
Through the project, “Every Child in School, Every Day,” Chase and CCH run community outreach to tell Austin families about the educational rights of homeless children and teens. Their work has been funded by a generous grant from Chase Bank Foundation. Since 2009, Chase and CCH have distributed thousands of brochures and posters to commuters and at homes, stores and community centers during summer back-to-school outreach.
“People were very receptive to us when we stopped to give them the pamphlets,” said Ophelia McGee, a Chase employee who began volunteering last year.
“I went back and told everybody how wonderful it was,” said Chase’s Ella Eison, who volunteered last August. “People on the street were very accepting of our information. They’d say things like, ‘Oh, I know someone this would help.’”
Upcoming plans include a street outreach day on May 26 to explain school fee waivers. Materials will be distributed to explain that homeless and low-income students cannot be required to pay fees for field trips or graduation.
Co-chairs Donna Jackson and Sharlita Davis, both from the bank’s IP & Technology Law Group, organize the Chase volunteers. Ms. Davis is also a member of the CCH Board of Directors.
At an April 26 luncheon, CCH honored Chase volunteers who’ve put in many hours on the outreach project – Molly Carpenter, Angelise French, Mary Leger, and Candice Silver.
Also honored was Scott Koch, a Chase attorney who has worked with CCH youth attorney Beth Cunningham for two years. Mr. Koch has filed more than 60 requests for birth certificates and other vital records needed by homeless youth who sought help from CCH’s mobile legal aid clinic, Youth Futures.
This school year, 562 homeless students are enrolled in 26 public schools in the West Side Austin neighborhood. Across the city, 15,027 homeless students were enrolled in Chicago Public Schools last school year, and this year’s enrollments are tracking 4.5% ahead of the same period last year.
– Anne Bowhay, Media Coordinator