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St. Vincent's Monthly Updates September 2011

School-Age Program - Goodbye Summer & Hello New School Year!

The children in our Summer Camp program enjoyed a summer filled with fun outings, including trips to water parks, Great America, the zoo, and museums, to name a few. 

School started for the Chicago Public Schools on September 6th.  Our before/after school program began providing bus transportation from Walt Disney School with the new school year, in addition to Oscar Meyer, Newberry, Lincoln, Franklin, and Hamilton. 

We look forward to continuing our program partnerships into the 2011-2012 school year, including the Cabrini Green Tutoring Program and the Common Threads after-school cooking program.  We are also working with the Girl Scouts to start new troops on-site in October.

Parent Advisory Committee

A growing body of research demonstrates that the involvement of parents, regardless of their wealth or education, is the single most important factor for a child’s success in school. This involvement begins with the family’s first encounter with the educational system. For many of today’s children, this is when they are first carried into the infant room at their child development center.

In order to increase communication between families and staff, St. Vincent de Paul Center is starting a Parent Advisory Committee, which will consist of 8-10 parents in the Child Development Program.  The Committee will discuss parent concerns, help develop solutions to concerns, help plan programs, discuss recent updates, and provide a forum so that parents can support each other.

Child Development Program - New School & Year New Kids!

Our Admissions department and Child Care Business Office successfully enrolled 88 new children who started on September 7th.  Our current enrollment is 417 and we have approximately 10 more children in progress to be enrolled.  We want to extend a big THANK YOU to the Admissions department led by Sandra Aza and the Child Care Business Office led by Beatriz Rodriguez.

Pre-Kindergarten Program - Kindergarten Readiness

The goal of our Pre-K program is to prepare at-risk children with the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.  We know that our program does just that.  For our 53 Pre-K children who were eligible for kindergarten this fall, we compared information about the knowledge, skills, and behaviors across the developmental domains with widely held expectations for children of the same age. 

We are able to see growth over time for these 53 children from the fall, winter, and spring checkpoints across all developmental areas.  The most dramatic change was in Mathematics – in the fall 2010, 39% were below expectations.  When we looked at these same children in spring 2011, only 6% were below expectations.   Math is an area where Chicago children, particularly at-risk children, struggle as they move through elementary school.  To respond to this, we are increasing and enhancing our math activities during the 2011-2012 school year in order to improve our results and set children on a path where they can succeed in this subject.

Social Work/Family Support Services

Family Support Services is excited to begin the 2011-2012 school year.  We are especially  looking forward to rolling out a new and improved Birth to Three Family Support Program.  This year, each classroom in the Birth-to-Three program will have a designated family support specialist, which will help simplify the referral process and provide more consistency for teachers, children and families.  Be on the lookout for more information for the Family Support Program kickoff breakfast.

In August, Family Support Services hosted a parent group focusing on helping parents and children during the transition to a new classroom.  Laura Schriesheim, a consultant from the Virginia Frank Child Development Center, moderated the group.  She facilitated discussions on the different feelings that are often brought up during times of transition and offered strategies for caregivers so they can manage their own feelings about the changes and help their children move comfortably to a new classroom. Over 15 parents attended the group and indicated that the group helped to relieve stress and connect them to other parents’ experiences the same issues.

On August 25th, Family Support Services invited Ruby Taylor of Taproots Inc., to the before/after school program to host two separate trainings for students and for their teachers.  The trainings focused on how to manage conflict, bullying and challenging social relationships.  With the students, Ruby focused her attention on helping them learn to respect people for their differences and giving them tools to use during difficult situations with friends and classmates.  During the teacher training, Ruby provided helpful information on how teachers can successfully manage bullying and conflict in their classrooms and turn them into learning experiences for all those involved.  We hope to have Ruby back in the fall to host a workshop for parents on this topic.

Senior Services

During the 2010/2011 fiscal year, we served 192 at-risk, isolated senior clients with supportive services to allow them to live independently and improve their quality of life.  Services included transportation and advocacy for medical appointments, transportation for grocery shopping, case management services, and friendly visiting.  As the senior population continues to grow and people live longer, these supportive services will continue to be in high demand.


During the 2010/2011 fiscal year, we served 4,240 clients and had 6,433 client visits.  The services most utilized were the food pantry, serving over 4,000 clients, emergency financial assistance through the Emergency Fund, and the CEDA Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, with over 600 applications for the program.


  •           Marillac St. Vincent Family Services
              Mailing Address: P.O. Box 14699 Chicago, IL 60614
  •           Marillac Social Center               773.722.7440           212 S. Francisco Ave. Chicago, IL 60612   
              St. Vincent de Paul Center        312.943.6776           2145 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614   
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