This morning Jenner Academy of the Arts, a K-8 grammar school in the heart of Cabrini Green, hosted a Partnership Appreciation Breakfast to honor the various programs, agencies and community groups that support them in their quest to help kids from the neighborhood develop into intelligent, motivated leaders of tomorrow. We were extended a special invitation for the special role Cabrini Connections has played in helping keep kids from the neighborhood off the streets and engaged in productive enrichment activities both at our center and in the community.
This was a particular treat to attend because so many of our students attend Jenner and personally participated in the banquet. From Malik's powerful drumming with the Jenner Drum Team, to Gary and Kenyale cheerfully greeting everyone at the door, it was great to see the kids outside of our center, in their element at school. After thanking each organization personally, Principle Woodson turned over the floor to a handful of students, who expressed their appreciation for all the various ways in which programs like ours help Jenner's students.
After helping myself to a generous plateful of lox, quiche, shrimp cocktail and other foods I don't usually eat for breakfast, I was able to connect with some folks at my table, including Philip Jackson, the founder of the Black Star Project, a 12 year old organization committed to eliminating the racial achievement gap. I will be visiting their Bronzeville center tomorrow and meeting with him as they train a couple dozen marines to work with youth and facilitate tutoring programming through the parent and student leadership development curricula that they implement in schools across Chicago. I will report more about The Black Star Project soon in my blog http://chrispip.blogspot.com/ after I learn more during tomorrow's visit. So stay tuned!