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Hyde Park Neighborhood Club programs and projects in part or whole underwritten by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference: Teen Summer

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(The following description of the Club Teen Summer Program was presented by Neighborhood Club Executive Director Jennifer Bosch before the HPKCC Board of Directors April 2, 2009 with HPKCC board member James Withrow, who moved appropriation of $2,530 for the CTA pass component for summer 2009. The program fits the charges of the HPKCC Transit Task Force and our Schools and Public Safety-WhistleStop committees, as well as our gardening and environmental- sustainability foci, and also fits a major focus of our 60th Anniversary Celebration: Challenging the Next Decade-- in this case to assist in safeguarding and growing the neighborhood's service and nonprofit sector. Normally, 20-35 teens participate each summer. Text emphasis is added.
Gary Ossewaarde.)

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club Teen Summer Program runs throughout the entire CPS summer break. An underlying goal of the summer program is to engage teens in activities that lead to heightened interest and occupied learning.

We encourage active involvement by physically exploring various parts of the city on trips that are taken via public transportation. Each trip supports a variety of lesson topics that change weekly, including self-defense and conflict resolution, science and the environment, cooking and culture, and athletics. As well as creating a safe learning environment, the intent of the trips is to facilitate a summer experience that is fun and exciting.

In order for us to travel for each of these trips, the Teen program will utilize public transportation and the Chicago Transit Authority. The reason for using public transportation is multi-faceted. Public transportation is a far less expensive means of travel than chartering a bus multiple times each week.

Perhaps more importantly, the Teen Program uses public transportation as a learning process. Our participants are between the ages of twelve to fifteen, when they are gaining more independence and expanding their interests. It is very important for them to learn to ride public transportation in order for them to efficiently move throughout Hyde Park, the surrounding communities, and the greater Chicago area.

We teach the youths how to plan trips through They learn to navigate the trip planner section, identify starting and finishing addresses, and organize the transportation of their group to the goal destination. Each participant will have the opportunity to plan at least one public transit trip.

Along with learning how to get around the city, the utilization of public transportation will indirectly support other lessons. Patrons are unavoidably faced with diverse groups of people while riding the bus or train, encouraging positive social interaction and development. The majority of participants in the Teen Program is from low-income families and is less likely to travel outside of their immediate communities. Therefore, the Teens are extremely familiar with neighbors who are similar to them are and less likely to be exposed to diverse groups of people. We will be taking them to neighborhoods that they have not experienced in an in-depth manner such as Pilsen, the north Belmont neighborhood, Chinatown, and downtown. Even in the travels to a specific destination, participants will travel through a multitude of neighborhoods. By the end of the summer, the Teens will have seen a huge portion of the city.

Lastly, the utilization of public transportation highlights the critical benefit of mass transit on the environment and our City. For many teens, the occasion to receive a driver's license and a car is one of independence and accomplishment. But the earlier we can expose them to the benefits of moving many people via buses and trains, the greater chance we have of instilling the habit to making public transportation the first and primary choice for travel within our city, state, and nation.

On average the Teens will take two to three field trips each week. We anticipate enrolling twenty teens in the program, led by two adult staff members. Most trips will require a transfer, and our research shows we should purchase day passes ($5.75 each). We estimate the total cost of public transportation for the Teen Program to be $2,530.

We respectful request this amount to help and expand the minds of our teens and encourage them to become loyal public transit users. At the same time, the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference will be supporting and helping promote an excellent program that is enriching, engaging, exciting, and beneficial to our community.