Civic Action Week in Chicago

LFA students prepare to participate in Civic Action service-learning opportunities in Chicago.

Photo by Courtesy of Sarah Collins

LFA students prepare to participate in Civic Action service-learning opportunities in Chicago.

Last weekend, 22 LFA students stayed in a hostel in downtown Chicago. LFA teachers Sarah Collins, Ashley Kolovitz, and Mike Rogan accompanied the students and served as Civic Action Facilitators. The students spent Saturday and Sunday participating in a variety of service work activities.

The first day, the volunteers visited the Olive Mission Branch in Englewood. Here, students helped serve lunch, organized clothing for donations and had an Martin Luther King Jr. art and craft activity for the children that were temporarily living in the facility. On Sunday, the group went to Port Ministries and helped tutor ESL for mothers in the neighborhood and played with children in the free day care facility.

In the hostel, the students tried to live modestly in order to emphasize the service-oriented purpose of the trip to help the less fortunate. The group bought foods at the lowest possible prices and prepared the food themselves in the hostel kitchen. After eating, the students took the time to do their own dishes. The volunteers used the CTA bus and L train system for transportation to Englewood and the Back of the Yards neighborhoods of Chicago for the service.

The facilitators then organized service-learning by holding discussions about their work. Different speakers came to speak in the hostel in the evenings. A group from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless spoke about their experiences living as a homeless individual in Chicago. Another speaker talked about his experience founding Curt’s Cafe, a restaurant aimed at providing work training and skills for youth that have been previously incarcerated.

“What was surprising was that day’s events inspired students to gather during their down time to engage in meaningful conversations,” said Kolovitz.

For recreation, the students had the opportunity to go to Millennium Park and drink bubble tea at Chinatown. During shorter breaks, the group engaged in ping-pong and pool in the hostel.