Quality Catering provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks for Onward House Early Childhood Education and School Age programs. This August, our School Age students had the opportunity to meet the owner, along with the cooks, delivery drivers, and office personnel who provide our program with nutritious meals each day.
During their tour, the children designed their own chef hats with their favorite foods. They got to tour the catering facility and learned that 90% of their food is prepared daily. The children learned how the ingredients are shipped, how their breads are handmade, baked, and sliced. They saw how the ground beef burgers/meatballs are grounded and cooked. The children were most amazed at how the Mega Tron (named from the movie Transformers) sliced their fresh fruit in just 7 seconds! And lastly, the children were served hot lunch fresh out of the kitchen.
After seeing how their food is made and delivered, the students are even more excited for meal times. Thank you Quality Catering for the opportunity to how our food is made!
Agustín owns Airos Electronics, a small shop that specializes in electronic repairs. “My customers tell me that if I can’t fix it, it can’t be fixed.”
After immigrating to the United States to study electronics, Agustín got his associates degree in computer science at Wilbur Wright College during the 1980s. After graduation, he knew he wanted to fix electronics. While working part time at a grocery store, Agustín worked as an unpaid apprentice at a similar repair shop. “I learned a lot working there, but after a while I said that they had to start paying me,” he laughed.
After only a few years working for a local repair shop he knew he wanted to start his own business. After buying an abandoned storefront in Little Village, Agustín began repairing radios, stereos and TVs.
After coming to Onward House to learn how to use Photoshop, Agustín came back to learn even more about computers.
“Now I use excel to manage my inventory, before I had to write everything down and it took much longer.”
Agustín is seeing more business now that people are seeing the value in reliable, vintage electronics. “People have an attachment to these things. A man came in and paid me to repair his TV because it was from his son, even though he could have gotten a better one he wanted this one repaired.”
“My professor, Mauricio, has helped a lot” and with the help of Onward’s eCommerce class, Agustín has started repairing computers, tablets and even smartphones. He also was able to redesign his website with an easily customizable WordPress template.
With the new website and word of mouth Agustín has seen a 10-15% increase in customers. “I think that eventually I’ll need someone to help, maybe I’ll get some interns and pass on some of this knowledge.”
Thank You Notes
Belmont Cragin has one of the largest populations of on English Speakers, and many report less than a high school education. One of Onward House’s goals is to encourage participants to further their education through GED and ESL classes in partnership with Wright College’s bridge programs. Onward House takes participants on a field trip to Wright College to introduce them to opportunities to register for college credit courses, obtain student identification cards and tour the facilities. This allows participants to see themselves in a higher learning environment and obtain information on how to pursue additional educational options.
Sceneworks Pilot Program at Onward House
Our friends at Poverty Alleviation Chicago are piloting their new program, Sceneworks with the School Age program at Onward House.
This summer, students will participate in an 8 week program that is designed to help children gain confidence and self-esteem through improv-based activities. The program will be supported by a licensed social worker who will be available for the program participants. Poverty Alleviation Chicago has identified Emily Worden Candini to lead the first program in Chicago, and expand it to LA in the fall of 2019.
“We are super excited to see this program come to life. Improv can help a person become comfortable in uncertain situations, and we think the students at Onward House will come out of this program with more confidence and communication skills, “ said Heather Whinna, Executive Director at Poverty Alleviation Chicago.
The original spirit of Onward’s mission to provide immigrants with the tools and support they need to find a foothold in the United States continues on through our comprehensive adult education services. Through our weekly citizenship classes, immigrants seeking naturalization can find support as they weave their way through what can be a long and costly process.
It took Efrain nearly 20 years to become a US Citizen. He’d immigrated to the US from Mexico in 1979 and in 2000 began his work to attain citizenship. However, it was challenging to find a citizenship program that fit his busy schedule of working and taking care of his family. Efrain found himself continuously reenrolling and paying tuition, and yet still unprepared for the test.
“There are so few places to receive quality instruction like this.”
In 2017, Efrain renewed his mission to become a citizen of the country where he’d spent the majority of his adult life. Efrain began taking citizenship classes at Onward House with Mr. Tapia. The class structure allowed him the freedom to miss a class and still catch up without paying fees. Efrain found that Mr. Tapia also provided additional guidance and tips that made the difference, including: visiting the police station for records, interview attire, and additional documents to bring to support his application. As a bonus, students who took the test always returned to class to “pay it forward” and share their test experience.
Efrain began to volunteer at Onward’s food pantry as a way to give back to the organization for providing free Citizenship classes, which help approximately 30 individuals earn their citizenship each year.
Onward’s citizenship classes are funded by donations, to them, Efrain’s message is, “thank you so much for the support. There are so few places to receive quality instruction like this.”
Efrain passed his citizenship test in July 2018. When asked how it felt he replied, “I’m still learning, but I will feel like a citizen after the ceremony.” Once Efrain formally pledges his Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, Efrain plans to take ESL classes at Onward to improve his English. He plans to continue to volunteer at the food pantry.
Get ready for our Night of Bright Futures Gala Saturday, March 9th, 2019 7 PM – 11 PM at Revel Fulton Market. Now featuring an exciting new theme – masquerade! Shine your dancing shoes and prepare for two musical performances, exciting raffles, and a lively auction all of a good cause. Individual tickets start at $150, get yours today!
The School Age program provides additional support to address at-risk elementary students’ needs. After school and over summer and winter break, students receive individualized academic and social-emotional support and are exposed to new experiences through activities and field trips. They are also able to build strong bonds with their peers. Continue reading “A School Age Success: Jesus & Jonathan”
Onward Neighborhood House was an early adapter to the field of social services pioneered in the 1800s by Jane Adams. As an original Settlement House, Onward House provided classes, room and board, job training, clubs for young children, and even medical care to new European immigrants and low-income Chicagoans. Continue reading “From the Archives: 1920s Service Log”