This semester, R CITY completed its first term of enrichment programming. Twice weekly, over 40 youth ages 11-14 would take the short walk over from Cameron Elementary with Brandon Green (Community Center Director). Once at River City, they split between two program offerings: Hoops & Homework and Artist’s Studio. The programs were supported by a team of a dozen committed volunteers from the community and River City Community Church, led by Brandon (Hoops & Homework) and professional artist Jeremy Black (Artist’s Studio).
While some weeks had exactly the challenge and energy level one would anticipate from 40+ junior high students recently released from a day of classroom learning, the entire program had one overarching emotion: joy. Even when energy ran high, students cooperated, cared for one another, played and worked together, and lived out their time at River City in collaboration and harmony. For a community center serving students from two of Chicago’s most violent police districts, these joyful, peaceful programs stood as a beautiful starting line for what our students are capable of creating. We cannot wait to build on this foundation in semesters to come.