Please join us for our annual silent auction fundraiser event, Beers for a Cause, on Thursday, May 16 at Revolution Brewery & Taproom. Your ticket includes unlimited beer, snacks, a brewery tour, and the opportunity to bid on dozens of auction items!
The annual GAP Community Center Christmas Store is back in 2018 and bigger than ever! Last year we made gifts available at a reduced cost—$1 each!—to 85 families. 250 kids received gifts, and 80 kids received winter coats who otherwise didn’t have one.
This year we have a goal of blessing 500 kids with Christmas gits, and we need your help! Join us on Saturday, December 8, 2018 from 8am-4:30pm at The Revive Center located at 1860 N LeClaire Ave on Chicago’s West Side. We need volunteers to welcome families, guide them through the store, wrap gifts, and create a fun and memorable experience for their kids in the Winter Wonderland while their parents shop.
Why sell the gits? We get this question a lot. We prefer to have a store rather than simply give away gifts because it creates agency for the parents of the kids. They are afforded the dignity of paying for the gifts and selecting what they want to give their children. The kids then receive gifts from their parents, not from a charity group. We collect brand new gifts and sell them for $1.00 each to parents who need help at Christmas. By hosting a store instead of a giveaway, we’re unlocking the potential in and with our community.
GAP Community Center hosted its annual Health and Resource Fair on June 13. Camila* came looking for assistance for her four-year-old son with ADHD. She recently relocated from Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Her son received specialized attention there and was making progress in learning to manage his disorder, so Camila didn't want their relocation to disrupt his development. At the Health and Resource Fair she connected with agencies including Family Focus and Trina Davila Community Service Center, frequent partners of GAP Community Center. Now she's receiving assistance from the Erikson Institute which specializes in the assistance she needs!
Attendees like Camila were able to connect with dozens of vendors and receive blood pressure, cholesterol, and HIV testing on site.
*Name changed for privacy.
Our annual Beers for a Cause event on May 16 was a success! Over 45 guests came to Old Irving Brewing Co. to enjoy drinks and support the cause of GAP Community Center. We raised over $7,800, including sponsorships for seven students to attend the GAPademics Summer Program starting at the end of June.
Attendees participated in a silent auction and walked home with items as diverse as salon visits, Chicago Cubs box tickets, restaurant gift cards, and cases of beer! Funds raised by the silent auction and ticket sales go to our programs that unlock the potential in and with our Northwest Chicago neighborhoods, including the Safe Harbor domestic violence shelter, health and wellness initiatives, food pantry, and afterschool/summer program.
Thank you for your generosity to support GAP Community Center at Beers for a Cause!
We believe that a student's academic success is tied to their physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being. That's why we started offering yoga instruction at GAPademics! Our teaching aides can tell a difference in the students' behavior and focus after yoga instruction helps them to release stress and connect their body with their mind.
A big thanks to everyone who volunteered their time, donated gifts, or financially supported the 2017 Annual Christmas Store on December 9. Check out the store's impact on our community this year!
Sometimes when words don't come right away, it's easier to express yourself through creation. That's what GAPademics students are learning in art therapy classes. In the picture above, one child drew the passing of her grandmother to cancer. The blue figure represents the girl in her sadness, and the red dots represent the grandmother's unconditional love which continues to permeate the girls life past her grandmother's passing.
In art therapy, the teacher introduces a theme such as forgiveness, death, or family, and our kids paint a picture based on that theme. Then they talk through their creation and the emotions it brought for them. It's one more step toward wholeness for kids who have seen more than their fair share of difficulty.
"Whoa! That one almost hit the ceiling!" The kids squealed with excitement each time they launched one of the rockets they had made. After decorating M&M tubes, they filled each one with water and a single antacid. The combination created a small chemical reaction releasing carbon dioxide to propel it into the air. This was the first of many GAPademics STEM projects.
In the 2017 GAPademics summer program, we piloted STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) classes with the 80 students from our neighborhood--and it was a hit! So in 2018 we brought it back--this time to our daily GAPademics afterschool program. Our teaching aides prepare and teach project-based STEM lessons, like testing rockets propelled by ___.
STEM fields are some of the fastest-growing job markets in today's economy, but many students from neighborhoods like ours don't get the chance to enter those fields because of the resources available to them. We're trying to change that at GAP Community Center by creating the chance for our kids to experiment, design, and create through projects that unlock their potential to enter careers in STEM fields. Write here…
Concerning community events, we just finished hosting at GAP Community Center a Chicago Early Learning Ambassador Training headed by the Mayor’s office. This strategic move was made in the hopes of empowering community leaders and agencies assisting the community help in getting their preschool children enrolled. This initiative called Chicago Early Learning is a citywide, collaborative effort to bring high quality early learning programs more readily to families in need throughout the city. We had about 15 attendees all were very enthusiastic about the training they received. All were grateful for the opportunity to have access to materials that would facilitate them in making the families they serve aware about the access available to quality preschool for their children. Talks occurred about possibly having this event again later in the year. In collaboration with the Chicago Police Department-25th District and Domestic Violence Subcommittee, which I’m a member of, just finished a Child Abuse Conference hosted at West Park Academy taking place during their open house. We had 15 parents that attended and are looking to do in a workshop form later next year. We had a several speakers from the state attorney’s office, DCSF, and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. They did an excellent job and we had many questions from the parents who attended. We are also participating in the Chicago Police Department – 25th District and the Domestic Violence Subcommittee Walk and Rally on October 5, 2017. Our executive Director Angelina Zayas will be setting us out with some Zumba warm up. Please come and join us on that day we will begin at 9:00 am with refreshments and step off at 10:00 am at the 25th District Police station (5555 W. Grand Avenue) Hope to see you there!
Now at Casa Ruth we have two families, both ladies of two children each. One of our ladies is going through the process of getting asylum and we are starting to receive letters correspondence about appearing in court so please pray that all would go smoothly and that she would be approved. I know she is need of bus passes help cut cost of traveling to work. We are in times of so much uncertainty especially with immigration issues. The other young mom we are assisting just recently came to us we are still assessing her needs. Her and her two beautiful girls ages 2 and 4 love their new apartment. We already had mom go to a job interview, she is going to her 2nd interview next week so it looks good. The things she needs is bus passes, food certificates while we wait for her food stamps to be approved, towels, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, twin sheets, queen sheets, clothing for the girls, sizes 3 and 4 toddlers.
If you want to donate clothes or help with in-kind donation please feel free to contact us! Thank You!
GAPademics Summer Day Camp 2017 came and went! When your having so much fun time flies. Our GAPademics kids and Summer Staff had so much fun going to many places like Brookfield Zoo, Brair Street Theater, Museum of Science and Industry and many others. Our kids at GAPademics had fun learning new things like sign language, dance, singing. We wanted our kids to experience everything and anything that we could offer. We want to say THANK YOU to all the parents for letting your kids spend the summer with us, we also want to thank GRACE AND PEACE COMMUNITY for letting us rent the space for the summer and always being a great help. We look forward to spending SUMMER 2018 with your kids and having even more fun.