Contributions help Special Programs extend helping hand to youthsUniversity faculty and staff members still have time to contribute to the University's Campaign for the United Way/Crusade of Mercy and Other Charities. Contributions may be made to the United Way or any of its agencies, or the donor may specify any other recognized U.S. charity as the recipient of a contribution.
One charitable organization that can benefit from specified contributions is the Office of Special Programs (OSP), located in Gates-Blake 113. Under the direction of Larry Hawkins, OSP has offered programs for students from the Chicago Public School system since 1968. More recently, OSP has begun assisting students from the Chicago City Colleges.
The goal of OSP is to encourage educationally disadvantaged students and help them succeed in high school and college. Relying on the cooperative efforts and resources of local high schools and the University, OSP identifies and selects students from low-income families who have potential for pursuing a college education. The office helps those students through counseling and guidance, academic classes and tutorial services, testing services, and cultural, social and recreational enrichment. In all of the programs, parents are encouraged to participate through monthly parent meetings, committee meetings and workshops.
"We provide a safe and encouraging atmosphere where young people -- students from all over the city -- can come and learn the basics," Hawkins said. "Many of these students come from tough neighborhoods where academic ambition isn't always respected. We give them the support they need, and they keep coming back for more. But to keep these programs alive, we need to continue to raise money. We hope people will help us continue to support these students."
Currently, OSP offers nine different programs:
_ Upward Bound, which offers academic and cultural enrichment, tutoring and recreational activities.
_ Upward Bound Math/Science Priority, which focuses on teaching students to understand, appreciate and develop an enthusiasm for mathematics and science.
_ Pilot Enrichment, which brings students from Hyde Park Career Academy and Hirsch High School to the University for accelerated classes in literature, writing and mathematics.
_ Institute for Athletics & Education, which supports the educational goals of sports programs in elementary schools and high schools by providing guidance, counseling and educational support to student-athletes and their parents.
_ Space Explorers, which uses concepts in astronomy to teach science and mathematics to high school students who participate in classes conducted by Astronomy & Astrophysics and Adler Planetarium.
_ Starlab, which provides one-day seminars in astronomy, using Adler Planetarium's portable Starlab planetarium.
_ Young Astronomers Project, which provides elementary school students with intensive summer educational activities in the study of astronomy.
_ Astronomy Clubs, which foster an interest in mathematics and science for students in grades six through 12.
_ Summer Program, a six-week program at the University that serves approximately 150 elementary and high school students from more than 20 Chicago-area schools. The program consists of formal classes and tutorials in mathematics, English, Spanish, science and critical thinking.
To support OSP or any other charity through the Campaign for the United Way/Crusade of Mercy and Other Charities, fill out and return either the yellow or the blue card included in the campaign information sent to all employees. Options for giving include payroll deduction and making a cash contribution.
Pledge cards returned to the Bursar's Office by Monday, Jan. 23, will be included in a raffle drawing for staff and faculty members who make a commitment to the Campaign for the United Way/Crusade of Mercy and Other Charities. Among other prizes, the raffle includes a grand prize of two round-trip tickets to Tampa, Orlando or New York City, courtesy of Kiwi Airlines in conjunction with Midway Travel Service.
Employees who need a pledge card should call Human Resources at 702-9600.