SGA's comprehensive, collaborative and intensive social service model anchored in and around schools. Designed to provide a continuum of services from birth through career, supporting the social, emotional and educational development of children and their families while helping to rebuild community infrastructure and norms.
Characterized by chronic unemployment, disintegrating families, and gang violence, Roseland youth are ill equipped academically and emotionally to break out of the poverty cycle. Young people living in Roseland are plagued with gang activity and violence, rather than after-school activities. When Derrian Albert, a Fenger High School honor roll student, fell victim to gang activity while walking home from school, more than 50 youths were involved in his killing.
SGA Youth & Family Services is a leader in anchoring community schools throughout Chicago. For 100 years, SGA has been coordinating comprehensive counseling, mentoring, juvenile justice, teenage pregnancy prevention and intervention services to meet the changing needs of at risk youth and their families. SGA centers its work at elementary, middle and high schools, serving 34 different neighborhoods—primarily on the West and South sides of Chicago, including Roseland.
SGA is committed to "leaving no stone unturned" to help Chicago area youth and young adults excel in high school and then get through college, and into careers. While expanding core services in Roseland public schools (Fenger High School and Curtis Elementary School), SGA has been invited to create and implement a Paraprofessional Student Advocate Program that hires, trains, and supervises community residents to be active change agents for at-risk children at four additional elementary schools, including Bennett Elementary.
The mission of the Roseland Children's Initiative is to do whatever it takes to transform the social well-being of the community and create real opportunities for young people by providing a continuum of comprehensive and concentrated support services within the Roseland area. As a social service delivery model, the Initiative is designed to overcome the limitations of traditional approaches by systematically coordinating, concentrating very early, and providing massive comprehensive support for children and their families while at the same time, helping rebuild community infrastructure and norms.
Within the Initiative, we have developed a "continuum to success" of programs and services surrounding a child from point of entry through college and transition into a career. We will incorporate all possible aspects of the continuum model and goals into our current services at Fenger High School, Curtis Elementary, and Bennett Elementary.
The service delivery model and methodology have been tested elsewhere and are delivering great results. The Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) has achieved lasting change in the lives of its client population. A central feature of HCZ and Roseland Children's Initiative is focused on accountability for each client. The leadership of SGA and its collaborators visited and studied HCZ, and incorporate their best practices into our model.
The Roseland Children's Initiative will bring new focus, services and hope to transform a community in dire need. The estimated $7.5 million needed for the first five years of operations will come from a consortium of private and public donors. To-date, $2.3 million has been committed through donations and pledges with $1 million from a former client, who when he was age 16 was living alone at the YMCA with a hotplate and no money. After finding guidance and support at SGA, he went on to be a successful entrepreneur, never forgetting the help he received.