SJS Bids Farewell to Sister Germaine
St. Joseph Services announced the recommissioning of Sister Germaine Price, D.C.
Since its inception, SJS has been privileged to retain the presence of Daughters of
Charity in our organization. In recent years, as the number of Daughters continues
to dwindle in the U.S., efforts are being made to ensure that their sponsored work,
such as SJS, maintains the mission of serving the neediest of our society with dignity,
honor, and respect. As a result, over the last three years, Sr. Germaine worked
diligently to orient all new employees and volunteers to SJS’ Vincentian heritage while
simultaneously developing a Mission and Values Committee at St. Joseph Services.
This group, comprised of a few select, dedicated staff members promotes the Daughters
of Charity’s history and Vincentian heritage, as well as a spirit of service and values, all of
which are embedded in the foundation of St. Joseph Services. It is this great legacy that
energizes SJS’ spiritual base and inspires the work today.
Developing Youth: Senior Buddies Bridge the Age Gap
Senior Buddies was born from the desire to involve our after school kids in community service, and now it has evolved into much more. Students in SJS’ Humboldt Park After School Program visit Linden House to do arts and crafts and socialize with their elderly neighbors. This interaction helps bridge the generational gap as the seniors serve as role models and mentors for the children and the children energize the seniors, reduce depression, jointly work on fun activities, and improve the seniors’ overall health.
“When it’s time for Senior Buddies, the kids and residents are looking for each other. Our seniors enjoy doing the arts and crafts and all decorations they created and telling stories about their living here at the Linden House. They have fun, and that’s what counts. Some of our residents and kids have already developed friendships.”
Merly Greenlee, Linden House Community Manager
Navy Pier Gives Kids a Memorable Ride
Thanks to a generous grant from Chicago’s beautiful Navy Pier, this spring SJS was able to provide an opportunity for 100 After School Program youth to enjoy a thrilling ride on the Pier’s latest attraction, the giant Centennial Wheel. This amazing field trip was an incentive for the students in Austin and Humboldt Park to maintain good grades.
The Navy Pier outing was especially important for the students in the After School Program because most had not been to Navy Pier or taken in the scenic views of the lake and downtown. It was a wonderful experience for the youth who are often impacted by the legacy of systemic social and economic inequality found in neighborhoods like Austin and Humboldt Park. Thank you, Navy Pier for providing such a tremendous opportunity to our children!
Educating Adults: SJS Helps Gladis Make Chicago Home
Moving from a small town in Mexico to a big city like Chicago, Gladis struggled to find happiness and community. With St. Joseph Services’ help, Gladis was able to achieve many of her goals and find the community she needed.
“I remember that first day at St. Joseph Services. They welcomed me and my baby daughter, and I immediately felt at home. St. Joseph Services quickly became a second home. I enjoyed these services and learned so much that I brought my whole family and my friends to St. Joseph Services...After 10 years of being involved with St. Joseph Services, I have finally submitted my paperwork for my green card. I found a way to make Chicago home. I couldn’t have done that without St. Joseph Services.”
Adult Learner Achieves U.S. Citizenship
Elvira, Glenview Adult Literacy Student
SJS rejoices with adult learner, Elvira, for successfully passing the U.S. Citizenship test this spring. Elvira graciously credits her achievement to SJS’ citizenship class offered at St. Catherine Laboure Parish in Glenview, Illinois, and the tutoring and support of longtime volunteer and adult literacy coordinator Sarah.
“Sarah gave me so much more to learn. She gave me a lot of help and inspiration. I am grateful. I wish there were more people like her… I am thankful to St. Joseph Services. Now I feel free, more safe. My kids were born in this country and I want to be here to see them get married without the fear of being deported. I want to be a part of this wonderful country.”
Community Mentoring Interns
Corey, Devana, and Ralph
Community Mentoring Internship Graduates its First Cohort
This spring, SJS’ graduated its first cohort of the Community Mentoring Internship. Three of six Community Mentoring Interns completed 15-weeks of rigorous personal and professional training. Corey, Devana, and Ralph persisted through many internal struggles and external obstacles to finish the program.
Over the term, the CM Interns identified and addressed their weaknesses by focusing on key personal skills such as confidence, conflict resolution, health and nutriton, and professional development skills such as budgeting, writing a resume and cover letter, interviewing, working with a supervisor, public speaking, writing skills, and basic workplace technology.
"I’ve had a very victorious year. I am in a position where I can grow and succeed.”
- Corey, CM Internship Graduate
Transforming Lives: PAID Internship Paves a Pathway to Success for Community Teens and Young Adults
This year, St. Joseph Services was able to expand its Professional Advancement Internship Development (PAID) Program. PAID is designed to provide Westside residents with a pathway out of poverty through training, employment and mentoring, while also addressing internal barriers to success. For the past three years, PAID has provided SJS Youth Instructors with personal and professional development modules, learning sessions, assessments, and weekly field work.
Last summer, SJS initiated Youth Leadership Cohort providing mentoring, job readiness training, and seasonal work for ten of its After School Program alumni who are now in high school and college. This January, SJS expanded PAID to include our community partners through the Community Mentoring Internship (CMI). CMI participants are sponsored by a community partner and make a 15-week commitment to engage in field work and develop personal and professional soft skills. The first cohort of CMI had six members from Westside Health Authority, Austin Coming Together, Marillac House, and SJS.
Austin Youth Leadership Interns (from left) Ryan, Ashley, Ravion, and Reyna.
Program Coordinator, Jeramie (left) with
Community Mentoring Interns Marquiesha, Herbert,
Jermal, Devana, Ralph, and Corey.