The backpacks are on, the buses are full and the classrooms are buzzing. It’s that time of year again – school is back in session! Our kids had a blast this summer participating in an assortment of activities, and just because the beach days are behind us doesn’t mean the fun is over. Here is a list of the top five things Mercy kids can look forward to throughout the academic year.
1. Digital Photography Classes
Starting this fall, we will be offering a couple of brand new after school programs, one of which will be a digital photography class. Kids will be able to gain hands on experience with digital cameras while learning different types of photography such as landscape, abstract and portraits. One of the themes the initial class will explore with the youth will be “Who am I?” Along with learning how to use cameras, kids will also gain experience using the photo editing software Adobe Lightroom.
2. Computer Programming Classes
Also brand new in our after school program department this year will be a computer programming class. Like the digital photography class, this opportunity is meant to be a fun and engaging activity that exposes our kids to new experiences and helps them discover their passions. In the past, we have had youth interested in the field of IT who went on to find internships and careers during their time with us. We hope that this class will help provide encouragement and inspiration for more kids who wish to pursue their interest in working with technology.
3. Theatre Outings
Chicago is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, and every year during the holiday season our youth take advantage of this luxury by attending the theatre. Some of the shows our kids attended last year included “42nd Street”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Newsies”, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Sleeping Beauty”. This year’s outings are still in the works, but you can be assured that this is one of the favorite activities that our kids look forward to every single year.
4. College Visits
One of the most exciting times of the year around Mercy Home happens during spring time when our youth begin to go on college visits. It is a proud moment for Mercy staff as we watch our kids prepare to move on to the next stage of their academic career. For our kids, it is a chance to explore options that may not have seemed realistic early on in their lives. Visits may depend on the particular interest of the student, but we like to make sure they see some of the local options like Elmhurst College, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago and University of Illinois Chicago.
5. Academy Awards
At the end of each school year, we roll out the red carpet and take the time to celebrate the academic accomplishments of our youth at our Academy Awards Banquet. Dinner is provided in a banquet hall setting and youth are presented with different awards based on their achievements. Additionally, some of our kids take to the podium to deliver speeches about their experiences before and during their time at Mercy Home. After a long year of cracking the books, this night is a chance for the kids to relax and feel like stars for all of their tremendous efforts.