Young Scholars Program: Civic Week 2013

By Cristina Ramos and Matthew Ozea, Educational Advisers

Thirty-four Young Scholars from Cohorts 8 through 11 gathered in Chicago, Illinois from June 30 to July 6 determined to effect change through Civic Week. There were three tracks for Scholars to choose from:  Law & Criminal Justice, Public Health, and Human Rights & Urban Affairs.   2013 07 03 11 26 09 665 resized 600

Human Rights & Urban Affairs group after reflecting on the day’s activities.

Each Civic Week program combines meaningful, hands-on service, meetings with prominent professionals and community leaders, reflection, team building, and fun in one of the nation’s most dynamic cities. CivicWeek participants come away from their experience more knowledgeable about pressing social problems and more motivated and prepared to engage in positive social change. Perhaps most importantly, they leave confident that they have been part of the solution, positively impacting the communities they have served.

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Some Law & Criminal Justice group participants learning about restorative justice initiatives

The Law & Criminal Justice group had the opportunity to tour the Cook County Criminal Courts and sit in on a trial.  Additionally, they were given the opportunity to visit a local law firm and learn about pro bono cases.  They were also able to visit the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University’s Law School where they explored the Center on Wrongful Convictions and the impactful work being done to ensure that all persons have access to a fair trial under the U.S. justice system.

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Some Public Health group participants at the Northwestern School of Medicine

The Scholars who participated in the Public Health group visited an organization that addresses the root causes of poverty through a variety of programs, including shelter providing and food services (Pacific Garden Mission).  They also met with health care professionals and traveled to Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and learned about community health and the state of the healthcare system.  Additionally, they went to Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and took a Community Asset Toxic Tour, where they learned about health hazards, environmental toxins, and the community movement to fight for increased public health for Little Village residents.

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Reflection post

The Human Rights & Urban Affairs group served lunch at Two Lil’ Fishes, a homeless meal program serving Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.  They had meaningful and conversations about urban poverty, inequity and basic human rights.  They also learned about the effects of homelessness and the challenges of securing housing.  They were given the opportunity to visit Northwestern University’s Center for Civic Engagement to learn about service and civic engagement at the collegiate level.

All Scholars in each group experienced the excitement of the great city of Chicago, learned to use the Loop, and ate Chicago-style pizza in addition to having other fun adventures. This experience is truly life changing for many Scholars who participate.  We are looking forward to several Scholars applying early for the summer 2014 experience.  Young Scholars, ask your Educational Adviser about it today!