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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett today announced an expansion of Safe Haven locations during spring break, April 6-10. This year’s Safe Haven program will provide students with access to a positive and safe environment, enrichment activities and meals at 120 churches and community centers while school is out of session.
“Our responsibility to the safety and education of our children does not end when the school bell rings. Our community partners and pastors play a critical role in ensuring that our children are safe and supervised, while providing their parents with peace of mind when school is out of session, “ said Mayor Emanuel. “ Safe Haven is more than a program – it is part and parcel of our larger strategy to give every child in every neighborhood the safety and mentoring they need for the future they deserve.”
Through a $1 million investment over two years from the City of Chicago announced last year, CPS will expand the Safe Haven spring break program to 20 new sites this year, which will enable 8,000 students to participate. Safe Haven also provides thousands of youth with afterschool, summer and winter programming throughout the year. In all, Safe Haven is on pace to reach more than 21,000 students this year with out of school programming this year.
“We are grateful to our dedicated faith- and community-based partners for their commitment to keeping our students safe by filling their spring breaks with valuable activities and experiences,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “Everyone in the community shares a responsibility to keep our children safe and provide them with opportunities to succeed both inside and outside the classroom.”
CPS is also partnering with the Noah’s Arc Foundation, an organization founded by Chicago Bulls’ player Joakim Noah and dedicated to helping children develop a stronger sense of self through leadership in sports and in the arts.
During spring break, CPS is also partnering with educational nonprofit Junior Achievement to provide financial literacy workshops for students. Additionally, Grammy-winning recording artist and poet, J. Ivy, will give student talks on the importance of male role models and leadership and at select sites.
The CPS Safe Haven program has kept Chicago's children engaged in productive, meaningful, creative activities over summer, winter, and spring breaks since 2009. While programming at each site varies, CPS’ faith-based community partners provide a variety of enrichment activities where students can participate in expanding important conversation of anger management, anti-bullying and anti-violence through drama and other cultural arts activities.
Safe Haven hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday next week. For a list of the 120 Safe Haven site locations and contact information, please visit: cps.edu/SafeHaven
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.