4477 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60629 ~ 773-523-7110
Our School Coordinator is Lizbeth Gonzalez
Our School Coordinator is Lizbeth Gonzalez
BRIGHTON PARK COMMUNITY
BPNC serves Brighton Park, a low-income working class neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side. During the past twenty years, Brighton Park has experienced vast changes in both its ethnic and socio-economic make up. Brighton Park is bound by the Stevenson Expressway (North), Western Blvd. (East), Central Park Ave. (West) and 49th Street (South). The community’s ethnic character has changed from consisting of a large Polish, Irish, Lithuanian and German population to a predominantly minority population. Today, over 83% of community residents are Latino, and many are recently-arrived immigrants. With approximately 49,318 residents, Brighton Park is also the second fastest growing neighborhood of Chicago’s 77 community areas. Other facts about our community:-Brighton Park experienced a 123% increase in the number of children ages 0-17 during the past 20 years. During this time, there was also a 235% increase in the number of children ages 0-17 living in poverty (Chapin Hall Center for Children,http://www.chapinhall.org/research/report/chicago-children-and-youth-1990-2010)-Per capita income in Brighton Park is only $13,138.-According to Chicago Public Schools, approximately 96% of the students in Brighton Park schools are considered low-income, based on qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches.-In terms of educational attainment, the highest proportion of adults in the community- 43.25%- have not completed high school.-In addition to socioeconomic issues, community violence continues to be a problem for residents. Chicago Police Department’s CLEARMAP Crime Summary for Brighton Park indicates that 3300 overall crime incidents and 288 violent crime incidents were recorded throughout the past year.-As reported by the Chicago Tribune in 2011, Brighton Park has less than three acres of open space for children and families to enjoy- making it the single most park-poor community in Chicago.
BPNC was founded in 1997 when community members decided they were no longer going to tolerate the deterioration of their community and take action to affect real and substantial change. For the past fifteen years, BPNC has helped to improve neighborhood schools, increase community lending, increase law enforcement resources throughout Brighton Park, develop numerous youth alternatives to gangs and drugs, won numerous capital improvements, and- most importantly- brought together adults, youth, businesses, churches, schools and other neighborhood institutions to reclaim a community that had long been forgotten. Since its inception, BPNC has affected substantial change through its strength in community organizing. BPNC’s leadership is comprised of predominantly Latino immigrant working families and institutional leaders in the community. Over time, the organization’s original focus on organizing for social change has evolved, and campaigns have led to BPNC’s increasing ability to effectively direct resources and shape direct services to fit the community’s unique needs. BPNC integrates community leadership into the strategic development of all its programs, and provides ongoing evaluations of programs that continuously assess needs in schools and the community. BPNC also engages youth in quality programs that develop leadership skills, enhance their academic performance, and address their social-emotional needs. BPNC has received numerous awards to honor our important work in the community. In 2000, BPNC won the Award for the Best New and Emerging Organization in Chicago, as sponsored by the Wieboldt Foundation, the Woods Fund of Chicago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust and Mayer Kaplan Family Foundation. In 2001, BPNC was one of nine organizations chosen from over 400 applicants for a national award sponsored by the Rolling Stone Magazine and MTV. In 2006, BPNC received the Chicago Community Organizing Award on behalf of the Wieboldt Foundation, the Woods Fund of Chicago, Chicago Community Trust, and the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. BPNC was awarded the Dimon Distinguished Community School Award for our work with Burroughs Elementary and Kelly High School for two years in a row, in 2009 and 2010. Finally, BPNC was named the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Agency Partner of the Year.
SERVICES & CAMPAIGNS
BPNC works to address a range of community issues through school and community-based services and community organizing strategies that engage community leaders in local, state, and federal policy change campaigns. BPNC is working on the following issues: gang and domestic violence, the need for more resources for public schools, the need for more resources for youth, the need to rejuvenate our community's park and green space, the need for foreclosure prevention services, raising the state and city minimum wage, fair tax in Illinois, and the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Below is a description of the campaigns and services offered by BPNC. These services can assist residents in critical moments as well as promote economic development. You may contact our office or stop in for more information at any time.
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Every year during tax season, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council partners with the Center for Economic Progress as part of its Live United Neighborhood Network initiative with United Way. Volunteers are recruited to assist individuals with filling out their tax forms correctly and ensuring they can the best refund possible. We create "mobile tax sites" so that community members can easily and correctly fill their tax forms out during tax season without having to go far or spend money.
COMMUNITY VIOLENCE PREVENTION
BPNC has developed a comprehensive violence prevention strategy where neighborhood institutions, social service agencies, and community leaders come together to coordinate resources and services to make a safer community. Our strategy has resulted in the following programs: Parent Safety Patrols (over 150 active parent leaders providing safe passage at seven schools), Students Against Violence Exploitation and Sexual Assault (SAVES-innovative youth engagement strategy in partnership with Heartland Human Care Services Violence Recovery Services and Kelly High School providing student leadership on dating violence and domestic violence).
In February of 2013, UIC, BPNC, and Davis Elementary opened the community’s first school-based health center at Davis Elementary. The Davis School Health and Wellness Center is a federally qualified school based health center and will serve approximately 2,000 children and their families throughout the year.The services provided through this health center are coupled with BPNC’s School-based Parent Health Promoter Program funded through UWMC where BPNC employs parent leaders at four local schools (Davis, Burroughs, Shields Middle, and Kelly HS) to develop family health education programs, family fitness programs, and health and nutrition programs that inspire wellness practices in the families of our community.Another initiative of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council is its Health Promoter program. BPNC trains community leaders to learn about making healthy choices and how do disseminate that information to the community. Health Promotors learn about nutrition, mental health, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Finally, The Brighton Park Neighborhood Council is at the forefront of getting people enrolled for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). BPNC has also trained individuals to give out information on the new health care law and to help people enroll. We will be looking to do outreach at events as well as going door to door ensuring everyone has all the information they need to get the best health insurance policy.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ASSISTANCE
With the passage of the new Affordable Care Act, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council will be working in the community to ensure that everyone gets information and access to new health insurance opportunities. We will also be making sure that anyone eligible under the Affordable Care Act can apply easily and without problem. Anyone who interested in getting this information, or to see if they qualify for the health care law, can call our office or stop by to receive more information. You can also call to make an appointment to apply for health insurance at our office.
The Brighton Park Neighborhood Council partners with various community schools to provide adults opportunities for continuing education, from help with the GED program (in English and Spanish), to information on becoming a citizen or learning English, to classes for activities such as cooking. These classes vary from school to school, and each school can be contacted for a list of the classes they offer, but the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council has information on many of these classes. Simply call with the school or class you want to learn, and we will be happy to direct you with the right information.