Our community partners serve as part of the Academy steering committee and help to guide the development of new projects and opportunities. For Fellows, our community partners can serve as sites for service work and volunteer experiences. Each partner offers access to different populations and service experiences. They are dedicated to the mission of the Academy and to helping our students develop competence in working with diverse populations.
El Valor was founded in 1973 by visionary leader and mother, Guadalupe A. Reyes, who dreamed of a community in which all members, including her son with special needs, could live, learn and work. From its roots in the Latino community, El Valor has grown into a multicultural organization committed to building stronger, more inclusive communities. Service opportunities at El Valor include working with adults with developmental disabilities and staff of their day and residential programs, working with youth in their after school program, and working with staff in their acquired brain injury group. Activities could include involvement in Special Olympics preparation, arts activities, academic enrichment, and research and improvement projects in exercise and nutrition.
Bonaventure House is a 35-room transitional living recovery home, which offers adult men and women with HIV/AIDS – who were homeless or at-risk of homelessness – a chance to rebuild and reclaim their lives. With a wide array of on-site supportive services – case management, occupational therapy, recovery, and spiritual care – most residents are able to return to independent life in the community within a 24-month period. Service opportunities at Bonaventure House include developing and implementing groups covering a variety of topics, as well as developing in-services for site staff.
Established in 1899 through the efforts of more than 100 community volunteers, Association House now serves nearly 20,000 individuals and families each year. Association House has been a trusted community ally, anchoring communities in distress for more than 100 years. The House touches the lives of thousands of people each year, of all ages and of diverse ethnicities, one life at a time. Association House is a foremost community resource offering comprehensive services in English and Spanish that help families help themselves. Service opportunities at this site include working with children and adolescents with behavioral problems, teenage parents, individuals with mental illness and their families, and older adults with developmental disabilities.
The mission of the University of Illinois at Chicago Mile Square Health Center is to provide holistic, quality health care services to a diverse urban community with a continuing commitment to addressing the needs of underserved. The concept of holistic services includes not only actions to restore health, but also those to prevent disease, promote healthy life styles and provide personalized support to individuals and families. The professionals at Mile Square acknowledge their responsibility to treat all patients and community members with dignity and respect regardless of worldly status, race, ethnicity or individuality, and they excel in this endeavor through a commitment to excellence, flexibility in mind and spirit, and clarity in communication. Service opportunities at this site are arranged on a case-by-case basis and generally involve community outreach and education.