Many residents of Auburn Gresham, a neighborhood of 35,000 located on Chicago’s South Side, face great academic and financial challenges. Nearly half of children ages 0 to 5 live in poverty, and 80 percent of children in primary grades are not reading at their grade level.
Though these statistics are staggering, local stakeholders – including teachers, school administrators and parents – aren’t accepting the status quo. Instead, they’re fighting to ensure a better future for all who call Auburn Gresham home.
Leading the effort is the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC). In partnership with the United Way of Metro Chicago, the GAGDC has gathered local stakeholders to create the Auburn Gresham Neighborhood Network.
Utilizing a structured form of collaboration known as collective impact, the Network has come together to share ideas and resources, as well as streamline efforts to improve students learning experiences. Members created a three-to-five-year strategy, including goals to bring quality education to Auburn Gresham children and social supports to their parents.
“We wanted to use the power of collective impact to change systems,” said Tenisha Jones, the director of education and program coordinator of GAGDC.