This summer more than 1,000 students from Lane Technical High School have been volunteering throughout the 47th Ward as part of the prep school?s Freshman Connections program. Lane Tech Staff designed the program to include four volunteer hours per session, providing students with the opportunity to become more acquainted with the surrounding area.
“We were looking for something where they could be involved more in the community because a lot of these students come from all over the city,” said Admissions Director Mollie Hart. “We wanted them to develop a new appreciation for where they are lucky enough to go to school.”
Over the course of eight days and under the supervision of the Freshmen Connections staff advisers, students collected garbage with supplies provided by the Department of Streets and Sanitation. Students also surveyed the ward for potholes, crumbling curbs, and graffiti, compiling a list of sites. This information was then turned into the office of Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th) for resolution.
Ald. Schulter was pleased to see the students give back locally.
“I am very happy to see the students of Lane Tech wanting to volunteer in the 47th Ward. Getting out into our neighborhoods with rakes and brooms not only gives the students a way to complete their service hours, but allows [them] a real way to give back to the neighborhoods that support Lane Tech,” he said in a statement to Center Square Journal.
“Lane Tech should get a lot of credit for their academic excellence, but the students’ willingness to work during summer speaks towards their character as well.”
Hart worked in collaboration with the 47th Ward office and Marty Casey from the Department of Streets and Sanitation and received local program sponsorship from the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce, the Ravenswood Community Council, and the Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Hart hopes Lane Tech will be able to continue the initiative in coming years.
“The Freshmen Connections program is [made possible] through grant money,” Hart explained. “If we get the grant money through the central office of the Chicago Public Schools then we would love to do it again.”