Showing posts from October, 2015

My Way to Olympia

by Francisco Martinez, Communications Associate  On July 26, 1990, our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates 25 years since the passage of this historic mandate. To honor the ADA and raise awareness of barriers still faced by individuals with disabilities, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, in partnership with WTTW/Channel 11, is hosting a McCormick Community Screening at the Chicago History Museum (CHM) featuring the film My Way to Olympia on November 16. This award-wining documentary, directed and produced by Niko von Glasow’s, a disabled filmmaker, follows a group of disabled athletes preparing for London's Paralympics competition. Born with severely shortened arms, von Glasow serves as an endearing guide to London’s Paralympics competition. As he meets a one-handed Norwegian table tennis player, the Rwandan sitting volleyball team, an American archer without arms and a Gre

Veterans Benefit from 311 Enhancements

by Megan Everett, Program Officer  Have you used the Chicago 311 Call Center recently? In January 1999, Chicago implemented the 311 system to enhance access to all city services and to decrease 911 calls for non-emergency police services. The system centralized satellite call centers so that citizens did not have call several different departments to reach the services that they need. Fast forward to 2015, after a series of meetings with staff from the Mayor’s Office, the Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs for the City of Chicago welcomed the news that the city would enhance the 311 intake assessment to better identify military veterans and active duty service members so they could be directed to specific resources and services. On June 24, 2015 Mayor Emanuel’s office announced that residents who call 311 to request a range of services, including homeless prevention, employment services, senior well-being checks, emergency food, and crisis referral services, will be asked by

Getting the Word Out

The best way to enhance your child's development, simply put, is to talk with them. Dr. Dana Suskind, founder and director of the Thirty Million Words (TMW) initiative recently released a book, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain that discusses the importance of early exposure to language in a child's development. The book provides an engaging and informed account of Dr. Suskind's experience as a pediatric cochlear implant surgeon, highlights emerging early childhood research and outlines three simple tools, known as the Three T's, that every parent and caregiver can us to enrich their child's language environment. The Three T tool kit includes: Tune in to what your child is doing Talk more by using descriptive words with your child Take turns engaging in conversation with your child It's no secret to speech/language and hearing professionals that children's early language environments are critical to their speech, language, and acad

Growing a Healthy Community in Englewood

by David Pesqueria, Senior Program Officer  Residents are the most important assets to any community. Yet many communities face challenges, such as high poverty, unemployment, failing schools and housing instability that directly impact their residents and deter growth. Englewood in Chicago is one such community. For decades, community residents, nonprofits and government-funded programs have worked tirelessly to reverse a declining population and job base, underperforming schools and high crime. In June, key community players, including community residents, Teamwork Englewood, Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC-Chicago) and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, came together to begin discussing such challenges faced by the community. On the agenda, was updating a comprehensive community revitalization blueprint called the Quality of Life Plan, originally crafted in 2005, that has acted as a framework for building, sustaining and operationalizing community struct

Student Leaders in Elections

by Shawn Healy, Civic Learning Scholar  Young people participate in our democracy when they have the capacity, connections, and commitments to follow through. School-based civic learning is a critical contributor to this equation, and Illinois Governor Rauner’s recent signing if landmark civic education legislation is reason to celebrate. Also critical to youth civic development are real-world opportunities to contribute to democratic rituals like elections. The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law connected the two in their “Student Leaders in Elections” program that spanned three elections over the past two years. They collected more than 3,500 applications to serve as election judges from college students throughout the Chicagoland region. Nearly half of them served as judges in at least one election, and more than too worked two or more elections. A follow-up case study published last month produced generalizable findings that contribute greatly to our under

Preserving the Green

by Scott Witte, Director of Golf Maintenance  In 1993, Cantigny became one of the earliest golf courses in the United States to earn the prestigious classification of “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary”. To reach certification, property owners and managers demonstrate a high degree of environmental excellence in: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management. In recent years, Cantigny Park and Cantigny Golf have joined forces to maintain the Robert R. McCormick Estate’s Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status. In doing so, Cantigny joins over 3,000 properties including golf courses, cemeteries, ski areas, housing developments, hotels, and communities in the rigorous certification program. Through education, technical assistance, certification, and recognition, Audubon International facilitates the implementation of environmental management practices t