An Educational Week

While in Chicago, I was opened up to a lot of new experiences that I never was currently aware of.  We started the week off with a little bit of sightseeing in Chicago, which helped us bond as a group.  The positivity that we gained as a group touring the city in freezing temperatures only increased as the week went on.

On Monday, our group visited the three campuses of Maryville Academy.  We joined the children at the different campuses in a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. with a prayer service where we joined together in song.  Here, we met a lot of the children at Maryville Academy, and even got to talk to some of the boys about their future plans.  It was a good introduction to Maryville Academy, and allowed us to view where we would be helping out the rest of the week.

The rest of the week continued with us returned to both the Madden and Des Plaines campuses, where we got to know some of the kids better.  We started at Madden, and played card games with some of the girls with children.  This was a rewarding experience because we heard more about what some of the girls were going through.  I also participated in some crafts with some of the girls, while others in my group helped repaint a room in the house.  The craft we did was decorating tiles that would be hung on the wall, and it allowed us to interact with the girls creatively and see what quotes they were passionate about.  At first, it took some of the girls a little bit of time to warm up to us, but eventually they were very open with us.  One of the staff at the Madden home mentioned how one of the girls never talked much and she was really happy that she was opening up to us so much.

We finished the week at the boys campus, Des Plaines.  A group of us helped organize things in the gold warehouse and organize the Thrift Store, while others played basketball with some of the boys.  Even though I was not working hands on with the boys, I knew that the work that I was doing was going to help the boys on the campus.  Overall the week was very rewarding and I was able to learn a lot about the foster care system in Chicago.  I’m hoping that I can continue to bring what I learned in Chicago back to Easton and share what I learned about my social issue with people at Lafayette College.


Today started with a 7 a.m. ride from Laf to the Philly airport. When we all met at the airport, our craving for a cup of coffee took over and we passed the security right away. After we bonded over coffee and other relevant (and irrelevant) topics, we proceeded with our flight and arrived to Chicago.
From there, we took the train and although Alex (our team leader) had a small heart attack when she realized that she forgot her wallet in the train, we made it to the hostel safely and in one piece. (Don’t worry she was able to get it before the door was closed). The hostel is very pretty and clean which was not anticipated by anyone of us -lucky us! Anyways, we, then, divided into 2 groups and found our rooms to settle in. As everyone was moderately tired at that point, we have decided to stay in the hostel to watch a movie about foster care. The movie initiated a comprehensive discussion about the foster care system and the effect of abuse, domestic violence etc. on the children. It also left us with many question which was also furthered when we couldn’t decide on what to eat. Finally, we all agreed on the safe choice -ordering Chinese- and that we wanted to deepen those questions during reflection.
In a nutshell, today was a great start for the Foster Hope and “bonding” could not have been any better. For me, it was promising to see that we tried and found a way to make each one of us pleased. The kids or teenagers that we will work with throughout the week have already been through approxiametly 10 losses. I believe that our best shot for this trip to be meaningful and beneficial is through our positive energy and unity. And, I am thrilled to announce that we have it…


After an early morning of airport lines and traveling our team finally made it to Chicago! We are so excited to be here and to finally be putting all our semester long work into action. We spent the day planning the logistics for the week, not forgetting which night we are going to have Chicago deep dish pizza, of course. We also saved some time for some more learning. We watched a documentary on wards of the state that was very moving.

I believe our group is very prepared for our week of service, but I also know that there is a lot more to be learned. I hope we all keep open minds and try to absorb as much information as we can so we can further our own knowledge and make this truly an unforgettable experience.

I know this group has the right passion, heart, and work ethic to not only make a difference in Chicago, but to take what we learn and make a difference back home too, and that is what I hope we are able to accomplish.