Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Amate Alum Profiled in the Catholic New World!

One of our Alumni, Father Mark Krylowicz, was profiled this week in the Catholic New World's "5 Minutes with Father" column.  Click here to follow the link:  http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2012/0212/5min.aspx

Father Mark volunteered during the 1984-1985 Program Year, when Amate House first opened its doors!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Fighting for Educational Equality and Opportunity

The following is a reflection written by Samantha Robinson, one of this year's North House Volunteers.

3.9 GPA. Top 10 in her high school graduating class. Prom queen.
I’d like to tell you that she is one of our scholar success stories at the Illinois Education Foundation, but she isn’t, not yet at least. This bright girl must have done something to earn a nearly flawless grade point average. She must have worked as hard as the majority, if not all, of her class. She must have done something to win the hearts of her classmates.  By all reasonable standards this young woman should be excelling in college and well on her way to an associate’s and later a bachelor’s degree.

Instead, she struggled to scrape out a D in a math course two levels below college credit. She’s currently retaking a beginner’s level English course. Hours of tutoring and she can’t meet the 2.5 GPA requirement that her scholarship program requires for renewal.

What’s wrong when a hardworking woman with a great personality can’t seem to make 1 + 1 = 2? Well, the way I see it is this: She was unprepared, and I don’t think anyone in their right mind can blame it on her. She must have studied for her tests. She must have written to the standards asked of her. She wouldn’t have done so well in her school if she hadn’t. But somewhere along the line, she either wasn’t taught, or wasn’t held to, the standards we expect of our high school graduates. She’s the victim of an underfunded, inadequate education system. And yes, I know the word “victim” sounds dramatic, but the problem is I’m not dramatizing. And the even bigger problem is that she’s not alone.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Continuing the Journey of Service

The following is a reflection written by Amate Alum Christina Gebel.  Tina volunteered with Amate House in 2007-08, and 2008-09.

Nowadays, my life looks much different than my years in Amate. 

Instead of standing in front of a room full of squirming teenagers, I am mostly seated at a desk, trying to Google quick tips for Excel, wondering if HTML is an ancient language used by aliens, and attempting not to allocate money to the wrong account.  Yup, I am your friendly administrative assistant and/or secretary.
When interviewing for my current job, my supervisor asked if I thought I’d miss doing direct service every day.  I knew I would.  I miss my students and having lots of silly or dramatic stories to tell my roommates when I come home each day.  I miss my girls’ insightful questions, and I even miss pulling out the “teacher look,” although my bedroom mirror is a good place to remind myself I still got it, followed now by a smug smirk.

When I switched to working the workings of a nonprofit, I traded my grade book for Microsoft Outlook and began to settle into my new role.  No longer would I be face-to-face with those I’m serving.  Instead, I am in a cubicle (and appreciate Office Space that much more).  However, I now fully realize my job is still worthwhile.