Friday, March 30, 2012

Final Deadline for Applications is Sunday!

Hello friends,

Our final deadline for applications for our 2012-2013 Program Year is April 1!  Please email your application to us no later than 11:59pm Central Time on Sunday night, or mail your documents to us postmarked no later than April 1.

Applications and questions should be directed to



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Your Invitation to Amate Magic 2012!


The 16th Annual Amate Magic is less than one month away!  We hope that you'll join us at Navy Pier on Friday, April 27!  Look below for a personal invitation:

You can learn more by clicking here for the Amate Magic home page.

Follow the excitement on Twitter by following @amatehouse and #amatemagic2012!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Year After Amate

The following is a reflection written by Amate House Alum (2010-2011) Allison Schallock, who lived at South House and served at the Academy of St. Benedict the African.

At this time last year, I was finally feeling confident in my purpose at my work site and my role in a community of 11 South House volunteers. We were planning the Stations of the Cross, preparing for the annual Amate Magic fundraiser and attending community nights that focused on the transition out of Amate House. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to take on what was next.

My work site during my time at Amate House was at the Academy of Saint Benedict the African. I co-taught second grade and third grade writing each afternoon. Although my Amate year was extremely challenging, the help and support of my co-workers, students and roommates provided me with the strength I needed to grow and progress in a variety of ways.

During the last four days of school last year, I was hired on as the fifth grade teacher at the Academy of Saint Benedict the African. Like any new teacher, I was overjoyed; I was going to do it all. I knew the school and I had worked with many of these students before; so naturally, this was going to be a breeze. I was going to move into an apartment with three girls from my volunteer year, which meant we could skip all of the orientation games and discussions about communal living because we had already done that. I would be able to relax each night because no longer would I have obligations to community dinners and prayer nights during the week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winter Retreat 2012 Recap Video!

Looking out the window here in Chicago, you can quickly forget that we're just coming out of winter and entering spring!  (82 degrees on the first day of spring??!!)

Just a few weeks back, our Volunteers went on our Winter Retreat, and while visions of snow and ice seem like a distant memory, we hope that you enjoy some of the sights and sounds from our weekend together by watching this recap video!

Special thanks to Volunteer Courtney Hardebeck, who shot and edited this video.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Calling all Amate House Alumni!

By Lisa Wittig, Amate House Program Director

We are currently looking for an enthusiastic and energetic Amate House alum to fill the role of Alumni Council President! Amate House has a huge and growing population of alumni and in an effort to keep them involved with the program after their year of service and to provide them with networking and reflection opportunities post-service year, we are hoping to get the Alumni Council up and running again.

The Amate House Alumni Council took a short hiatus, but it’s coming back and we’d love for you to be a part of it. Please take a look at the job description (link to attachment) to see if you would be a good fit for the role. Once we have the position filled more information will be provided about getting the first meetings up and running.

As an alum, I know first-hand what a great community we have here in Chicago (and across the US and world!) It would be great to plan some more formalized activities (happy hours, retreats, fundraisers, etc.) to gather together and share our experiences of service and community with not only each other, but also other post-grad service alumni and friends. Please consider this great opportunity, and if you have any questions about it, I’d be happy to speak with you!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Spotlight on Cabrini Green Legal Aid

The following is a reflection written by Shannon McDonnell, one of this year's South House Volunteers. This year, Shannon is volunteering at Cabrini Green Legal Aid, an agency that provides free legal services to low-income Chicagoans in four primary areas of law: family, housing, criminal records, and criminal defense. Amate House has proudly partnered with CGLA for over 10 years now.  Learn more at

Three hour meetings.  Not typically the highlight of a work week, but this past Friday, it just happened to be.  For the past few weeks, I have worked on putting together our quarterly Focus Meeting.  Four times a year, Cabrini Green Legal Aid does intakes for clients who would need clemency in order to have their record cleared.  Clemency is a last resort for many people who have convictions that are not eligible to be cleared through expungement and sealing.  It is a process of petitioning the governor, asking for a pardon to be granted to allow for the expungement of a record.  Unfortunately, this is a process a large majority of the clients I work with need.

Each potential client meets with a volunteer or staff member for an intake where their story is gathered.  During the intake meeting, each story is shared and questions are clarified.  At the end of the meeting, a decision is made regarding whether a case is accepted or rejected.  Unfortunately, resources are limited and while in an ideal world, all cases would be accepted, that is not possible.  The decision process is the most difficult part, knowing you are part of a decision that could potentially change someone's life forever.

While making a decision to not accept a case can be difficult, being part of this process has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.  I have been given the privilege of hearing and knowing some incredible people.  The circumstances overcome are often overwhelming and it is incredibly humbling to have someone open up and trust you in a first meeting to share their story so openly.  I feel so blessed to have been privileged to be a part of this and only hope I am able to continue to be as strong as the clients I am so lucky to work with.