KIDS Global Network, Inc. has joined forces with the Chicago Literacy Alliance, a group of 30 Chicago-based literacy organizations, to target Cameron School in Humboldt Park. The alliance is working with students across all grade levels to provide literacy assistance in many forms. Cameron School is a K-8 Chicago Public School with 885 students, of whom 98% are low income.

KIDS Global Network funded a "Family Portrait Project" that engaged 90 – 7th grade students in the spring of 2012. Working with 826Chi, a Chicago non-profit group focusing on teaching writing skills, students learned valuable interviewing and writing skills and learned how to create self-portraits. Each student interviewed family members; based on these interviews they created family stories, which served as the basis of the project. The teaching artist worked with students to develop self-portraits. These activities culminated in a presentation at the "Family Literacy Night" on May 16, 2012. Then, a group of the portraits and stories were displayed at Daley Public Library in Chicago for the majority of the summer.

KIDS also partnered with "Girls in the Game", ", a local after school program focusing on girl's fitness. Together, we provided after school activities for girls in 3rd to 5th grades. Coaches worked with 25 girls one day weekly to provide instruction in sports including soccer, flag football, yoga, softball, track and field and basketball. Instruction in the value of sportsmanship and nutrition was a key component of the programming.

KIDS matched the grant provided by "Girls in the Game" to provide for 10 weeks of activities for this program last spring. In the summer we provided scholarships so that 10 girls could attend the five-week "Girls in the Game" camp at Union Park.


Mom Loves Christmas


What my family thinks of my mother is that she is trustworthy. She is always there for anyone, good or bad. My family loves to be together. If they aren't in touch the family would break apart.

My mom loves her six kids. If somebody tried to hurt us she would die for us. This characteristic of hers is what I call brave and trustworthy. She also loves Christmas because friends and family come over and we just have fun. My family has dinner and everybody is happy.

To show she cares, my mother buys her own present for the family. That's how mother shows that she had feelings for the family. This is one reason why she is so in love with Christmas, because it keeps her family in touch. I chose her because she is a caring person. What I learned from this interview is that she is brave and loves to do stuff with her family.




My dad was famous at his old school. Every day he turned in his homework and listened to his teacher, but he was a class clown at the school. He was living in Ohio before he came to Chicago. He said it was fun coming here and hard work and peaceful. When my dad was in high school he was a DJ. People would come to his house to see him play music. His principal came and saw my dad DJ. He was so impressed that he asked my dad, "Would you like to play your music at the school?" He said, "Yes!"

When he was playing music at the school, he saw a beautiful woman walking towards him and she whispered into his ear, "Would you like to be my boyfriend?"

He said, "Yes!"

After that year he went to college and they got married. As time passed they both were making house music and made a lot of money. That was when my five brothers and sisters and I were born. They had to stop because we were little and our ears were small. When he made his last track he played the music extra loud so that people everywhere could hear it. That day when he said "Thank you for listening to my music," he became famous with all the people who heard the music. When days get older, people get older. Now people that heard the song have his song on disc and his picture on the cover to remember his face and what he did.

Now my dad and mom have to have jobs to get more money so they can pay for our food and other stuff. My dad worked at a car wash for few years, and then he worked at a Burger King. Now he works at an airport. He set up his goals early for his life. This interview influenced me. I learned how he went to school and did the best he could even though he acted like a class clown. He influenced me a lot is how he wanted me to be like him and be famous. Also he wanted me to learn how to make music and be a DJ. That's how he influenced me.


A Dream-Filled Piñata


America is considered a melting pot because it is filled with people from other countries. Most came to start a new life here in America. They come here to give their children a better childhood and life, start college and have a great career. This is why it was important for my mom to come to America.

My mom was born in Mexico on January 7, 1978. She has nine brothers and sisters in total. She is the third oldest in the family. She had a much rougher childhood than I did. When she was young she had to do chores all day long and couldn't go outside to play with her friends. Sometimes she had to go and sell bread with her godmother. Whatever was left of the bread she gave to her siblings to eat because there was not enough food for all her sisters and brothers. This surprises me because she had to do so much more than she makes me do.

One of her best memories she had in Mexico was when she spent Christmas with her parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles. Her aunt would make piñatas from scratch. Inside the piñata there would be eggs, flour, oranges, peanuts and other crazy things you wouldn't imagine being inside a piñata. She loved spending time with her family every day.

Years later, she came to America. It was very different than she imagined. The most challenging thing for her was not knowing anybody or the language at first. The reason she came here was to so my sister and me could receive a better childhood, future, and career than she did. These things were really important to her and so were her goals and dreams. She really wanted to be a first or second grade teacher here. She has inspired me so much with everything she has done for me and my sister. She always tells us to not let anything get in our way and to go to the right path, not the wrong one. This is why my mom has inspired me and always will inspire me through my entire life.





A Big Influence


Have you ever had someone in your life who has had a big influence on you? Well, my mom is this person in my life. She is always telling me to keep my grades up, and nobody else in my family is really on me about my education like she is.

My mom influences me throughout her life because she was the only one out of ten siblings to graduate from college. When my mom was younger she had good grades in grammar school, high school, and college so she really wants me to have good grades and keep going with my education. My mom always talks to me about what high school and what college I want to go to.

In addition, she has shown me that hard work pays off. My mother has worked hard all her life. She always tried to do her best to provide for us, even by working a job she didn't like it just to support us.

Overall, my mother is a big influence on me to do my best in the future.


Air Force Aunt



Ms. Christy is a teacher aid (SECA) at Cameron Elementary School. She is also my aunt. I look up to her because she has worked in the Air force and this is where I want to be. But she told me it wasn't always easy.

My aunt started at age 18 in the air force because she wasn't sure what she wanted to do in college. So without wasting time she immediately started training to be in security forces, a kind of Air Force cop, including flight line security, Nuclear Weapon security, and more cool and interesting things. Because of her great work she was assigned to protected a general. This honor granted her the right to travel to different places like Germany, Texas, Europe and more.

In Germany not only did she experience all the Air force had to offer, she also experienced love. 2001-2004. Christy met her husband while she was in Germany. They were doing the same job at the same time protecting a general. Ad a year later they got married and Alyssa E. James. Unfortunately she got out of the Air Force because her and her husband agreed it would be better for their family. Christy was sad to leave but even though she left for her family, the memories and experiences she had will last a lifetime.

Christy James' experiences in the Air force has made her brave, strong and determined. That is why I look up to her, and also because I want to have those types of experiences and memories.


In His Words: "Awesome"


When people think of my dad, they think of a funny, joyful and sometimes kind of lazy man. I chose to talk about my dad because he is a big part of my life. His childhood was like mine and he teaches me things. My dad's childhood, in his words was "awesome". There wasn't a day that he wasn't outside. He was mostly outside with his best friend (my soon to be godfather). Even though he was having fun he would also take care of his sisters. He would take care of them like they were his own. My dad would also teach me things, like how to avoid getting in trouble on the streets. He says this world isn't what it used to be. I also love my dad because he told me that I was the reason he tried to join the army.

These are the reasons why my dad is important to me. If my dad wouldn't have taught me things, something bad would've happened to me. That's why I love my dad.


Being Successful


"I want you to grow up and become somebody," my grandmother said to me constantly as I grew up. She always had these ways of doing, living, and teaching me and the others how to depend on ourselves. Her name is Evelyn Rivera, born in 1958 on September my grandma grew up in the city of Chicago and was less fortunate than others. She finished school, and became somebody like she wants me to become somebody too.

My grandmother is a strong Hispanic woman who has always done her best to support and help others, and herself. I say that she is very successful in life because even though she grew up poor she bettered her life, and she has inspired me to better my life and be as successful as she has.

Being as successful as she was my grandma wanted to continue her career but she didn't because, she pretty much had accomplished her goals, in having her own house, car, and money in her pockets.

Having my grandma around is a great experience because knowing that life, and my future is very important she has inspired, and guided me to want to be successful and be able to take care of myself, and my family, and it's all because of her. Grandma has also been a big inspiration on my mom and my aunts. These are the things that make me proud of my grandma.


Family Traditions


There are many different ways to celebrate Christmas. My Dad's family celebrates in a Catholic way. When they celebrate Christmas they eat, they dance, and talk about the day, work, anything. Later they get 2 or 3 kids and adults and make speeches. Then they make a play and the little girl carries the baby Jesus. My family starts to sing. Then the little girl puts the baby in the basket. Later the people start dancing and eating cake until the party is over. My Daddy's family is Catholic so that's how I know.

When I was 5, I was in Mexico and I was the one who carried the baby Jesus in the play. There were a bunch of lights and we had to walk a long way to Catholic church. We walked in the night then we went it eat tamales with champurrado (hot chocolate) when we were walking we went to houses and sing to them. I remember that there were many people on the streets, like a parade but they weren't dressed wildly. Some people were even carrying Statues of La Virgen de Guadelupe. It was very nice and I'm glad I was there.


Sister Issues


Every family has a rocky relationship but they still love each other dearly. No family is perfect – not even if you're rich, poor or a wealthy family. Most families are proud to say who they are and where they come from and they really don't care about getting judged. Some families are like nightmares. Some families are like sweet dreams. This is important to me because any family could relate to what Jacara and I have.

I believe that my sister and I have grown-up and matured since we were kids. I agree that Jacara and I used to fight and argue more when we were little kids. I remember when Jacara and I went to Toys-R-Us and we fault over a Sponge-Bob sucker. It all started when my mom took us to Toys-R-Us to go buy scooters. Then it was time to go. Then I ran over to the place where they have the candy to grab the sucker.

Then Jacara ran over there by me and said, "I saw the sucker first."

Then I said, "I had it first."

Then my mom said, "Put it back. Neither one of you is going to get it."

Now looking back at that time, it was such a hilarious thing we ever argued over.

Jacara and I don't fuss nor fight with each other anymore. I remember when my sister and I saw these cute glasses at North River Side Mall and she beat me to the glasses. She felt sad for me I think and she gave them to me. Also, there was another moment when Jacara and I saw these cute house shoes at Wal-Mart. We both played Tug-of-War with the shoes so I just let them go and gave them to her.

This is to show people how my sister and I get along with each other and to see how people with sisters can relate to this. Many people don't have people to show them the right steps. Most sisters can tell each other secrets like I can with my sister. Although most sisters fight and bicker, they still get along and have each other's backs.


I Called for Him and He Came


My uncle is twenty-one years old, and he is a hardworking man. My uncle likes to have a lot of fun like playing basketball. He is tall and he has worn glasses since he was a little kid. He grew up without much help when he was like ten years old. His brothers and sisters could not help him with academics because they were older.

When I was little, my uncle used to take care of me. When I started school, he would take me places with his friends. I remember he took me to K-Mart and I got lost. Then I went to the front desk, and I called for him and he came.

Since my uncle was ten years old, he had to work hard. For example, he doesn't have a good car, but he has good things. Also he has a good job, and one of his brothers is the manager of his job. He has worked several jobs, but he quit them because of his schedule. He could not spend much time with his family because he worked late hours.

The way uncle Richy has impacted me is that he works hard and has proven this over time. Sometimes, he takes me out to eat. We also go to the park to play basketball. When I get bad grades, he talks to me and punishes me. This shows me that he cares. I look up to him and I plan on following in his steps.


Just Like My Dad


My family always says that I look like my dad, but not just how we act. When I get mad my mom says I get mad just like him. My personality is just like his. We are both crazy, funny, goody, and outgoing. We always make people laugh with our crazy jokes and sometimes what we just what we say. Also when we act goofy we make people laugh. We're very outgoing we love to talk to new people. My dad is very supportive. He motivates me to go really good at school and whatever stuff I want to do.

My dad had a crazy great childhood. I think he wants me go have a great childhood like he did because he always takes me somewhere adventurous. My dad told me lots of stuff of his childhood, like the time his friends and him got on a donkey and he told one of his friends to get off and hit the donkey so it would run, so he hit it. The donkey hit him back with his leg. The donkey hit him right in the forehead and gave him a big mark.


She Never Complains


Every child needs a role model. My role model is my sister, Rosa Gomez. She use to be Rosa Duran but got married on September 25, 2010 to Martin A. Gomez. I asked her how she knew he was the right one.

She responded, "Because he loves me for who I am and doesn't ask me to be the perfect wife." I believe this is a very important quote because it teaches me that I shouldn't change for a man. If he really loves me, he'll love me for who I am.

There are many reasons why my sister is my role model. My sister is a hard worker. She has two children named Adan (one year old) and Jesus (four years old), as well as a dog named Pookie. I can't imagine having to take care of a dog, two children and my husband, yet she does it all without complaining. Another example that shows my sister is a hard worker is that she always makes sure her family is safe.

Another reason why my sister is my role model is because she's always pushing me to be a good person. Although she loves her children very much she wishes she could have had them under better circumstances and constantly reminds me not make the same mistakes she did so that I don't have to give up my school years for a family of my own. She is always telling me to treat others with respect and focus on school. This shows she really loves me and wants me to do good in life.

I love my sister very much and she loves me and both of us are very unique. She has always been my role model and always will be. She is a hard worker and always pushes me to be a better person.