Ombudsman Chicago is a Chicago Public Schools Options School Program that offers out-of-school and off-track teens a second chance at academic achievement. With three convenient locations on the Northwest, West and South Sides, Ombudsman is working with students throughout the city to help them achieve success in the classroom and in life after high school. Ombudsman Chicago provides a number of programs and opportunities to help inspire America’s next generation of leaders.
Given that women are expected to comprise 56 percent of the labor force by 2020, that the number of women-owned firms is growing at five times the national average, and America may well be on the verge of having its first woman president, Ombudsman Chicago is doing its part to prepare students, especially young women, to carry the torch and lead by example for other youth.
Meet a few of our outstanding participants.
Monica Watson, a sophomore at Ombudsman Chicago’s West Side location, acknowledges the legacy of African-American leaders – especially women – as her inspiration to succeed. Watson, who was once homeless, attributes her drive to her mother. “I didn’t have a father in my life,” she says. “My mother was my mom, my dad, my sister and best friend.” Since enrolling at Ombudsman, Watson has excelled in math and now aspires to become a math teacher.
Destiny Wright, a West Side native, dropped out of high school during her freshman year, but now has big plans for her future. Wright never thought she would graduate from high school, and when she came to Ombudsman, she had been out of school for a number of years. Last summer, Ombudsman Chicago extended summer job opportunities to its recent graduates. Today, not only has Wright earned her diploma, she has a job at the school from which she just graduated. Recent graduates like Wright work closely with Ombudsman outreach specialists, fielding inbound student inquiries and conducting proactive outreach. They enhance their professional phone etiquette skills as they learn how to make calls to parents and students, and they gain grassroots marketing experience as they work with the teams to conduct neighborhood outreach. With the addition of the recent graduates, the outreach teams for the Chicago campuses have seen a significant increase in both the number of returning students and new student inquiries.
Imani Tiney, a sophomore at Ombudsman Chicago’s South Side location, was part of an Ombudsman Chicago Black History Month program that focused on students’ interpretation of violence within the Chicagoland community. Tiney’s exhibit was dedicated to Malcolm X, a leader she says had a great influence on her life. “Malcolm overcame a lot,” says Tiney, who was adopted as a child. “I can relate to his journey because although he made some bad decisions, he made a complete 180 and ended up changing the world. I used to make bad decisions and got into a lot of trouble, but now I’m on a different path.”
For more information about this alternative route to learning,