Ombudsman Chicago Honors Supportive Community with Breakfast

Chicago Breakfast

As a thank you to supportive community stakeholders, Ombudsman Chicago South, 6057 S. Western Ave., held a celebratory breakfast last week where Ombudsman Chicago South and Ombudsman Educational Services personnel joined Chicago Public Schools (CPS) representatives, Ombudsman Chicago South students, and community members to acknowledge the progress the school has made thus far.

Ombudsman Chicago South is a branch of the Ombudsman Educational Services, a division of Educational Services of America (ESA), which is a national leader in providing behavior therapy and alternative and special education programs for children and young adults. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) partnered with Ombudsman Educational Services to open Chicago-area dropout recovery Options Schools, offering teens a second chance at achieving academic success and building a bright future as they work toward earning a CPS diploma.

The program for the breakfast was hosted by WGN-TV’s Courtney Gousman set the stage for speakers including Mark Claypool, President and CEO of Education Services of America (ESA).

“If we can get these kids, convince them that they’re smart, and get them on a track to graduate then their world changes. If their world changes, the community changes around them,” said Claypool. “We would love to see as many kids helped and reach as we can possibly reach and the faster we can go the better it’s going to be for the whole community. These children come to us really behind academically with some social deficits and if we don’t address those the outcomes are not going to be favorable for them and therefore not favorable for the community.”

Last year, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennet announced that an additional 800 seats would be made available to individuals interested in a CPS Options School Program. This year, there were 9,439 seats available compared to 5,339 seats in 2010.

“One of the hallmarks of this school, Ombudsman Chicago, is the relationship that we have with our community partners and some of our community partners are business partners, community partners, some are political, aldermen, city councilmen, etc.,” said Dr. Chaun Johnson, principal, Ombudsman Chicago South. “I’m just overwhelmed because they just keep coming in the door and they’re not coming for a breakfast. They’re coming to hear our kids speak; they’re coming to network with other agencies and build up our community. This is what Chicago needs right now. The city has suffered so much violence [that] right now we really need our community to come together, to show love to our young people and understand that it does take a village.”

Since 2013, Ombudsman Chicago has open three locations on the city’s south side, west side at 2401 W. Congress Parkway, and north side at 7500 N. Harlem Ave. Ombudsman was selected and contracted to serve as a CPS Options Schools program.

Ombudsman Chicago South student Baron Bass, 19, spoke during the breakfast saying his time at Ombudsman Chicago South has assisted him in getting back on track in terms of his future. Bass said that one of the differences between Ombudsman Chicago South and his former schools is that teachers at Ombudsman Chicago South went the extra mile to make sure that he was truly learning the material.

“It gave me a second chance to really focus on me and what I wanted to do with my life. The people there really gave me help. They showed that they really cared about me and what I wanted to be out of life,” Bass said.

Bass plans to work in the construction field after he receives his diploma from Ombudsman Chicago South.

Published in the Chicago Citizen by Lee Edwards | 1/28/2015, 4:39 p.m.