Kids Out of School Take on NEIU

Grace Yu, Campus Life Editor

As a result of the ongoing Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) strike, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has enacted its district contingency plan during normal school hours, giving children a place to go during the day as well as breakfast and lunch while classes are cancelled. However, as a result of after-school program cancellations, the Student Union at NEIU has decided to offer provisional, supplemental support to CPS parents in the form of after-school campus activities for children ages 5 to 13 years old outside of normal school hours. 

Historically NEIU has offered such supplemental programs during CTU strikes to support the many parents that work at and attend the university. Any NEIU affiliated parents are free to send their children to campus activities during class times or scheduled NEIU-related obligations between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m. on school days. Participation has varied, from zero to about a dozen children per day.

“We have had a fairly consistent use of the program by NEIU students, faculty and staff.  Those who have brought their kids to participate in the program have been very appreciative of the service we are providing,” said Kyle Burke, Director of the Student Union, Events, and Conferences. 

Children participating in campus activities have many options available to them, from streaming movies or television programs on the projector screen, to coloring pages, board games, large-size Jenga blocks and a large-size Connect Four game.

The “overseers” of the activities are all NEIU employees or students looking for volunteer, service, or event hours.

“Full-time staff and faculty from across the university are volunteering to help with the program. Some students, particularly those involved with student organizations, are also volunteering to help interact with the kids,” continued Burke.

Parents with children in CPS are able to take advantage of this program as long as the strike persists. Those with more questions or needing more information may contact NEIU Student Union, Event and Conference Services staff at [email protected] or (773) 442-4630.

UPDATE: As the CTU strike has ended, these services are no longer being offered.