Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) has been serving the needs of communities in Chicago since 1857. They are completely dedicated to fulfilling their mission, which is “to provide and mobilize the services needed to strengthen families and communities,” by identifying and responding to the needs of the communities in which they serve.
Although MFS has seven Chicago and suburban locations, I would like to highlight their Calumet Center located at 235 E. 103rd Street in Chicago. I have had the pleasure of covering several stories about this Center as a freelance journalist with the Independent Bulletin newspaper. They do so much in the community and I know that all the things they do are not seen on TV.
I felt the need to share some of the services that they offer to residents of the Roseland, Pullman, West Pullman, Riverdale, Washington Heights, Morgan Park and Chatham communities.
These in-school and after school programs were created to address academic and behavioral challenges through tutoring, recreational activities, life skills training, case management services and field trips. The goals of the program are to:
• Increase test scores in reading, math and language arts*
• Improve schools behavior social skills, cognitive functioning and parental involvement*
• Attempt to reduce truancy, suspensions, expulsions and academic challenges*
• Provide opportunities to complete high school and attend college*
* This information was taken from their brochure
African American Male Initiative
A particularly unique program offered by MFS is the African American Male Initiative Program.
This mentoring program, Mentoring Toward Manhood, is not a typical program. Mentors are matched to families. The men will spend time with male participants ages 10-16 and their families during monthly family outings sponsored by Metropolitan. Caregivers of the participants must be actively involved in the 10-week family group sessions. If the parent or caregiver fails to participate in family meetings, the entire family will miss the benefits of a mentor.
MFS offers a parenting education program for young women who are new parents and need help with parenting skills. They also work with teen parents in school to prevent future parenting until they are ready, and encourage them to stay in school. Some of the teen parents are DCFS wards.
Seniors Parenting Again (SPA) helps seniors who are faced with the daunting task of being parents all over again. Also, a senior home owners program is available to provide assistance and resources to these “seasoned” citizens.
General counseling to families; a domestic violence program for women and their children; and information and referrals to people who call in for assistance or who walk in for service are provided under this program. Additionally, activities, field trips, resource lending and parenting classes are offered to strengthen the bond between parents and their children.
Relative caregivers obtain assistance to help adjust to becoming caregivers with adoption and guardianship assistance. MFS helps them apply for public assistance, address school and emotional issues as well as supply other resources. MFS’s Action Team is working diligently to reduce the number of children of color in the child welfare system.
Relocation Assistance for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Residents
MFS looks at the array of needs of families and individuals. They also consider barriers and determine offer the appropriate services to address the needs. These services include counseling, substance abuse services, GED, and connections to after school or childcare services. Employment and permanent housing support is also available.
As you can see, Metropolitan Family Services is doing great things that are not seen on TV. They partner with Chicago Public Schools, the Illinois Department Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the U.S. Department of Education to develop and provide programs for youth, parents, grandparents and the community at large. Dedicated staff members and volunteers also make these programs possible.
Check out their website at http://www.metrofamily.org to learn more about the programs and services offered. You are welcome to stop in or call the Metropolitan Family Services – Calumet Center at 773.371.3600 for more information or with questions about services.