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Why is it so important to revitalize Chicago Public Schools? Studies have shown that physical environment of a school influences how well a student learns and even the ability of teachers to teach effectively. Even more important are the stories that principals of Serve-a-thon schools share with us: here are the stories of two schools we will transform on June 12, Attucks and Fort Dearborn.


Fort Dearborn in Auburn-Gresham
In the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood on the city’s far south side, more than 200 volunteers will participate in transforming Fort Dearborn Elementary School into a vibrant place to learn and grow. Fort Dearborn is located in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood and educates more than 550 pre-K through 8th grade students. The school sits in between multiple gang turfs so the safety of the children is a constant concern. Principal Arey Desadier, hopes to gain more community involvement in the future, and strives to make the school environment a comfortable home to students during the day. In addition to the ongoing work of educating the students, the school administration and teachers hope to increase attendance and parent involvement.

Auburn-Gresham has a turbulent past: development in the early 1900’s, riots in the 1960s and gang violence in the 9’s and 2000s. For many students living in the area, Fort Dearborn is their most stable home. Serve-a-thon volunteers will support this “home” and show the students that Chicagoans care by giving the classrooms a bright, clean coat of paint. Join a Serve-a-thon team to make Fort Dearborn a brighter school.

Attucks in Grand Boulevard

Attucks Academy, located in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood, is home to the largest population of homeless students in the city. With more than 160 students that are currently homeless, it is more important than ever for Chicago Cares to be present in the community and at the school.

Until two years ago, Attucks students attended class in another building twelve blocks from the current location. This significant change means that Attucks has had to combat the change in location while still serving the same kids from a city area twelve blocks away. Nevertheless, in the same two years, test scores in math and reading have risen 82% and 29% respectively. Principal Dr. Perry attributes the success to the culture and atmosphere she and her staff have strived to establish and maintain over the years.
Serve-a-thon volunteers will paint classrooms and create mosaics and murals to promote school spirit and academic achievement, making it possible for the students of Attucks to enjoy a brighter, more inviting school in which to learn and grow.  Want to be part of the transformation team at Attucks? Join the team today.


Studies have indicated that the physical environment of a school influences how well a student learns and even the ability of teachers to teach effectively. If paint is peeling, the lunchroom hasn’t been painted in 18 years and the exterior of the building is uninviting, this can become a distraction from learning and teaching.

On the other hand, a bright and freshly painted environment sends a positive self-esteem message to students or clients that they are worthy of a clean and beautiful facility.

When the federal government assessed the condition of America’s schools in 1999, it estimated that $127 billion was needed just to bring facilities to “good” condition. In Chicago, the school budget has been slashed, with administrative and capital expenses being first to go so that every dollar can support the educational process. In the face of deep budget problems, Chicago’s schools need the boost that comes from a coat of paint, a new garden and colorful murals now more than ever.

On June 12, 6000 Serve-a-thon volunteers will combat these challenges and make a difference for our schools. Serve-a-thon volunteers will brighten more than 400 rooms and over 100 hallways and stairwells in 41 schools, sending a positive message to the 25,000 children and adults who study, play or receive services in those buildings.