We’re excited to continue our “Three Questions With …” blog series into the summer. As part of this, we’re sharing stories from the who’s who of our volunteers, philanthropists, and prominent Chicagoans.

Shakita ReadToday, we’d like to introduce you to Shakita Read. Shakita is a team leader for our One Summer Chicago program. She was chosen as part of a highly competitive process and is teaching, mentoring, and leading a cohort of youth for the initiative. Shakita has a firsthand understanding of her students’ perspectives: she, herself, attended a Chicago Public High School like many of the students she’s teaching this summer. This is her second time serving in the role—she enjoys being a team leader, because it gets her out of her comfort zone and reminds her that no task is insurmountable with teamwork.

1) You’ve been a team leader twice now. What is the most memorable experience you’ve had with One Summer Chicago?
The most memorable moment I’ve had has been volunteering with students to serve adults with disabilities. This inspired me, and it also inspired my students—many found their professional callings as a result of this and other service experiences, and are eager to one day develop programming to support individuals with disabilities, the environment, etc.


2) How have you personally changed and grown as a result of leading this program?
I have grown a lot when it comes to being a leader and learning how to mentor students inside and outside of the program. I’ve been privileged to help many of them with the college process—from providing advice on applications to sharing stories about what college is like.

3) What does Chicago look like to you? Feel free to share thoughts on Chicago’s personality, opportunities, and/or challenges.
Chicago is a city with both good and challenging qualities. On the one hand, the city offers dynamic events and culture. On the other, it struggles to provide services to today’s generation. Chicago has inspired me personally by dictating the career I’m pursuing: criminal/forensic psychology, working with individuals in the system and helping them take advantage of opportunities that will get them back on their feet.

We’re celebrating the diverse and dynamic voices that make a difference in our city and are inviting all to be part of the conversation! Please continue to share what Chicago means to you through Tweets, pictures, videos, and more using hashtag #MyChi.