The new three-story building at 416 N. Laramie Ave., Chicago, is across the street from another two-story, 24,000 sq. ft. By The Hand Club at 415 Laramie Ave., that opened a year-and-a-half ago.
“This new facility will allow us to ultimately serve 810 more children who attend Moving Everest Charter School during the day, and if parents choose, attend By The Hand after school,” said Donnita Travis, founder and executive director. “In addition, over 200 other children from neighboring Chicago Public Schools are attending By The Hand across the street.”
By The Hand Club For Kids is a separate 501(c)(3) entity, which will lease space to Moving Everest Charter School that begins kindergarten and 1st grade classes this fall and eventually serve 810 students, kindergarten through 8th grade.
“In less than two years, By The Hand, a non-profit, after-school program, is building two state-of-the-art centers totaling 77,000 sq. ft. in what was once described as one of the darkest corners in Chicago,” Ms. Travis said.
“By The Hand is not only helping hundreds of kids who might not otherwise have much of a chance in making it out of a tough neighborhood, but it is also giving a great boost to economic development, neighborhood stabilization and community development.”
The new building will feature 18 classrooms, three computer labs, a multi-purpose gym/cafeteria, six breakout rooms, an art room, a special education suite, administrative offices and a parking lot.
By The Hand Club For Kids is a faith-based, after-school program founded in 2001 with 16 children in Cabrini-Green. Today it serves 1,000 children, 1st through 12th grades, in four of Chicago’s most under-resourced neighborhoods – Altgeld-Gardens, Englewood, Cabrini-Green and Austin, where it has been for eight years.
“Our vision is to help kids experience abundant life. Our mission is to take children in critical need by the hand in 1st grade and walk with them all the way through college,” Ms. Travis said.
Children attending By The Hand are recommended from 16 partner Chicago Public Schools. At By The Hand they receive tutoring, medical and dental care, counseling, spiritual guidance, a warm meal and safe transportation from schools to the clubs and to their homes. After-school hours are considered the most dangerous time of day for children in these neighborhoods.
Since 2001, 91 percent of By The Hand seniors have enrolled in college and 71 percent are in college or have graduated college – including two Gates Millennium Scholars.
“While Moving Everest is a separate non-profit and its own entity with its own staff, By The Hand will work closely with this school, just as it works collaboratively with other CPS schools we partner with,” Ms. Travis added.
“Our vision is to provide parents in Austin with a compelling educational choice that will prepare their children for academic success, help them become proficient and enthusiastic readers, develop strong character and allow them to enter and excel in a college preparatory high school,” said Michael Rogers, executive director of Chicago Education Partnership and a founder of Moving Everest.
“This will be done throughout the school day in a blended learning environment and by offering parents the option of a strong after-school provider,” Rogers added.