Community Service Day—Teen Living Programs
The ISBA Women & the Law Committee participates in an annual community service day in which members engage in volunteer activities on behalf of high school girls, as well as women and children in need. On Saturday, April 16, 2016, a group of committee members and some very helpful members of their families spent the morning helping Teen Living Programs (TLP) prepare their gardens and lawn for spring.
TLP is a non-profit organization that supports and strengthens Chicago’s most vulnerable young people. It is the only agency in Chicago to focus solely on 14-24 year olds who are experiencing homelessness. TLP offers comprehensive, year-round services to address everything from emergency needs and housing to education, job readiness, and embracing a healthy lifestyle. The services are available on Chicago’s south side, in neighborhoods of high poverty and violence and where critical supportive services are lacking.
The young people in the programs are survivors of homelessness, trauma, and instability. TLP has a live-in facility, a drop-in facility and it also helps young people begin their trek into independent living with subsidized apartments. More than two-thirds of the young people in TLP’s programs will finish high school, complete career training, secure employment, and continue toward a fulfilling, independent future. Like young people from intact families, the young people in the TLP programs often need guidance after age 24 and TLP staff members remain that surrogate parent-figure for the young adults needing assistance with making adult decisions.
TLP depends on the generosity of volunteers for both off-site and on-sight opportunities. Like many service providers in Illinois, TLP is currently suffering from a lack of state funding. The ISBA Women and the Law Committee helped TLP by weeding the lawn, removing dead annual plants, cutting back woody perennial plants, and otherwise pruning and tidying up the gardens before the Master Gardener started his work. It was a beautiful day for being outside and the volunteers all enjoyed the Vitamin D and light breeze that came with the job.
TLP welcomes volunteers, not just for gardening but also to assist with answering the phone, updating databases, organizing donations, participating on the Associate Board, cooking a meal, or providing tutoring and vocational skills training. If you have high school students that are looking to get in their volunteer hours, there are opportunities like organizing a donation drive to put together snack kits for the teens that they can do at their own school.