By the Hand Creates a New Model for After-School Services

Like many 3rd graders, Tanilya loves to hang out with her friends, laugh, and have fun. She enjoys singing in the choir, especially because she gets to do her hair pretty and wear a nice dress when she performs. Tanilya also enjoys her “job” as a youth ambassador for her after-school program, greeting visitors with a sunny smile, a firm handshake, and vivid testimony about what the program means to her. And it means a lot to this little girl growing up in an area known for unrelenting gun violence and pervasive poverty.

Tanilya is enrolled at the By the Hand Moving Everest (BTH-ME) school/after-school partnership in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Since March 2001, By the Hand Club for Kids has established four sites in other underserved Chicago communities such as Englewood and Altgeld-Gardens. It’s new model for BTH, as they share a site with Moving Everest Charter School and partner closely with its staff to serve students.

Recognizing the alignment between BTH-ME’s mission and We Raise Foundation’s commitment to work at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality, We Raise awarded BTH-ME a $50,000 GrantsPlus award in July 2017.

BTH-ME serves 180 students from 7:30am to 6:30pm five days a week, providing them with a full day of learning and extensive wrap-around services including academic enrichment, spiritual education, counseling, and vision/dental care. Currently, students in grades K-3 are enrolled; the We Raise grant will help BTH-ME continue to add one grade level (90 students) each year up to 8th grade.

Allison Daze, BTH Fund Development Manager, notes that BTH’s longstanding intervention model involved enrolling students with failing grades or below-grade reading levels and busing them to their sites; however, BTH-ME serves all Moving Everest students whose parents want them to participate. “The idea isn’t just to help kids catch up but to help them move forward,” Daze says. “This partnership means we can serve students deeply and address some of the complex needs they might have growing up in a low-income neighborhood.”

Tanilya enrolled in BTH-ME two years ago: a shy, quiet 1st grader experiencing reading difficulties. Today she is proud to tell you that she reads at a 5th grade level and she loves the program. “By the Hand is a very fun club: you get to have fun and you get to do your work,” she says, adding that her favorite teacher is Miss Sherrie. “I like her because she’s fun and she’s serious at the same time.”

Daze is grateful how We Raise’s support goes beyond grant money. “I appreciate how We Raise values us as a partner and how we can be very honest about our challenges and the resources we need to grow,” she says. “One of the wonderful things about We Raise and the kingdom of God is that people from all backgrounds can be a part of the valuable work that is being done in urban communities.”

“Despite its challenges and complexities, the West Side is a beautiful place, with beautiful people, and where God is doing beautiful work. When you read some of the hard things in the news, realize there is both hard and good,” Daze says.

With your financial support, organizations like BTH-ME can help children from underserved neighborhoods succeed – academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Thank you.

We work hand in hand with Christian nonprofits to end poverty, violence and inequality in our communities. Take action today and raise up those in need.