Rising Up Together Erie Neighborhood House Annual Report 2017


A home with no borders, impacting lives to create powerful communities


To empower our community—Latinx immigrants alongside individuals and families of all backgrounds—through education, access to critical services and advocacy, working together to create a just and inclusive society.

Dear Friends,

For Chicago’s Latinx immigrant community and folks from every background who pass through our doors, Erie House is a warm, welcoming space they can call home.

A home without borders. A home without limits. A home without fear.

We’re proud of the home we’ve built. And we’re proud of the transformative work happening, both here at Erie House and in our communities.

In 2017 our staff and volunteers reached nearly 10,000 people with programs and services that educate and empower. Kids, adults and families across the city received support to reach their potential and achieve financial, physical and socio-emotional well-being.

This sort of community-building is a collaborative effort, and we want to thank you for helping us make it happen. As you journey through the pages that follow and learn more about our work and how our vision of a home with no borders is coming into focus, you’ll see the incredible heights we reached in 2017. We look forward to rising up together with you—both this year and in the years to come.

In Solidarity,

Kirstin Chernawsky, Executive Director

Patricia Perez, President, Board of Directors

The vision for our annual report, Rising Up Together, is inspired by the monarch butterfly. Many in the immigrant rights movement have embraced the monarch as a symbol, celebrating its freedom to move without regard for borders.

Like the monarch butterfly, human beings cross borders in search of safer habitats. Like the monarch butterfly, human beings cross borders in order to survive. The butterfly is ultimately about our right to move.

-Latinx artist Favianna Rodriguez


  • Early Childhood Education - Building kindergarten readiness through NAEYC-accredited care and instruction
  • School-Age - Fostering social, emotional, and academic growth for children ages 5–12
  • Youth Options Unlimited (YOU) - Academic support, mentoring and leadership development for youth ages 12 - 18
  • Community Literacy and Tutoring - Hands-on tutoring and support for adult learners
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) - Empowering adults with language and literacy skills
  • Adult Basic Education (ABE) - A project-based curriculum to expand learning potential
  • Workforce Development - Training for careers in technology, healthcare and supply chain logistics
  • Health and Leadership - Workshops and education for stronger, healthier families and communities
  • Proyecto Cuídate - Violence prevention, counseling and family services through a restorative justice lens
  • Citizenship and Immigration - Classes, workshops and consultations to support the immigrant community
  • Buen HOGAR - Culturally responsive resources for residents seeking affordable housing

Erie House students partnered with professionals in the Illinois chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (I-NOMA) to renovate the YOU program space last fall. This STEM-intensive project provided our youth with mentors in the field of architecture as well as an active role in the entire process, from scope and design to putting the finishing touches on a beautiful space that feels like…well, like home.

A work in progress...

All Done!

Program Feature: THE READERS

The Little Village READS program delivers one-on-one tutoring and other activities after school and during summer months to support literacy growth for kids in grades 1–3. Teachers refer students to the intervention program because of low reading scores. By the time they complete the program, 90% of them will be reading at or above grade level—an achievement that will promote continued success in school for years to come.

Program Feature: THE NAVIGATORS

Through our Community Navigators initiative, Erie House staff and volunteers reached more than 6,200 individuals in 2017 amidst growing concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity. Attendees at hands-on workshops hosted across the city walked away with critical knowledge, Know Your Rights booklets and resources to help keep themselves and their families safe.

We are deeply grateful for the generous gifts from our friends and partners. Thanks to your collaboration, kids, adults and families across the city received support to reach their potential and move towards financial, physical and socio-emotional well-being.

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