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The Mechanics
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Social Issues Tue Nov 24 2009

Help Homeless Teens...Virtually

Chicago's homeless problem isn't going away anytime soon, and in recent months there have been some heartbreaking stories about an increasing number of homeless teens searching for a support network. While the problem isn't easily solvable, here's one really easy way you can help out in the next few weeks: Vote for Teen Living Programs, a nonprofit in Bronzeville that helps homeless teens with housing, job training, educational support, mental health counseling and health care.

Organizers with the program are asking for "virtual volunteers" to vote for Teen Living Programs on Facebook as part of the Chase Community Giving event - an online event to help Chase Bank identify recipients for $5 million in charitable donations. Virtual volunteers can help by becoming a fan of Chase Community Giving and then voting for Teen Living Programs to receive a donation. The nonprofits with the most votes win and move on to the next round.

According to Nia Tavoularis, director of development and communications for Teen Living Programs, Chase is donating $25,000 to 100 organizations in the first round of giving, and then $100,000 to five organizations plus $1 million to two organizations in the second round. Voting in the first round ends on December 11.

Tavoularis tells Mechanics that on top of seeing more homeless teens hit hard by the recession, Teen Living also has seen a drop in charitable giving from corporations as a result of the economy. This has affected the number of staff members the program can hire and all current staff members have received pay cuts. She says $25,000 would help get the program back to the "right direction of regular funding before the recession hit." The program serves 500 homeless youth every year, she adds.

But the group is really aiming for the $1 million award. "That would add a tremendous amount of stability to get us through the rest of the recession," Tavoularis says.

You can also help by becoming a fan of Teen Living on Facebook, following the group on Twitter and checking out its YouTube channel.

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Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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