By: Mary Ann Mahon Huels, CEO & President, Union League Boys & Girls Clubs

October 22, 2019

Mary Ann Mahon Huels, CEO & President of the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs

After weeks of negotiations, Chicago Public School teachers are heading into their fifth day of city-wide strikes. Teachers are taking to the streets to protest low pay and limited support staff in schools, among other issues. If you live in the city, it is almost impossible to go a few blocks without seeing a gathering of teachers, clad in red shirts, enthusiastically waving clever picket signs and encouraging citizens to support their cause.

Steam has picked up for a speedy end to the strike, which some are crediting to pressure from parents. A normal school day in Chicago typically begins at 8AM and ends at 3PM, leaving many parents struggling to find options for childcare, while they work. Although some schools have an open-gym option, there is some hesitance on the parents’ part to take advantage. We are stepping up to the challenge facing many Chicago residents.

At the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs, a Chicago-based non-for-profit organization, our doors are open. Our youth always have somewhere to go. Having them in our Clubs ensures that they are being productive and making the most of the situation, instead of being left alone. Club One, our recently renovated facility, will have several activities available for members. They will also provide a nutritious meal for the youth.

This is part of the vital services that after-school programming provides to our youth and it is essential that such organizations take action to offer safe spaces for our youth while the strike is in effect. We are here to ensure that the learning experience and development of our club members continues beyond the classroom, and this includes when schools cannot open. Our doors have been open since the start of the strike last week and will remain open. As we say, “when school’s out, Clubs are in!”