WBEZ | kids http://www.wbez.org/tags/kids Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Dealing with first day jitters http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-26/morning-shift-dealing-first-day-jitters-108520 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Parent-child - Flickr-stephanski.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Monday marks the first day of school for CPS students, some of whom will be at new schools for the first time. We check in from various schools around the city. And, we discuss strategies for dealing with the anxiety of the first day of school.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-51" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Dealing with first day jitters" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-26/morning-shift-dealing-first-day-jitters-108520 Spacetoon Kids TV addresses challenges teens face from conflict in Iraq http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-02/spacetoon-kids-tv-addresses-challenges-teens-face-conflict-iraq-96058 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-02/iraq1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Fifty percent of Iraq’s population is under 19 years old. The younger generation is in a distinct position, having lived under the shadow of sanctions and wars for two full decades. Today, <em>Worldview </em>talks to a man who's focusing on helping to heal Iraq's youth.</p><p>Hussam Hadi is regional director of the Arabic cartoon channel <a href="http://www.spacetoon.com/spacetoon/home.html" target="_blank">Spacetoon Kids TV</a>. Operating in the Middle East and North Africa, the channel reaches 22 countries and 50 million viewers. Spacetoon Kids TV is unique in that it directly addresses the challenges facing children in Iraq, tackling subjects such as education, landmines, rights, healthcare and hygiene.</p><p>Hussam joins <em>Worldview</em> to share his story of empowering Iraqi teenagers.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Hussam is being honored tonight as the 2011 Patricia Blunt Koldyke Fellow on Social Entrepreneurship, a distinction awarded by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The <a href="http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/files/Event/FY_12_Events/02_February_2012/Iraqi_Youth_in_Action.aspx" target="_blank">event</a> will take place at The Chicago Club at 5:30PM.</em></p><p style="margin-left: 1in;">&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Watch this video of a reality show on Hussam's channel, producing for and by Iraqi youth:</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9076IjlpVs8" width="420" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-02/spacetoon-kids-tv-addresses-challenges-teens-face-conflict-iraq-96058 Slashed pay for thousands of needy After School Matters kids http://www.wbez.org/content/slashed-pay-thousands-needy-after-school-matters-kids <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-10/schools2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Artist Jeff Maldonado (right) interviews a Hancock High School student for his p" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-10/schools2.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 473px;" title="Artist Jeff Maldonado (right) interviews a Hancock High School student for his printmaking class. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)"></p><p>After School Matters is practically a household name in Chicago. It's the city's premier afterschool program, founded 20 years ago by former first lady Maggie Daley. It offers needy high school students apprenticeships—20,000 of them this year alone. The teens learn skills in the arts, academics, or sports— but they also get paid. They’re starting work this month under drastically slashed stipends.</p><p>Sixteen-year-old Destiny Velez is beaming. The teenager is standing next to her painting, which has a bold red “sold” sign near it.</p><p>VELEZ: I met the people who bought it—they loved it. I felt so happy and proud that someone would actually buy it.</p><p>Chicago’s civic and business elite are here at this After School Matters fundraiser. They sip wine and look at the teen art, produced under the direction of professional artists.</p><p><img alt="Destiny Velez learned to paint in After School Matters, and earned $870. Kids in" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-10/schools1.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 325px; height: 244px;" title="Destiny Velez learned to paint in After School Matters, and earned $870. Kids in most apprenticeships will now earn $100."></p><p>VELEZ: They taught me how to bring in color and make things pop, so I did orange, you know, it’s bright and catches your eye.</p><p>Apprentice chefs serve hors d’oeuvres. Apprentice musicians and dancers perform.</p><p>Senior Mina Landon moves across the stage in synchronized dips and dives with other kids she calls her “coworkers.” Mina earned $870 dancing this summer with After School Matters.&nbsp; She says she learned much more than hip-hop.</p><p>LANDON: You get paid a decent amount of money. It’s very satisfying, but also you have to come, sign in, check in, check out, take it like a job. Like don’t come late or you dock your pay. If you really want to get a job, this can also start you off.</p><p>It’s an intentional mix of work experience and talent development. Kids fix computers, write songs. After School Matters is the biggest program of its kind in the country; it’s been replicated in Boston and New York, just to name two cities.</p><p>But beginning this month, the group is tinkering big time with its model. Chicago teens are getting a 75 percent pay cut. Students who last spring made almost $400 will now make $100. That’s for 10 weeks. After School Matters cites the “challenging economic climate.”</p><p>MALDONADO (talking to a student): …It’s changed. The money part—the monetary part has changed. I need you to understand that.</p><p>After School Matters instructors like artist Jeff Maldonado have had to break the news to teenagers this fall. In the Hancock High School library, it’s the first thing Maldonado tells kids as he interviews them for his printmaking class.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-10/schools3.jpg" style="margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 325px; height: 244px;" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)"></p><p>MALDONADO: So it’s really not about the money. It’s like, if you’re interested in becoming a better artist, that’s what we’re looking for.</p><p>In the roughed up Englewood neighborhood, Cynthia Rashid has been conducting interviews too, at Beloved Community Family Services. She teaches kids graphic design and journalism on the second floor of a church building.</p><p>RAHSID: Even in the interview the other day we talked about the stipend—the look on their faces was just--psssshhhhh.</p><p>Rashid hasn’t had to recruit a single kid in the last four years. They come to her—usually many more than she can take. Now, parents say the $100 stipend won’t even cover the cost of getting to the church.</p><p>RAHSID: Normally we have teens who call back and say, ‘I want this job.’ Now, we’re calling them three and four times.</p><p>And Rashid is concerned about holding on to the kids she does accept without the carrot of a big paycheck.</p><p>Northwestern University professor Bart Hirsch just finished an evaluation of After School Matters. He says nationally, participation in after school programs by high school students tends to be weak; most programs are targeted toward younger children. In Chicago, kids clamor for a spot within the program.&nbsp;</p><p>When Hirsch began his study in 2009, students earned the equivalent of $5 an hour. Now, they’re getting $1.10. That could come back to bite the city. Hirsch found kids in After School Matters were less likely to be involved in “problem behaviors” than kids in other after school programs.</p><p>HIRSCH: The fact that they were paid some money might make them less likely to have to engage in those types of activities such as selling drugs or being involved in a gang because they got the money from After School Matters.</p><p>At Beloved Community, director Delphine Rankin says students often spend their stipends on basic needs.</p><p><img a="" after="" alt="" as="" class="caption" job.="" matters="" s="" school="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-10/schools5.jpg" still="" students="" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 325px; height: 216px;" title="Mina Landon and her &quot;coworkers.&quot; It's unclear whether students will still view After School Matters as a job. (Photo courtesy of After School Matters)" unclear="" view="" whether="" will="">RANKIN: I’ve seen, the day or two days after we issue the stipends to our participants, you actually see some of the kids come in with the right attire for the season. Until you’ve been in this community and you see what some of the families are facing, you don’t realize the significance.</p><p>Overall, After School Matters stipends sent nearly $7 million to Chicago families last year. That amount is being cut by 40 percent. That’s gotten almost no public attention.</p><p>After School Matters board member Avis LaVelle says the board wrestled with its decision to cut stipends. Both Chicago Public Schools and the state of Illinois reduced funding to the nonprofit this year.</p><p>LAVELLE: We feel like there are a number of young people who will still come and participate in the program. They would have come for free, because they enjoy it that much.&nbsp; We wanted to be able to provide as many opportunities as possible and be very realistic about our financial capability.</p><p>But overall, WBEZ has found After School Matters’ budget is up over last year’s. The current $25.5 million dollar budget is average for the last seven years.</p><p>While the overall budget pie is the same, the slice of that pie going to teen stipends is a lot thinner.</p><p>LaVelle says the nonprofit is closing down certain “drop-in” and “club” programs it ran in past years and is moving participants into more costly apprenticeships. LaVelle says the board decided to cut stipends instead of reducing the number of students it serves. A spokeswoman from After School Matters’ PR firm said in late September that recruitment levels were similar to last year’s. After School Matters says youth have told them in surveys that money is not the most important part of this for teens.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-10/schools4.jpg" style="border-width: initial; border-color: initial; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 325px; height: 312px; " title="Nationwide, participation in afterschool programs for high school youth is weak. Not in Chicago - a model for other cities. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)"></p><p>Back in the Hancock High School library, many kids say they’re happy to be paid any money to do something they love.</p><p>But some say they’ll now feel pressure to find an outside job on top of this.&nbsp; And that’s not easy with a teen unemployment rate over 27 percent. It’s 47 percent among black teens.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Seventeen-year-old Jovani Garcia got used to helping his family after working in After School Matters this summer—</p><p>JOVANI: It was like around $900, so I gave them $500, and I kept the rest.</p><p>LUTTON: Do you know what they spent the money on?</p><p>JOVANI: I think on the house, mortgage thing. Yeah.</p><p>Alums from Hancock’s After School Matters programs have gotten college scholarships.</p><p>Whether kids can see those longer term payoffs—and whether they can live without a paycheck now— will help define the future of Chicago’s premier afterschool program.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified After School Matters as the recent recipient of a $1 million dollar Bank of America grant. That grant did not go to After School Matters.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table" width="630"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Fiscal Year</th><th>Operating budget (in millions)</th><th>Amount spent on stipends to teens (in millions)</th><th>% of budget going to teen stipends</th><th>Amount spent on administration</th><th>Amount spent on fundraising</th><th>% of budget going to administration and fundraising</th></tr><tr><td>2005</td><td>19.0</td><td>*</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>875,880</td><td>395,282</td><td>6.69</td></tr><tr><td>2006</td><td>23.4</td><td>*</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>1,180,857</td><td>715,669</td><td>8.10</td></tr><tr><td>2007</td><td>25.8</td><td>*</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>1,817,569</td><td>453,838</td><td>8.81</td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>27.5</td><td>*</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>3,463,672</td><td>455,614</td><td>14.28</td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>31.8</td><td>5.36</td><td>16.9%</td><td>3,164,123</td><td>1,305,403</td><td>14.06</td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>27.5</td><td>6.96</td><td>25.3%</td><td>2,665,527</td><td>1,236,330</td><td>14.18</td></tr><tr><td>2011</td><td>24.6</td><td>6.8</td><td>27.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>25.5</td><td>3.9</td><td>15.3%</td><td>*</td><td>*</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p><em>Source: After School Matters<br> 2011 figures are unaudited. 2012 figures are budgeted amounts.&nbsp;<br> *WBEZ requested these figures; ASM has not provided them.&nbsp;<br> WBEZ asked to see ASM's<span>&nbsp;</span>full FY12 budget; the nonprofit declined that request.<span>&nbsp;</span><br> ASM's fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30. &nbsp;</em></p></p> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 06:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/slashed-pay-thousands-needy-after-school-matters-kids Junk food fight: Should ads stop targeting teens? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-21/junk-food-fight-should-ads-stop-targeting-teens-88170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-22/doritos.gif" alt="" /><p><p>The government says junk food marketers shouldn't advertise to kids. Not just on TV, but also online, in schools and in stores.</p><p>The guidelines being proposed are voluntary; food companies can opt out. Still, with four powerful agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, throwing their weight behind the proposal, the food industry is taking the measure seriously.</p><p>One of the most contentious issues is whether the marketing limits should be applied to older kids, aged 12 to 17 — like 13-year-old Reed Weisenberger.</p><p>"I always want pizza whenever I see a pizza commercial," he says during a recent visit to Washington, D.C.'s Union Station with his mom Cindy and a group of his friends.</p><p>Cindy Weisenberger dodges such requests regularly. Earlier, it was for giant caffeinated energy drinks.</p><p>"These guys on the way here wanted to buy Monster drinks," she says. "And I said, 'I'm not taking any kids that are drinking Monster drinks.'"</p><p>To those who want to limit kids' exposure to billions of dollars worth of food ads, the stakes are much higher than one parent's ongoing battle. About a third of U.S. adolescents are obese, and many blame successful marketing campaigns for contributing to the problem.</p><p>The agencies drafting the guidelines call themselves the Interagency Working Group. In addition to the FTC and FDA, the group includes the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control.</p><p><strong>'Horrifying' Tactics</strong></p><p>This group broke from the past by seeking to include 12- to 17-year-olds in its guidelines. Traditionally, limits on marketing focused on the very young. But the government sought to expand them to older children, in part because they are heavy consumers of social media, cell phone messages and online games — the new frontier for ads.</p><p>"What we're talking about are very complicated and very subtle forms of marketing that aren't always clear as such," says Kathryn Montgomery, a professor of communications at American University and an advocate for limiting food ads to teens.</p><p>As an example, she cites <a href="http://www.myawardshows.com/2010/OneShowEntertainment/asylum626/">an online ad</a> sponsored by Doritos that mimics a horror movie, and which draws in users' friends using Facebook or Twitter.</p><p>Montgomery says such ads work subliminally and use friends to influence other friends.</p><p>But efforts to restrict ads to teens draw lots of opposition from the food and advertising industries. The industries say the overlap between teen and adult audiences makes the proposed restrictions impractical.</p><p><strong>Is It Feasible?</strong></p><p>Elaine Kolish directs an industry-funded program called the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. For the past five years this initiative sponsored its own voluntary standards that focus only on the 12-and-under set.</p><p>"You know, we let kids drive and we let them hold jobs when they're 16. They can get married in some states, and they can join the military with permission, and they can be held criminally responsible for their actions in a number of situations," she says. "So I think that the notion that you'd have to have nutrition standards that say you can't let a kid see an ad for a french fry but you can let them join the military doesn't really make a lot of sense."</p><p>Advocates say whether the guidelines will include limits on teen marketing depends largely on how hard the government is willing to fight the industry.</p><p>Mary Engle, a director of advertising practices at the FTC, seems to suggest the government doesn't think it can win that fight.</p><p>"I think the application of the principles to teenagers was definitely a point of contention," she says. "And the working group has already signaled that by asking questions about limiting it to children under age 12, that we recognize that it may not be really feasible."</p><p>The deadline for public comments to the working group is July 14. The final guidelines are expected by the end of the year. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</p> Tue, 21 Jun 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-21/junk-food-fight-should-ads-stop-targeting-teens-88170 Program gets kids in the kitchen for some healthy eating http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable/program-gets-kids-kitchen-some-healthy-eating <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Cooking.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->The last bell signals the end of the school day, but for some Chicago elementary students, the day starts again&hellip;but this time in the kitchen.<span style=""> </span>A non-profit has been teaching low-income kids how to cook healthy, affordable meals.<span style=""> </span>The aim is to prevent childhood obesity and develop life long eating habits.<span style=""> WBEZ Pritzker Journalism Fellow</span> Icoi Johnson reports that the program is shifting gears.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">MATTHEW/CHILD:<span style="">&nbsp; </span>You guys an easy way to get the skin off, it take it underneath your palm and just push down on the garlic, kind of smash it. <br /><br />The official school day is over at John W. Cook School on Chicago&rsquo;s Southside. But a group of students are staying behind to learn how to cook.<br /><br />Jazee Burton explains what&rsquo;s on the menu.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">BURTON:<span style=""> </span>We&rsquo;re making mango crisp crumble and then we&rsquo;re making chicken tenders.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The students learn everything, from measuring ingredients, to using a knife&hellip;safely.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Jontae Townsend demonstrates a technique called a Bear Claw.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">TOWNSEND:<span style=""> </span>We put our fingers and our thumbs tucked in so the knife can just hit our knuckles.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Burton and Townsend are involved in a program put on by Common Threads, a Chicago non-profit group.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Common Threads uses professional chefs to teach students how to cook.<span style=""> </span>One of those is former sous-chef Matthew Peterson. Peterson says the Common Threads programs gets kids excited about cooking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">That&rsquo;s important, since a lot of the kids in these schools are familiar with fast food or stuff that can be microwaved.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">PETERSON:<span style=""> </span>I want to give other kids a passion for cooking and bring back those skills that a lot of people in my generation and generations younger than me have lost.<span style=""> </span>I don&rsquo;t know, I just really want to show them that there is a better way to eat that they can take pride in something like cooking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Common Threads teaching program has been around for a while. It was founded in 2003 by Art Smith.<span style=""> </span>You might remember him as a former chef to talk show host Oprah Winfrey.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The program&rsquo;s gotten a lot of attention over the years for doing good.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>There are now hundreds of kids who can use a knife properly and know the ins and outs of baking, frying, and broiling.<br /><br />But there are tough questions about whether teaching kids to cook well is enough.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Mary Russell Directs Nutrition Services at the University of Chicago Medical Center.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">RUSSELL:<span style=""> </span>To help reduce obesity I think we need to hit it from a lot of different prongs.<span style=""> </span>This is a good one, but it&rsquo;s not going to solve the problem, because it&rsquo;s only when they&rsquo;re in school.<span style=""> </span>If they don&rsquo;t get it reinforced, it would be unlikely to have a lasting impact unless there was the availability of parental support and encouragement.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">It turns out Common Threads has been thinking about the same problem, so it is now getting parents more involved.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Jillayne Samatas is the Education and Outreach Manager at Common Threads.<span style=""> </span>She says they&rsquo;ve had parents observe their children cooking, but now they&rsquo;re thinking about getting parents in the kitchen, too.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">SAMATAS:<span style=""> </span>It will be a five week series, where we&rsquo;ll have a parent and child that has been in our cooking class before, come to a class for 2 hours for five weeks following a curriculum that will get to cook together but then also learn some basic nutrition information as well.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Samatas says Common Threads has learned a lot about teaching low-income children about cooking and food. But there&rsquo;s one lesson that&rsquo;s a bit depressing. Samatas says a lot of the parents in their program can&rsquo;t access the kinds of food their children learn to cook.<br /><br />Sometimes they have to travel miles outside their own neighborhood just to get to full-service grocery stores.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">SAMATAS:<span style=""> </span>As much as we realize there is an access problem, our organization isn&rsquo;t at a capacity right now to address that issue.<span style=""> </span>Our primary role is to teach and educate.<span style=""> </span>But it&rsquo;s something that we are definitely involved in and trying to understand ourselves how can we help with that issue and it&rsquo;s really difficult to figure out.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But Samatas says this access issue won&rsquo;t stop Common Threads from its teaching.<span style=""> </span>She figures the group can&rsquo;t solve ever food-related problem low-income kids will have&hellip;but someone needs to give them the confidence and know-how to run their own kitchens some day.</p></p> Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable/program-gets-kids-kitchen-some-healthy-eating Hitting a high note with the Chicago Children's Choir http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/hitting-high-note-chicago-childrens-choir <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/CCC.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The globetrotting <a href="http://www.ccchoir.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Children&rsquo;s Choir</a> is back home this weekend for a concert program that celebrates both the season and choir&rsquo;s mission. WBEZ&rsquo;s Jason Mark gleefully shared the story on &quot;Eight Forty-Eight.&quot;</p><p>In 1956, the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/MOORE.html">Reverend Christopher Moore</a> brought a diverse group of young people together at the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.firstuchicago.org/">Hyde Park First Unitarian Church</a>. Moore believed that kids could learn to understand each other; that through music they could build a better world.</p><p>Less than a year after Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Ala., Chicago was still one of the country's most segregated cities. Despite racial tensions, Moore&rsquo;s idea flourished and now the Chicago Children&rsquo;s Choir is the largest youth choral education program in the United States.</p><p>Now, Chicago native Josephine Lee is in charge of Moore's musical dream. Lee feels it's her responsibility to shape the future because she belives that creating a legacy for the organization is a worth while cause.</p><p><br />In 1999, Lee became the youngest person ever to serve as the choir&rsquo;s artistic director. She says the organization carried her through the death of her parents and birth of her children.</p><p>&quot;They are my family. I&rsquo;m an only child and for me, this is my life,&quot; Lee said. <br /><br />Seventeen-year-old Terry Henderson also appreciaties the choir and its original mission.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s actually humbled me as a person. I think I have a better appreciation for how connected the world actually is,&quot; Henderson said. &quot;The choir has shaped me, to be a better man in this society; allowed me to grow. I will continue to grow and take the things that I&rsquo;ve learned here out to my job, my own family, my life, and it&rsquo;s a great place to start,&quot; he told Marck.<br /><br />Lee says she upholds the choir&rsquo;s mission with a heavy dose of two key ingredients: Set high expectations and discipline.&nbsp; Her motto is: Expect the best.<br /><br />Choir member Jahan DuBose,16, took the idea to heart and found that the best motivation comes from within. DuBose started in the choir when she was seven and recognized that conductors naturally push youngsters when they might not know as much as more seasoned members.</p><p>&quot;But at a point, it doesn&rsquo;t matter whether you&rsquo;re older or not. You just reach a point where you say:'This is something I like to do, I&rsquo;m enthusiastic and I&rsquo;m going to use that enthusiasm to push myself,'&quot; DuBose observed.<br /><br />Lee concedes that sometimes the quest for perfection can be mentally, and even physically, draining. Sometimes she must learn to take a step back so that she doesn't obsess over every note, tone and cutoff.</p><p>But the obsession's payoff, she says, is huge.</p><p>&quot;If that chord locks then you can really transcend people&rsquo;s minds and souls,&quot; Lee explained.<br /><br />Caroline Kagen, 17, is inspired by her director's dedication. She told Marck that she and her fellow choir members look up to Lee, knowing that someday they could be in her shoes.&nbsp; And even though Lee drives the choir hard, Kagan says the director tailors both her praise and critiques to each voice in order to get the very best from each member.<br /><br />Lee began playing the piano and violin at five years old and had her grip on a conductor's wand by 15; music consumed her. More than any other language, she understands music.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I just feel sounds. It&rsquo;s just something that, I&rsquo;ve innately been born with; it&rsquo;s very visceral. You know, for instance, when we were rehearsing and we hit this powerful chord, <br />it just hits me in my gut!&nbsp; And yeah, I do see colors&hellip;I see&hellip;just&hellip;spirits,&quot; she told Marck.<br /><br />Lee is the mother of two small children, and surprisingly, motherhood feeds her pride for the choir. When she began, she didn't differentiate between children and adults. Suddenly, as a mother, she awoke to the choir's immense potential.</p><p>&quot;I can&rsquo;t even get my child to sing 'A-B-C-D' with me, without him shutting me up. You know it&rsquo;s 'Mommy no; don&rsquo;t sing!,' and here I&rsquo;m working with hundreds of children who are producing unbelievable sonorous air at the drop of a hat,&quot; Lee remarked.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>Lee's amazed at the choir's ability to blend children from diverse backgrounds. Its allows them to breathe and sing together, which Lee says, is magical.</p><p><br />Lee is sure to pull a rabbit from her hat when The Chicago Children&rsquo;s Choir performs its &quot;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.ccchoir.org/events/songs-of-the-season.html">Songs of the Season</a>&quot; concert Sunday afternoon at the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/">Harris Theater for Music and Dance</a> at 3:00 p.m.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> 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