Since 1987, Family Matters has worked to strengthen families and provide experiential learning programs tailored to support families in meeting their goals. Established in partnership with a group of families in Chicago’s North of Howard community, Family Matters’ efforts include after-school programming for children and teens, tutoring-mentoring, and an early literacy program at Gale Academy, the local elementary school.
At the core of Family Matters’ work are its “Principles of Leadership”—utilizing peaceful conflict resolution, embracing positive thinking and language, and illuminating the power of responsible decision-making. By integrating these principles into all of its programming, Family Matters strives to support youth and families in building respectful relationships, enhancing social-emotional learning, and developing their capacity for leadership and transformation.
According to Kim DeLong, Family Matters’ founding executive director, “We strive to cultivate a space in which the entire Family Matters family (youth, parents, volunteers, board members and staff) is free to dream, believe and grow. I have the privilege, almost daily, of experiencing evidence that all three are in the making. A child in Evening Tutoring runs through the door excited to share that his math grade has moved from a D to an A. New to Chicago, a freshman at a local college selects Family Matters as her service-learning organization after her aunt (who was also a volunteer at Family Matters during her college years in Chicago) shared her experiences at the organization 25 years prior. A young man in the Teen Boys Program, once reluctant to speak publicly, is the first to volunteer to represent the group as master of ceremonies for an upcoming event. Through countless stories such as these, I am reminded of how grateful I am to be a part of Family Matters’ journey.”
It is not unusual for Family Matters to work with youth and their families from the time youth are in pre-school to when they are preparing to attend college. Impressively, over the past five years, 100% of Family Matters’ graduating seniors have enrolled in college within a year of their high school graduations, and youth consistently pass to the next grade level.
One of the Foundation’s earliest grantees, Family Matters has received grants in the amount of $25,000 since 2011. The Foundation is pleased to support Family Matters and the comprehensive, welcoming, and individualized approach it utilizes with the youth and families it serves.