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2010-2011 Community Heroes Oral History Project

Click Here To Read The Narratives.

2010-2011 Community Heroes Oral History Project

Sophomores in Kelvyn Park HS’s Social Justice Academy interviewed community members whose work is a form of activism or somehow gives back to the community.  Students turned their interviews into narratives and posted them along with photos of their interviewee on a blog. This project helps expose SJA students to a wide range of professions and avenues for working for Social Justice in the world. Interviewees had backgrounds in law, youth development and organizing, public health, ministry, fair-trade business, theatre, teaching, and finance.

The project has provided students with a much needed frame of reference on community leadership and social justice work and many students’ perspective on their own ability to be positive agents of change in their own world has changed.

The partnership between LSNA and the Social Justice Academy is supported in large part by the StateFarm Companies Foundation, LISC-Chicago, and the McDougal Family Foundation.


In its 6th year, the Social Justice Academy is a small learning community at Kelvyn Park High School, which integrates service learning projects and themes of social justice with academically rigorous curricula in all major content areas. Recent data points to the fact that SJA freshmen are performing well and engaging in the school community at higher rates than their non-SJA counterparts. 61% of Kelvyn Park freshmen were on track to graduate in 2007, while 83% of SJA freshmen were on track to graduate. In 2009-2010 the on-track rate for SJA freshmen rose to 94%, while the overall KP freshmen rate was at about 70%.

Through service learning SJA students have addressed community issues like affordable housing, reducing gang violence, and building more positive youth-police relationships. As we search for solutions to the urban high school dropout problem, the social justice service learning carried out by SJA is shaking up young people’s ideas about who they are, their responsibility for community, and what is possible for their future.

SJA’s partnership with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA)—a community organization with a long history of organizing residents around multiple issues in the neighborhoods surrounding the high school—is key because students develop an understanding of the organizing strategies and perseverance required for long-term community change.

CONTACT: Juliet de Jesus Alejandre, Education Organizer: Email: Telephone: 773.733.9358