The Crusader Newspaper Group

Learn about Free and Affordable Summer Programs under one roof

Free to all, a spring festival of doing and making will attract hundreds of families to Jones College Prep (700 South State Street) on Saturday, April 23, between Noon and 4 p.m. to sample and sign up for free and affordable summer programs offered citywide.

Poised to kick off its 4th summer CCOL makes it easy for youth and the adults who care about them to find out-of-school learning opportunities. By attending events like this one, dubbed UpwithChi Spring it Out by the CCOL Youth Council, youth get a snapshot of the rich and diverse programs available to them.

Partygoers earn digital badges that reflect what they’ve learned and are entered into raffles held on site to win prizes like White Sox tickets and iPad Minis.

With the support of 30 participating organizations, Chicago City of Learning (CCOL) has created a Teen Lounge and Open Mic experience especially for 13-19 year olds, as well as a Maker Party for all ages full of hands-on activities, including everything from robotics, coding, art and nature to aeronautics, forensics, architecture and multi-media.

At 12:30 p.m. a special experience for girls will be kicked off with words from J’Tia Hart, a nuclear engineer for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence in Washington, D.C., who is also a former Survivor contestant – and will then lead into a workshop hosted by Digital Youth Network’s Digital Youth Divas, an exclusive program for middle school girls that links STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to interests like fashion, art, music and dance.

Event participant

Explore the hidden code behind live websites with Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy.

Deliver astronauts safely home from space in a hand-made descent-copter with NASA Glenn Research Center.

Design and start planting a butterfly garden with Chicago Academy of Sciences and The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Make toys and beds for cats and dogs with The Anti-Cruelty Society.

Program video games and robots with Center for College Access and Success at NEIU.

Construct a new skyline with Erector Sets from Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Build a balloon-powered car with Scientists for Tomorrow at Columbia College Chicago.

Design a Martian and take it on a digital space walk with Adler Planetarium.

Dive into multimedia creations using poetry, visual art and more with Borderbend Arts Collective.

Experiment with fingerprinting and environmental science with Project Exploration.

Create origami and improve awareness of self and others with The Yellow Canoe and Wishcraft Workshop.

Learn how to make popular snacks the healthy way with Tasteful Manners.

Get up close and personal with robots, computer scientists and programmers from Argonne National Laboratory

Design jewelry with YOUmedia, get stylin’ with (PRO)jectUS, build apps with Project Tech Teens, and much more, in the Teen Lounge, designed by CCOL’s Youth Council.

The list goes on with the offerings of other participating CCOL partner organizations, including: CodeCreate Technology Education, LevelUP, IMPACT Family Center, Microsoft, Mikva Challenge, National Veterans Art Museum, Play-Well TEKnologies, Scenarios USA, SkyART, Stamps for Kids, and True Star Foundation.

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