Voice is Hiring!

Job Announcement

Updated: September 2021

Senior Support Coach
Resident Opportunity Services (ROS) Program

Starting Pay: $38-42,500with benefits, depending on skills and experience

Position Summary

Under supervision of the ROS program manager, the Senior Support Coach will conduct outreach, provide supportive counseling, enable community building activities, and perform various duties in support of older residents residing in Voice-sponsored affordable housing developments in the Uptown Community.  S/he will take a lead role in linking low-income, senior residents and their families to services and opportunities that address social, health, economic, cultural, and recreational needs and interests. The position is full time, with a schedule that is flexible to meet residents’ needs.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Senior Support Coach will

  • Assess needs and interests of senior residents, including home environment, physical and mental health status, and resources, via voluntary participation and with referrals from property management;
  • Provide incident response services, ongoing case management services and coordination; database management  and reporting consistent with policies, security protocols, and confidentiality procedures; and regular communications with senior program participants by phone, virtual meetings, home and office visits, email and other correspondence;.
  • In program support and service coordination, the Senior Support Coach may conduct outreach and act as liaison to agencies, institutions, medical providers, property management, and organize social or “community building” events, such as intergenerational activities, field trips, gardening projects, health/fitness classes, and financial support workshops; and, 
  • As part of on-going data collection efforts, the Senior Support Coach will help with an organization-wide effort to collect baseline information from each household in Voice owned and partner buildings. 

VIEW FULL JOB ANNOUNCEMENT HERE.

Voice Announces Diversity Land Trust

Voice of the People in Uptown announces the formation of an Exploratory Committee for the possible establishment of a community land trust — one that would lock in lasting affordability for housing providers. A blue-ribbon panel of affordable housing developers, consultants, lenders and university researchers will advise Voice’s community board with recommendations for the proposed “Diversity Land Trust”. If successful, it might not only benefit Voice and the Uptown community, but be more broadly used in Chicago to support sustainable economic and racial diversity. READ MORE

Voice of the People in Uptown Awarded $50,000 to Launch Senior Services

Uptown, Chicago  – The RRF Foundation for Aging has awarded community-based nonprofit Voice of the People in Uptown a $50,000 grant in support of the organization’s new Resident Opportunity Services Program that serves the 14 Voice owned and affiliated buildings. 

The funding is part of the RRF Foundation for Aging’s priority to support organizations that make housing more affordable and provide coordinated services that enable older people to live safely in community settings and improve the quality of life for older people. 

Voice has been providing and advocating for affordable housing in the Uptown and Greater Chicago community for over 50 years. As part of the organization’s strategic plan for the next 50 years, in FY2019 Voice launched its new program Resident Opportunity Services. The program provides and connects Voice’s 214 households with social, cultural, recreational, and economic opportunities to improve residents’ housing stability and overall quality of life. 

The grant will increase the program’s capacity allowing for staff to provide senior specific services to the over 40% of Voice households that include at least one household member who is a senior, has a reported disability or health risk. This is one of ten resident identified priority areas for the expansion of Resident Opportunity Services, the need for which became vital after the tragic passing of a long-time Voice resident in the Fall of 2019.

Read Full Announcement Here.

COVID or the FLU?

As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, the colder weather will soon arrive along with the flu season.  It will be important to be able to distinguish between these illnesses to help keep you and your family healthy.  Here are some frequently asked questions:

What is the difference between Influenza (flu) and COVID-19?

Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.  The key differences between flu and COVID-19 are that COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than the flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Here is a detailed list of the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19:  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm

Will there be flu along with COVID-19 in the fall and winter?

While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

Can I have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

Yes. It is possible to have the flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.

Is COVID-19 more dangerous than the flu?

Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, at this time, it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data. This may change as we learn more about the number of people who are infected who have mild illnesses.

To review more frequently asked questions about this upcoming flu season, here is a link to help you learn more:
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm#anchor_1591372261934

Voice Early Voting Guide

With only 10 days until the 2020 Presidential Election, voting and voting early, has become increasingly important. Voting this year looks very different than in past elections, please find resources and information below about voting from now until November 3rd. 

Online Voter Registration has passed and I wasn’t able to register…can I still vote??

Yes! You have two options, you can either register to vote during Grace Period Registration, which is currently running until Election day, or on Election Day (November 3rd) at the polls. The Grace Period Registration takes place in person at the Clerk’s Office at 69 W WASHINGTON ST CHICAGO, IL 60602. You must bring two pieces of identification to register, one with a current address, and immediately cast your ballot after registering to vote- so research before and wear a mask! 

Dates, times, and more information on Grace Period Registration can be found here

If you would like to register on Election Day at the polls, you can only do so at your home precinct. You must bring two forms of identification, one containing your current address. You can find your voting location using this tool

Do I still have time to Mail-in my Ballot?
Will my vote be counted? 

Absolutely, but you also have other options! In Illinois, your mail-in ballot must be postmarked by Election Day (November 3rd) and be received 14 days after the election (November 17th). Information on how and where to send your ballot is included in the materials you should have received in the mail. Unfortunately, Illinois does not offer tracking of your ballot, so here are some other options for the ballot you received in the mail: 

  1. Fill out your ballot at home, wear a mask, and locate your nearest Secured Dropbox location, at every early voting site, to drop off safely in person until 7 pm on Election Day
  2. Wear a mask and bring your mail-in ballot with you to an in-person polling location, surrender to the election judge and vote in-person using the new ballot provided

Where and When can I vote early? 

Early voting is currently taking place in all 50 wards during these times, ward locations found here

  • Monday-Friday 8:30am – 7:00pm
  • Saturday-Sunday 9:00am – 5:00pm



Election Day
November 3rd 6am – 7pm

For a comprehensive list of voting information, including polling locations, deadlines, and locating a drop box for your mail-in ballot, in Illinois please visit this link.

Back to School Season…

The Back to School season can be both an exciting and stressful time for parenting adults and students alike. While this year is sure to be no different in this regards, it certainly brings a new set of challenges and concerns as CPS kicks-off remotely. This time around schools are more prepared and have a set plan. While the expectations of school staff have increased, so have the expectations for students and their families.

Hopefully, you have also had the chance to prepare and set up a plan of your own. However, as the school year starts you may find that the reality of virtual learning is different than anticipated and your plan may change and evolve to best fit your family’s needs.


Here are some tips and resources we’ve put together to help you set your student up for success.


Set (and keep) a schedule

This may seem like a given, especially with the set schedules that CPS has implemented. However, you may find it more challenging as time goes on to keep said schedule. As mentioned, the schedule you first set, probably will need some modifications as you and your student(s) adjust. You should allow some flexibility in order to accommodate needed changes, but once you’ve got something that works, stick to it.

Insure that the schedule is clearly communicated by writing it down in a central location as to hold everyone accountable. Utilizing a timer to avoid losing track of time can help keep everyone on track. Be sure to incorporate breaks that include movement, whether it be a change of scenery, some light stretching, yoga, meditation, coloring or other craft projects. The sky is the limit! The important part is that it breaks up the day and is meaningful to the child. This will allow for better concentration throughout the day, encouragement to keep on schedule, and flex time if an activity or task takes longer than anticipated.


Create a daily plan.

This differs from a set schedule as it involves identifying to-do items for that day. It results in a specific plan for that specific day. Some people find utilizing a paper or digital planner/calendar to be helpful. While others prefer different list making strategies.


Make sure students have the right materials.

Whether its pencil and paper, a stable WiFi connection, log-in information for all accounts, a PDF reader, or note-taking apps or reading strategies– whatever they need to get the work done.

If your student is in need of a laptop or other device for remote learning, please contact your school principal as soon as possible. The District is making devices available to every student. Additionally, you can find out if your household is eligible for free high speed internet access through the Chicago Connected program by clicking here or reaching out to your school principal.


Make sure all work is completed.

The idea behind tips 1 – 3 is to help best prepare students for success by keeping them on track with what’s expected of them. However, sometimes things slip through the cracks or remains incomplete for other reasons. Hold students accountable by making sure there is a good reason something may be incomplete. And help them setup a plan that is time-bound and includes action steps to ensure it gets completed (e.g., email the teacher asking for clarifications on step 3 of the activity so that you can turn it in tomorrow by noon).


Remember virtual learning is new, expect there to be a learning curve.


Provide an environment conducive to learning.

This varies based on the student’s needs and household limitations. For example, smaller apartments with everyone at home can present a real challenge to keeping on task. If possible, be sure to setup individual work stations for each child, even if it’s within the same room having a dedicate place will help keep everyone in their routine.

If there is a lot of outside noise or if it is too quiet, utilizing background noise may be helpful. This could be playing music or ambient noise tracks. However, if this is too distracting and outside noise cannot be quieted, try investing in some noise canceling headphones or ear plugs.

If other outside distractions are disrupting school work, get creative. For example, if social media sites are the culprit, try out an app that temporarily blocks these sites. These help prevent mindless scrolling or check-ins to help stay focused and be more productive. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that you could benefit from one as well.


Learn to identify barriers.

This is something teachers have to learn early on in their careers–how to pinpoint exactly what’s happening or going wrong (not unlike a mechanic or doctor). Diagnostic teaching is one approach that can help here, the big idea is to identify precisely why your student might be struggling: Is it focus? Motivation? Too much or too little structure?


Help them check messages and communicate with school.

Check for messages daily from schools, teachers, and other students. Make sure to reply to any messages that require one. And, do not hesitate to reach out to school staff, they are there to help. Hence, our next tip…


Use school and district resources.

Check out the school’s website and Chicago Public School’s website as well. They have a plethora of resources for students and adults, such as CPS’s Remote Learning Guide. Additionally, if you are unfamiliar with it, the Office of Family and Community Engagement in Education has a Parent University that includes workshops for parents to navigate virtual learning.

GENERAL SUPPORT
CPS Command Center
Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 5:00pm
773-553-KIDS (5437)
familyservices@cps.edu

TECHNICAL SUPPORT
CPS Parent Tech Support Hotline
Monday – Friday
7:30am – 4:30pm
773-417-1060
Website

On a side note, if you are interested in providing support to your student’s school, we encourage you to reach out the “Friends of” organization or attend a Local School Council meeting to learn of ways you can get more involved.


Don’t teach – help them understand.

While you are not expected to be the teacher, it is your role to help your student understand the content that is being taught. This is now especially more important than ever.

Along with identifying barriers as discussed in Tip 6. If your student is struggling with understanding a topic or problem, exactly what do they not understand? When students say, ‘I don’t get it,’ the first step is to identify exactly what ‘it’ is–and this isn’t always easy. Most students don’t know what they don’t know. That’s why you (and an internet full of resources) are there to help. Once you get to the bottom of what ‘it’ is, if you are unsure of how to help be sure to reach out to the teacher that way they can assist as well.


Keep in mind that its’s about the child, not the work.

This can be difficult to keep in mind when there is so much pressure (on everyone) to complete the work. And further, this is obviously a parenting philosophy, which may not relate to your family.

But if you believe that assignments should serve the child rather than the child serve the assignments–or that this is at least partly true–then don’t over-emphasize ‘getting everything done’ over the well-being (not to mention creative genius and curiosity and intrinsic motivation) of your child.

Everyone has a different set of learning strategies and styles, strengths and needs. You may find some of these tips more useful, while others not so much. And, that’s okay. The point is to do what’s best for you and your family knowing that it might take a bit of trial and error. After all, to some extent, we are all learning as we go.



Do you have some of your own tips to add or resources to share? Please do so in the comments below. We would love to learn what’s working for our families. Additionally, if you need additional support feel free to reach out to Voice’s Resident Services staff at 773-769-2442.