The 112 Education Foundation supports and enriches the educational opportunities for students in North Shore School District 112 through a variety of programming including a robotics program, Robot Revolutions, supported by HPCF funding. The robotics program runs annually and includes teams from all seven NSSD112 elementary schools and both middle schools. Unlike other robotics programs, Robot Revolution is offered free-of-charge and with no competitive selection process. This creates a unique opportunity and exposure to robotics for students in Highland Park and Highwood.
College Bound Opportunities (CBO), is a local nonprofit that mentors low-income, high-achieving students, so they can attend and graduate from college. College Bound Opportunities mentors economically disadvantaged students to unleash their potential, graduate college, pursue meaningful professions, and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Most CBO Scholars are first-generation college students and, without support, would likely forego college. Through CBO programs, including one-to-one mentoring between volunteers and scholars, tutoring, training services, laptop computers, and financial assistance during college, nearly 95% of CBO Scholars are graduating from college. The Foundation’s grant provides financial support to low-income students from Highland Park and Highwood to help with academic costs, textbooks, supplies, housing, and travel for college.
Since 1983, Family Focus Highland Park has offered high quality community-based programs to children and families in Highland Park and Highwood. Family Focus provides bilingual (English and Spanish) prevention-based support, including child development activities for expectant parents and families with children ages birth through three, afterschool programs for children in kindergarten through 5th grade (serving seven local schools), and a wide range of services including adult education, parenting classes, and support groups. HPCF’s funding supports the Early Childhood Dual Language Program at Family Focus, which evolved from a need to address language delays teachers at Family Focus observed in children at the Center. By providing activities that include socialization, literacy, music, free play, movement and more, Family Focus helps create a strong base for lifelong learning. Parents are also provided with opportunities to come together to socialize and support each other.
Focus on the Arts (Focus) is a three-day and three-night biennial fine arts festival that exposes thousands of students and our community to the visual, performing, and communication arts. All events take place at Highland Park High School, are open to the public, and are free of charge. The mission of Focus is to increase appreciation and understanding of the arts and of arts professionals. The Foundation’s funding supports and expands programming that immerses HPHS students and the adult community in a celebration of fine arts and experience the arts first hand. Due to COVID mitigations required for this sort of event, Focus 2022 has been postponed to 2023.
Since 1951, Highland Park Community Early Learning Center (HP Community), a nonprofit, early childhood education and child care program has been providing affordable, quality, licensed care, and education to hundreds of children ages two to ten, in partial and full-day programs. Sliding scales fees, scholarships, State funding, and local support make it possible for all members of our diverse community to benefit from HP Community’s services. These services include art and music classes, an on-site food program, social work services, and early screenings with appropriate interventions. The Foundation’s grant provides scholarships for children in low to moderate-income families who could not afford a full-fee tuition and live or work in the community.
With approximately 17 years of service to the Highland Park and Highwood community, the Estudiante to Student mentoring program remains dedicated to the mission of partnering Latino elementary students with high-achieving Latino high school students who serve as positive academic and social role models. Estudiante to Student historically runs two programs: Future Giants and Rising Stars. The Future Giants program pairs HPHS high school mentors with 8th graders, while the Rising Stars program has HPHS high school mentors working with 6th graders and 7th graders as they explore STEM-related material and courses available for students at HPHS. HPCF funds are used to support programmatic costs that are not covered by Districts 112 and 113.
Homework Club provides a safe, positive, healthy, and structured environment in which all HPHS students, regardless of income, can spend time after school, connect with supportive adults, and access high-quality tutoring in Math, Science, and English. 50-60 students generally attend Homework Club each week. The HPCF’s grant supports tutor stipends that are not covered by other grant funding.
The general goals of the Highland Park Historical Society are to identify, collect, preserve, arrange, describe, and share available records documenting the history and traditions of Highland Park and its people. The specific objectives are to provide a better understanding and appreciation of the community’s past and present, and to serve as a source for the dissemination of the history of the area, in general, and that of Highland Park for present and future generations. The Foundation’s funding is used 1) to support the curation of an educational exhibit related to nature and Highland Park’s history; and 2) to support an ongoing project through which residents are encouraged to document and share their pandemic experiences from onset to vaccination to reopening.
The Highland Park Public Library enriches our community by circulating ideas, information, and technology. Arts enrichment is part of this. HPCF’s grant is supporting a series of six to eight family-friendly music programs, featuring music from different genres. The aim of the series is to provide arts enrichment for the community while increasing the audience’s exposure to, and appreciation of, different types of music in an informal setting. Concerts at the Library began in 2016 at the request of the community for more robust music programming that was free and during quieter times of the musical calendar. The concerts attract a diverse audience of young families to seniors.
The Highwood Library addresses the needs of underserved community members through educational support and engaging programs, services, and resources. HPCF’s funding supports the operations of the Library’s Learning Partners Program, which helps students in need of academic and social guidance. This program is designed to help students feel they have a partner in their learning process and establishes a relationship of mutual support. The program engages District 113 Learning Partners to help District 112 student Learners navigate the education process in a school setting, through career exploration, and skill building.