As we witness the growing education divide for low-wage families, sometimes it’s hard to picture what kids thriving at home, at school, and at play could look like. Having access to necessary items for school like school supplies, warm clothes, and shoes is essential, but feeling ready for learning also relies on a child’s engagement of the heart and mind.
To celebrate this vision for Ready for Learning, we wanted to commission a local muralist to represent the thriving children we serve living in the Englewood community—a Chicago neighborhood where the median income is $21,275.
We wanted children to see themselves on a path toward a successful education reflected within the mural; to inspire excitement and confidence as they receive their backpacks from C2C before heading back to school this fall.
We worked with The Mural Movement and local artist Rae Denise, a mother from Westside Chicago. The Mural Movement launched after the murder of George Floyd, spreading messages of Black and Brown unity, and Denise’s work is enriched with culture and imagination. The mural was created at our partner site, I Grow Chicago, and is an image of our mission’s pillar to connect and engage communities.
I Grow Chicago is one of C2C’s 57 Service Partners throughout the city served through our Ready for Learning initiative. Together, we—I Grow Chicago, C2C, The Mural Movement, Rae Denise—used our resources as a reminder that it takes a village to raise a child, help them thrive, and advocate for quality education. Bringing us closer to our vision that “one day, all children will have the essentials they need to feel safe, warm, ready to learn and valued.”