Category: Community Partners

Free Movie Night at UIC

Movie FlyerThe University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) invites the public to enjoy a free outdoor movie at 8 p.m. on June 23rd at University Hall, 601 S. Morgan Street, near the intersection of Harrison and Morgan, in Chicago.

“Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” will be featured on the University Hall lawn on a massive outdoor screen. Seating begins at 8 p.m. and the movie starts at dusk.

Free blankets to the first 200 people that arrive. Parking available in nearby lots.

The event is presented by the UIC Center for Student Involvement and the UIC Summer Session 2016.

For more information, click here


The Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium


The Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium at its annual event and fundraiser on May 12th. The agency helps internationally educated nurses obtain their licensure in the United States.

The Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium (CBNC) celebrated International Nurses’ Day with their annual event and fundraiser on May 12th.

CBNC  is a local nonprofit group that assists Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN’s) to complete the requirements for Registered Nurse licensure in the United States.

Five newly licensed nurses who benefited through CBNC were honored during the celebration.  They are: Valentina Figueroa -Chile, Mirjana Ivkov -Serbia, Tatyana Kovalevsky -Ukraine, Karen McShane -Chile and Mengyuan (Summer) Wang -China.  Congratulations to these exceptional RN’s who are delivering culturally sensitive care to patients throughout Chicago.

CBNC sends a special “thank you” to all of our benefactors for their generosity.  We also thank our area businesses that donated in many ways.   Especially a big round of applause to the CBNC Platinum Sponsor Dave Samber of Polo Café and Catering who made this an outstanding event. It was a wonderful evening and CBNC looks forward to next year!

Student Organizes Dental Screenings For Veterans

As part of her Schweitzer Fellows project, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry student Nisha Garg initiated a Veterans’ Screening Day at the College recently for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans were given a free initial screening and assessment.

Schweitzer Fellows spend a year working to address barriers that impact the health of underserved communities and develop lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom the Fellowship is named.

Garg’s Schweitzer Fellows goal is to provide oral hygiene information and oral health care to military veterans who are ineligible for dental health care in the Veterans Administration (VA) system.

“With the desire to work with the veteran population, Tom Angerame, a classmate, and I began holding oral health seminars at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center for the high percentage of veterans who are ineligible to receive dental care from the VA facility,” Garg said.

The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center is located on Damen Avenue near the UIC Campus.

“My seminars provide information on how to properly maintain oral hygiene, along with how oral health directly relates to the health of the entire body,” Garg said. “After spending months speaking to veterans about their frustrations with receiving dental care,” she added, “Tom and I reached out to Dean Clark Stanford and Dr. Susan Rowan [Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs] about hosting a Veterans’ Screening Day for those individuals.

Garg initially expected only about 25 or 30 participants. “However, days before the event, I started getting phone calls and emails from veterans all over the Chicagoland area and surrounding suburbs,” she said. A total of 73 veterans ended up participating. “That alone is very indicative of how high of a demand low-cost dental care is among the veteran population.”

During the event, 22 students and five faculty members provided screenings. The faculty were Dean Stanford; Dr. Blasé Brown, Clinical Assistant Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences; Dr. Kaori Ema, Clinical Instructor, Restorative; Dr. Kenneth Gehrke, Clinical Associate Professor, Restorative; and Dr. Charles Neach, Clinical Assistant Professor, Endodontics.

A few veterans who participated were referred elsewhere due to more complex medical or dental needs. Others were accepted as patients of the College and “will be assigned to a student dentist,” Garg said. “From that point forward, all dental care will be provided from our school.

“It was very exciting to witness these veterans finally getting the opportunity for actual dental care,” she concluded. “The students and faculty also expressed their enjoyment with working with such an appreciative and deserving population.”

One of the participants, Robert Hamilton, expressed his appreciation to the College in a letter. He wrote, “As a veteran I would like to thank all of you for showing such concern for our dental health. Everyone was so nice and helpful. I appreciate your effort.”

Comics for the Classroom In Gage Park

It’s no secret the arts are disappearing from standards-stressed urban classrooms. Victoria Alvarez, MAT Teaching of History student, says the arts have a role beyond just an art classroom—she wants arts integrated into core subjects like history.

Her after-school project, My Comics My Story, at Hernandez Middle School in Gage Park, serves as a space for students to engage with and create dialogue around social issues through comics. The project is an outgrowth of her own comics series, Scholar, which plays off the term “Chola,” a reference to a blue collar Latina identity.

“There are things kids are expected to learn at home, from their friends, but often times that doesn’t happen,” Alvarez said. “Comics are effective at engaging in dialogue about social issues, to ask, ‘Why does this happen?’”

One comic Alvarez uses depicts her character, ScholaR, watching a rather misogynistic telenovela favorited by ScholaR’s mother. Alvarez used the comic to start a discussion about the meaning of acting like a girl and acting like a boy. She says students often just need a slight prompt like a comic to start their minds racing; one question sets off an entire conversation.

Alvarez helps guide the discussions to address broader social issues. For example, as students explored gender identity, Alvarez pointed out that identity needs to be understood within the context of one’s entire life—their location in the Gage Park neighborhood, their race, their family composition and more.

Comics are an effective teaching device because they encourage creative thinking, Alvarez said. If a teacher puts a blank canvas in front of a student and provides just a bit of structure, students are encouraged to explore on their own.

“They look beyond what they have been instructed to do, beyond the idea that there is a ‘correct’ way to do anything and problem solve for themselves,” Alvarez said. “The arts are a great tool for questioning others, and I feel that’s something a lot of students aren’t being taught.”

Alvarez is working with a team in New York City focused on building comics-based curriculum specifically for newly-arrived immigrant high school students. She says she wants to host her own after-school programming in Chicago to specifically engage immigrant children and children of immigrant parents.

Read more of Alvarez’s comics at her website:

by Robert Schroeder

UIC College of Dentistry Helps “Give Kids a Smile”

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry held two Give Kids a Smile Days recently.

Fifty youngsters from Children of Peace School and 50 from St. Malachy School came to the College on Feb. 4 and received oral health education and screenings at the Department of Pediatric Dentistry’s Delta Dental of Illinois Predoctoral Pediatric Dentistry Clinic and its Dale C. Nickelsen and Caren C. Nickelsen Pediatric Dentistry Postgraduate Clinic.

Dr. Sahar Alrayyes, Clinical Associate Professor, Pediatric Dentistry, and Dr. Larry Salzmann, Clinical Professor and Predoctoral Program Clinic Director, were in charge of a team of predoctoral students who provided care. The day also featured face painting and a visit from Sparky D. Dragon, the UIC mascot.

“Some of the Children of Peace students were deaf or hard of hearing,” explained Khatijia Noorullah, Clinical Community Academic Manager. “This added breadth to our students’ experience as they worked with sign language experts with the youngsters.”

On Feb. 11, a team of predoctoral students led by Dr. Robert Rada, Clinical Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, and Dr. Alrayyes and Dr. Salzmann, visited the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Roosevelt at 1950 W. Roosevelt Road to provide oral health education, screenings, and cleanings for the institute’s client roster of children and young adults.

“Youngsters who needed additional oral healthcare were referred to the College,” Noorullah explained.

The Chicago Dental Society Foundation’s Grants Committee gave the College $5,000 provided by the Wrigley Co. Foundation through its Oral Care Community Service Grant Program for the ICRE-R event.

Wrigley works with the CDS Foundation and other dental professional organizations by providing funding for those organizations to give out grants for those interested in community service.

32nd Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival, April 8-21

Latino Film FestivalThe 32nd Chicago Latino Film Festival will take place April 8-21 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street.

A preview of the movies being showcased can be found here.

Movie show times and dates will be posted on the website.


The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is a pan-Latino, nonprofit, multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to developing, promoting and increasing awareness of Latino cultures among Latinos and other communities by presenting a wide variety of art forms and education including film, music, dance, visual arts, comedy and theater. The Center prides itself for its outstanding multidisciplinary local and international cultural programming which spans Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States.

Born out of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago also produces other programs, including the Latino Music Festival, which will celebrate its 11th anniversary in the fall; Film in the Parks, now in its 11th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 7th year; and many others.

All in all, the audience has grown from 500 people in 1985 for the first Chicago Latino Film Festival to close to 70,000 (Latinos and non-Latinos), who enjoy the year-round multidisciplinary cross-cultural exchanges offered by the Center.

DuSable Museum Granted Smithsonian Status

DuSable Museum

The Dusable Museum of African American History is located in Washington Park at 740 East 56th Place, in Chicago.

The DuSable Museum of African American History has been granted Smithsonian Affiliation status by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The distinction signals the beginning of a long-term collaborative partnership between the DuSable and the world’s largest museum and research complex.

The DuSable, established in 1961, is only the second arts, culture and education facility in Chicago to receive Smithsonian Affiliate status; the other is Adler Planetarium. The Smithsonian established Affiliations in 1996 to increase discovery and promote lifelong learners by bringing the Smithsonian Institution to local communities. There are more than 200 Smithsonian Affiliate organizations in more than 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. Now, with DuSable, there are six Affiliates in Illinois.

The partnership permits DuSable to borrow Smithsonian artifacts and access traveling exhibits. Similarly, the Smithsonian will gain access to rarely seen paintings, sculptures and more that comprise DuSable’s collections.

“With Affiliate status, the DuSable will bring the Smithsonian to the community and the DuSable to the world,” said DuSable President and CEO Perri Irmer. “The partnership will also expose the museum’s Masterworks Collection to a broader audience by giving the work and the artists international exposure.”

The DuSable debuted its new Masterworks Gallery in February. The museum increased its membership by 48 percent during a recent membership drive. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the DuSable may offer Smithsonian membership at a discount to its members. “Now members of the DuSable Museum will gain access to more than 200 institutions worldwide,” Irmer said.

Smithsonian Affiliate organizations work together to preserve heritage, expand knowledge and inspire learning. They vary from science centers, art museums, historical societies, universities, children’s museums, archives and libraries, and aquaria.

As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the DuSable may participate in the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference in Washington. Affiliates are also provided opportunities for more in-depth collaboration and influences over Smithsonian initiatives through programs funded by Smithsonian internal grant competitions.

About Smithsonian Affiliations

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums, educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. Affiliations share exhibits and collections, collaborate on important research projects, and develop innovative educational strategies at local and national levels.

More information about Smithsonian Affiliations is available at

For more information on the DuSable museum and its programs, call (773) 947-0600 or visit us at


Puerto Rican Music in Latin American and Chicago

The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) will host an interactive discussion and presentation highlighting the development of popular Puerto Rican music and its impact on Latin America and Chicago on March 24th at the PRAA Center, 3000 N. Elbridge, in Chicago.

For more information, please visit the PRAA website here or call (773) 342-8865.

UIC Heritage Garden Hosts 2nd Annual Seed Swap


Attend the Second Annual UIC Heritage Garden Seed Swap on Sunday, March 13th

Did you know that the UIC Heritage Garden has a seed library?

Join the UIC Heritage Garden for the second annual Spring Seed Swap from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 13th at the Jane Addams Hull House Dining Hall, 800 S. Halsted Street, in Chicago.

Gardeners, organizations, and community members are invited to swap seeds and meet new gardening friends around the city. If you have seeds, we encourage you to bring them to trade with others!

If you would like to bring seeds from your garden or organization and need a table to set up your materials (seeds, flyers, etc) please RSVP to

You do not have to bring seeds to attend.

For more, see: The UIC Latino Cultural Center

C4C celebrates Community Day at UIC

C4C basketball game night

Connecting4Communites– Community Day: (Pictured L-R):  UIC mascot Sparky D. Dragon with C4C Executive Director Dennis O’Neill, University Village resident Mary Vega, and C4C Director of Community Outreach Nancy Plax. Vega was recently honored at the annual UIC-C4C Community Basketball game day for all the work she has done toward the betterment of the neighborhood.

Connecting 4 Communities (C4C) is a community organization in Chicago joining and representing four sub-communities – Little Italy, University Village & Commons, Roosevelt Square & Brooks Homes, and Tri-Taylor with a service area bounded by Western Avenue to the west, the Dan Ryan Expressway to the east, the Eisenhower Expressway to the north, and 16th Street to the south.

The C4C mission is to build a vibrant and effective community by offering an organizing vehicle to connect people of like minds together who want to have a positive impact on issues of mutual concern.

C4C is an “organizing vehicle” created by and for community members focusing on the improvement of public education in the community and ensuring that Roosevelt Square–one of the nation’s largest, most incomplete redevelopments of federal public housing–is developed effectively.

PLEASE keep up to date on important issues and happenings that C4C is working on and supporting. You can sign up for the organization’s e-newsletter at