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Viewing Our Children as Emerging Leaders

Our Core Values

Our values inform how we work and interact with each other and those we serve; our vision for a kinder, more equitable world; and underscore our enduring commitment to the future leaders of Chicago.

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VOCEL’s programs are distinguished by six key elements

  1. Science at our core, children in our hearts. Children’s brains develop most rapidly in their first few years – we capitalize on this crucial window of time.
  2. Driven by the Power of Community. We build communities of supportive peers that become like a second family—because in community we can all become our best.
  3. Culturally Responsive. We welcome all and embrace the diverse cultures and backgrounds of families. All of our family programs are offered dual language.
  4. Wellness Oriented. We embrace the complexity and interconnectedness of wellness. Our Family Support & Community Engagement team partners with families to meet their emotional, mental health, and resource needs.
  5. School + Home Connected. We elevate the importance of at-home learning and parents as children’s first teachers, providing tools for school-home partnership.
  6. Data Informed. We collect data and use it as one of several key inputs to inform continuous improvement and grow our impact.

To learn more about VOCEL, Click on this link:

West Ridge Chicago: A Chicago Neighborhood Welcoming Refugees

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Why has a small corner of Chicago called West Ridge emerged as the hub of a national movement to address the unique challenges facing illiterate refugees?

But what is amazing that is happening in our little corner of West Ridge, Chicago, is that so many of the refugees who have been deliberately scattered throughout the country are now coming to our very special, little corner of the globe.

They are coming to our neighborhood for a reason. Because West Ridge has abundantly invited refugees since the 1920s. First German refugees after World War One. Then Jewish refugees after the Holocaust. Then Pakistani and Indian refugees after the 1947 Partition. And on and on. Croatian refugees after the Balkan Wars. And now Rohingya refugees. While approximately only 8,000 Rohingya refugees have been let into the United States in the past 20 years, there are 400 Rohingya families living within walking distance of FORA’s two empowerment centers. Approximately 2,000 people. Approximately 25% of all Rohingya in the United States are living in this neighborhood.