Students in Metropolitan Family Services’ Community Schools program at Chicago’s Reinberg Elementary were struggling to cope with neighborhood violence and fear in the wake of national changes to immigration policies. With the help of their Out-of-School-Time Coordinator, Tamara Sutton, the students developed a program they call “Love Is a Work of Heart” to personally make a difference in their Northwest Side community.
The students decided to create the position of “Love Ambassador,” a formal commitment to act as an example of love and compassion. The Love Ambassadors also sell Valentine’s Day candy to raise funds to donate to charity of the group’s choice. More than 36 Community Schools students from 3rd grade to 8th grade applied for the job, detailing their experience with customer service, handling money, and caring for others. After completing a formal job interview with Tamara, all Love Ambassadors underwent training to be examples of love, as well as how to handle sales.
After hearing a pitch from Legal Aid Society Executive Director Karina Ayala-Bermejo, the students voted to donate the funds from their Valentine’s candy sales to LAS. The Love Ambassadors beat their fundraising goal and presented more than $770 to LAS on February 16, 2017.
Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th) also attended, and presented them with certificates recognizing their work as official Love Ambassadors for the City of Chicago.