(CHICAGO) Rene Herrera, a student in The Chicago School's Master's in Clinical Counseling Program (MACC), has been awarded a 2010-2011 Schweitzer Fellowship. Rene, whose concentration is in Latino Mental Health, will provide a tutoring and mentoring program for youth at the Irving Park YMCA. The prestigious Fellowship is awarded to exceptional students in health and human services fields who serve the most vulnerable members of society.
"We are extremely proud of Rene and excited that he will have this opportunity to continue his work in the community," said Dr. Virginia Quinonez, Department Chair for the MACC Program and Associate Professor. "Rene's talent and commitment embody the dedication of everyone at The Chicago School to developing extraordinary practitioners who are leaders in their fields and agents of positive change in their communities."
View the press release
Q&A with Rene Herrera
TCSPP: What's the purpose of the Schweitzer fellowship and how did you hear about it?
Herrera: I heard about it through Dr. Hector Torres, and the idea is to create a community-based program. I work at the membership desk at the Irving Park YMCA (on Chicago's Northwest side) so I can see what the needs are.
TCSPP: What program will you create?
Herrera: It's a tutor-mentor program called Young Knights. . I noticed a lot of kids-from about age seven to 15-spending a lot of time at the Y. They have nowhere else to go. They talk to us at the front desk and tell us things like, 'My mom doesn't care.' So why not mentor them, help them with their issues, keep them from going out on their own and getting in trouble? We'll be a support system for them.
TCSPP: When do you start, and do you need volunteers?
Herrera:We'll probably start in July when kids are in summer camp, and it will be more mentoring at that point. We'll put more emphasis on tutoring when school starts for these kids in the fall. Some of the volunteers will be from my undergrad fraternity at Loyola University of Chicago. TCS' Office of Community Partnerships reached out to see if I needed volunteers. If anyone at TCS wants to volunteer with children, they could do this. About 80 to 85 percent of the kids are Latino. Most speak English, but sometimes they can express themselves better in Spanish.
TCSPP: What will happen after you graduate or move on to something else?
Herrera: That's the thing- Schweitzer wants the program to continue on, so that's the goal.