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Fellows for Life

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For more information about this program please contact:

Karol Dean
Program Director, Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship kdean@hmprg.org

Christina Esparza-Cassidy
Schweitzer Fellows Program Coordinator cesparzacassidy@hmprg.org

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Fellows for Life

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With its collaborative and interprofessional nature, the Schweitzer Fellowship was an instrumental opportunity to build a network of driven, like-minded individuals. All in all, I hope to utilize the connections made through the Schweitzer Fellowship for the rest of my career. – Christianah Ogunleye, 2018-2019 Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellow

Fellows for Life and Program Director, Maya Bauer, at 2021 25th Anniversary Fellows for Life After Party

Since 2006, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program has provided programming for our Fellows for Life, alumni of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship living in the Chicago area. The Chicago Fellows for Life program aims to further engage alumni in the ideals of Albert Schweitzer and provide opportunities for networking between the alumni, opportunities for community engagement, leadership and professional development, and a sense of camaraderie amongst a group of like-minded individuals.

Fellows for Life Seed Grants: For the past several years, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program has been able to offer seed grants to Fellows for Life interested in beginning, sustaining, or building on innovative community projects that help underserved Chicago communities.

Current Seed Grant Projects:

Raheem Young, 2015-2015 Fellow for Life and Co-Found of Welcome to Fatherhood and University Lecturer at Governors State University, seeks to help fathers of all ages cope with the pressures and stresses of fatherhood.  

Young, with Welcome to Fatherhood, wants to address the issues of absentee fathers, disenfranchised families, and the lack of positive male role models within many communities. The work Welcome to Fatherhood does is both familial as well as communal. The issues they will address are multifaceted. Young understands that there are many factors that contribute to a father not being with his family, so Welcome to Fatherhood will work with dads on a multitude of challenges. The services him and his organization will provide are designed to address mental health issues, community violence issues, parental engagement, and poverty. 

Elizabeth Rios, 2019-2020 Fellow for Life, PhD candidate in the College of Nursing for the University of Illinois at Chicago, will coordinate and collaborate with volunteer nurses/student nurses/trained Health Helpers/Promotoras increasing awareness on the complications of hypertension while providing equipment and trainings on proper use of blood pressure machines and follow up support to those individuals most vulnerable and at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. 

Rios plans on teaching the proper use of a blood pressure machine because, unfortunately, inaccurate measurement techniques during provider office visits are common due to factors influencing errors in measurement. Sources of measurement error include recent food consumption, movement, experiencing a recent stressful event, physical activity, positioning of arm and body during measurement, using a machine that is not calibrated or validated, talking during the measurement, and improper use of the device. Workshops will be provided with the direction of Elizabeth Rios and in collaboration with trained nurse/nursing student volunteers and Health Helpers/Promotoras at faith-based congregations. This program will be able to positively impact older adults and individuals with disabilities by training and educating their caregivers. 

Kimya Barden, 2003-2004 Fellow for Life, and University Without Walls Faculty Advisor and Associate Professor of Urban Community Studies at Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for Inner City Studies, will cultivate a weekly parent group in Bronzeville for African American mothers impacted by carjacking and other forms of direct and indirect violence.  

Barden’s project aims to support African American mothers’ mental health needs to support their ability to parent, acquire knowledge about trauma symptomatology, and mitigate adverse coping. With carjacking representing a form of interpersonal community trauma, Barden points out that African American mothers who live in an urban context are often at risk of interpersonal community trauma exposure (Jenkins, 2002; Timgang et al., 2017). By bringing in speakers and practitioners to cultivate health coping, financial planners, art therapists, and literacy specialists, Barden’s project aims to cultivate a support group for African American mothers that will help them cope with their experiences with direct and indirect violence.  

Applications for 2024-2025 Seed Grants are now open. The deadline is May 1, 2024.