Chicago Survivors Receive Berkowitz Award

Student members of the 2022–23 Berkowitz Committee recently recognized local nonprofit Chicago Survivors as this year’s recipient of the $10,000 Susan F. Berkowitz Award for Outstanding Service to Children.

Senior Talia Albert ’22 and junior Caroline Skok described their work this year along with Upper School Dean of Students Joe Bruno, their advisor. After brainstorming topics, the committee decided to recognize an organization dedicated to helping Chicago’s youth through the lens of counseling. Next, they solicited and evaluated applications from a wide range of deserving Chicago organizations. After online interviews and many hours of deliberation, the committee selected Chicago Survivors.

During the presentation, Director of Clinical Services JaShawn D. Hill and Director of Program Operations Michelle Genarro shared more about the organization’s work to help families live beyond violent loss, which includes:
  • Immediate crisis response services
  • Family counseling for grief, trauma, PTSD
  • Counseling for the special needs of youth
  • Case management support
  • Criminal justice advocacy
  • Ongoing support for the community of survivors
Hill described ways the organization works to reform and enhance systems that families encounter in the aftermath of homicide by offering training for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, Medical Examiner’s Office personnel, hospital staff and advocates for victim-centered and trauma-informed systems change.

The presenters noted that their services are survivor-shaped, trauma-informed, family-centered and delivered primarily in survivors’ homes by bilingual Spanish/English speakers and shared the impact of the Berkowitz Award in directly benefiting those they serve.

When asked what she enjoyed most about working on the Berkowitz Committee this year, Skok commentd, “We knew right after the interview that Chicago Survivors was going to be the recipient. Their work blew me away, and we are so excited to be able to share their work across the city.”

The Susan F. Berkowitz Award for Outstanding Service to Children is an annual award honoring the life and work of Dr. Susan F. Berkowitz, who had a deep commitment to building hope and optimism in children by strengthening the bonds between family, school and community life. The intent of this award is to foster a wider appreciation for people who, on a day-to-day basis, show imagination and dedication towards youth. The grant aims to reward organizations that provide children with the strength, self-confidence and resources they need to sustain healthy learning and development—leading to future success.

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Dr. Berkowitz was a clinical psychologist, parent and active member of the Parker community. She made many important and pivotal contributions to our school and to the lives of many children, teachers and parents. This award recognizes other individuals who build hope and optimism in adolescents and citizens in the Chicago area similar to the way Dr. Berkowitz positively impacted our community. Such work demonstrates the necessary commitment and imagination to ensure conditions that support positive growth, development and education.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.