Alternatives Recognized with Berkowitz Award

Student leaders of the Berkowitz Committee recognized Chicago nonprofit Alternatives for shaping positive change in local youth in a recent Morning Ex.

The Susan F. Berkowitz Award for Outstanding Service to Children recognizes individuals whose work builds hope and optimism in children, strengthening the bonds between family, school and community. Such work demonstrates the commitment and imagination necessary to ensure conditions that support the positive growth, development and education of children.

Each year, the Berkowitz Award process provides students with hands-on experience with philanthropy as they use Parker’s resources to help those in need, providing a $10,000 grant to a Chicago organization that builds hope and optimism in children.

Berkowitz Committee Heads, senior Caroline Skok and junior Cate O’Connor, described the year-long process they and their peers had been immersed in before selecting a winner, beginning with brainstorming to identify a particular theme for that year that directly affects Chicago’s youth. They then research organizations that fit that year’s theme and contact them, encouraging them to apply for the award. The committee reviews all the applications, comparing their goals, sizes, funds they receive and locations to narrow down the list to three or four finalists. After interviewing the finalists, the committee has the difficult task of choosing a winner.

At the Morning Ex, committee heads introduced representatives from Alternatives, who thanked the school for this recognition and shared more about the organization’s mission: to inspire young people to create a just future through practices that heal individuals, restore communities and transform systems. They said the funds from this award will help them further expand the outreach they have begun to offer beyond the city limits.

Congratulations to this year’s award recipients and great work to the students and faculty involved.

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Established in honor of the late Dr. Susan F. Berkowitz and her lifelong dedication to the service of children and their communities, the Berkowitz Award hopes to support organizations in our city that place an emphasis on a holistic approach to addressing a variety of systemic issues that affect Chicago’s underserved youth.
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.