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Finding Purpose.
Pursuing Dreams.

Our programs encourage students to set goals for their high school career and post-high school plans while also supporting the path they set for themselves through mentorship. Our team of dedicated directors and mentors works with our students in an individual and group setting to ensure each student is given the opportunity to succeed when given the proper resources, guidance, and support.

Dreamers and Believers Program

  • A four-year commitment for high school mentees.
  • We run monthly sessions where our mentees engage in the eight pillars of our curriculum and meet with their mentors in a group setting.

Discover the pillars
that guide us...

  • Mentors communicate with mentees on a weekly basis.
  • Outside of our monthly sessions, we provide community service projects, fine art activities, and cultural field trips for our mentees.
  • We recruit mentees to our program by working with the administration and counselors from over 30 high schools on the South and West side of Chicago. We identify incoming 9th - 12th graders that will benefit the most from our program.

Once our students enter their junior and senior years of high school, we promote them into our transition to college program:

  • Mentors, counselors, and college admission experts help mentees and their parents navigate the post-secondary school entry, scholarships, and financial support process.
  • Mentors will communicate with mentees on a weekly basis

Dreamers and Believers Program

  • A four-year commitment for high school mentees.
  • We run monthly sessions where our mentees engage in the eight pillars of our curriculum and meet with their mentors in a group setting.

Discover the pillars
that guide us...

  • Mentors communicate with mentees on a weekly basis.
  • Outside of our monthly sessions, we provide community service projects, fine art activities, and cultural field trips for our mentees.
  • We recruit mentees to our program by working with the administration and counselors from over 30 high schools on the South and West side of Chicago. We identify incoming 9th - 12th graders that will benefit the most from our program.

Once our students enter their junior and senior years of high school, we promote them into our transition to college program:

  • Mentors, counselors, and college admission experts help mentees and their parents navigate the post-secondary school entry, scholarships, and financial support process.
  • Mentors will communicate with mentees on a weekly basis

Following each of our monthly mentoring sessions, we offer Fine Arts programs to all of our students.

They have the opportunity to choose from:

Students will be exposed to a wide range of dance styles such as Contemporary, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, and more.

Students will learn how the art of acting can be used to prepare for an interview, audition monologues, work as an on-air talent, and research what Chicago-based agency they fit into.

Students will participate in lessons that will include rap, poetry, and production. Sessions will highlight free writing and interpreting lyrics which will provide participants with a better understanding of how creative writing (rap/poetry) can have a variety of purposes as well as be beneficial to your emotional wellness.
Students will explore the world of vocal music, singing various genres of music, discussing the value of being an original composer and songwriter, as well as the importance of joining a performance rights organization to ensure that each songwriters’ rights are safe and secure.
Students will learn about photography and how it connects with the world around them. Mentees will also explore the power in “use what you have” by learning how to take pictures using their cell phone devices.
Students will learn the fundamentals that go into making videos as well as entrepreneurship in film. Using a cellphone, participants will learn the skills needed to capture, direct, and edit videos.
Students will learn to use art as a way to express different ranges of emotions and feelings. Participants will also be exposed to different artistic techniques as well as learn about the fundamentals of art.
Dance
Students will be exposed to a wide range of dance styles such as Contemporary, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, and more.
Drama
Students will learn how the art of acting can be used to prepare for an interview, audition monologues, work as an on-air talent, and research what Chicago-based agency they fit into.
Hip Hop / Spoken Word
Students will participate in lessons that will include rap, poetry, and production. Sessions will highlight free writing and interpreting lyrics which will provide participants with a better understanding of how creative writing (rap/poetry) can have a variety of purposes as well as be beneficial to your emotional wellness.
Music / Vocals
Students will explore the world of vocal music, singing various genres of music, discussing the value of being an original composer and songwriter, as well as the importance of joining a performance rights organization to ensure that each songwriters’ rights are safe and secure.
Photography
Students will learn about photography and how it connects with the world around them. Mentees will also explore the power in “use what you have” by learning how to take pictures using their cell phone devices.
Video Production
Students will learn the fundamentals that go into making videos as well as entrepreneurship in film. Using a cellphone, participants will learn the skills needed to capture, direct, and edit videos.
Visual Arts
Students will learn to use art as a way to express different ranges of emotions and feelings. Participants will also be exposed to different artistic techniques as well as learn about the fundamentals of art.

Window of Opportunity
(WOO) Academy

Screens of Woo Academy participants

The Window of Opportunity Academy (WOO) program addresses students’ significant challenges when entering their freshman year of high school. In keeping with CGF’s mission of empowering future leaders, the WOO Academy is a unique program designed to help incoming freshmen with the tools they need to be successful students at the start of high school and beyond. Our holistic approach to this program involves teachers, parents, mentors, and other external community resources to support our students’ learning. One of the most important aspects is student engagement. Each student is actively involved in planning for their success.

Pilot Program started at Art in Motion in Chicago – Fall 2020
New Program starting at University High School in Los Angeles – Fall 2021 sponsored by United Talent Agency Foundation
Screenshots of Woo Academy participants

Alumni Program

Since 2016, we have graduated 6 cohorts of high school students and sent them off to their post-secondary education. Shortly after participating in our mentoring programs, we realized that these alumni wanted to stay connected to the Common Ground Foundation family. CGF and our alumni collectively began to reconnect, and we were able to provide additional mentorship & support to our alumni as they moved forward in their journeys.
  • Post-secondary academic support
  • Internship and career support
  • Opportunities for alumni to come back as camp counselors
  • Opportunities for alumni to speak during our in person mentoring sessions and our WE Live! virtual sessions

Our Pillars

Throughout our time working with our students, we have listened, learned, and grown our structure to include these eight pillars that are the driving force behind our curriculum.

Entrepreneurship &
Career Exploration

Character Development

Creative
Expression

Health & Wellness

 

Civic Engagement

 

Generational
Wealth

 

Leadership

Technology