“Ode to the Atmosphere” by Justin W.


Atmosphere, oh atmosphere,

our kind atmosphere—

without you how

would we survive?

We couldn’t.


Atmosphere, at times you’re dramatic

and destructive, with hurricanes

and tornadoes flying by, sharp blasts

from Lake Michigan in the Windy City.


Atmosphere, oh atmosphere,

at times our calm atmosphere,

with flocks of birds flying

in peaceful blue spring skies.




“Beautiful You Are” by Nykisha H.


Beautiful you are…

Yes, you fine soul sistah

Yes, you rocking that curly fro.


Beautiful you are…

Yes, you holding that diploma

in your hand, hugging

your grandmother with the other.


Beautiful you are…

Yes, you rocking that business suit,

pulling up in that 3 Series Benz.


Beautiful you are…

Yes, you walking down that aisle—

awaiting is your husband with a gigantic smile.


Beautiful you are…

Rocking that pregnancy glow,

carrying that sweet baby girl,

who you’ll call baby Halo.


Beautiful you are…

Stamina is a strong Black woman,

you who possesses beauty.


Beautiful you are…

you who possesses virtue,

you who possesses spirituality.


Beautiful you are…

you who possesses success and worth,

you who have risen.



“Dear Bike” by Xavier D.


I like to ride you to school,

That green color that makes you look cool.

I ride you anytime, ‘cause you’re the best—

Even when the weather makes you a mess.

You’re like gold from a treasure chest.

You help me get somewhere faster for my quests.



above: Patrick Gale Putze. “Untitled.” Drawing mounted on panel. Photo: Shanley Chien/Medill, from “Bike Art Show Wheels to a Close.”  Image used with permission. www.patrickputze.net



getting ready for the end of the program

We’re nearing the end of the Spring 2016 program! CK teens are revising their poems, short stories and other literary pieces; adding design flourishes to their book covers; recording more audio pieces; and preparing for their performances during tomorrow’s Spring Program Showcase at SRBCC. You’re invited to read the Chicago Kaleidoscopes Anthology for the Spring 2016 term; follow this link to read it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Spring 2016 Program Showcase at SRBCC

Date: Thursday, May 12th (5:00-7:30 p.m.)

Location: Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (4048 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago)

Our Spring Showcase is coming up soon! We’re delighted that Chicago Kaleidoscopes will be among several After School Matters programs that will be participating in this Showcase, and as with the Showcases during the Summer and Fall 2015 Showcases, SRBCC is hosting this event.

This will be another excellent opportunity for CK teens to demonstrate their talents, meet teens in other ASM programs, and have a fun time at the wonderful Hermosa-based arts  organization SRBCC.


Spring 2016 Program Showcase


Our Guest Speakers in May

Chicago Kaleidoscopes has two weeks left of the spring term, and we have two more guest speakers who are scheduled to visit us in May —

Christen Carter, President/ Owner of Busy Beaver Button Co. Christen started Busy Beaver Button Company while in college and in a punk band. 20 years later, about 20 employees, and about 4 million buttons a year, she still likes it. There’s always something to learn!

Leah Ellenbogen practices and teaches Forrest Yoga, a style created by Ana Forrest, and based on the pillars of breath, strength, integrity and spirit.  Leah was gifted the practice by a dear friend in 2009 and instantly knew it was a gift meant to be shared.  With Forrest Yoga, Leah has successfully restored her own body from past sports-related injuries, has met and moved through psychological barriers, and now uses these experiences to teach others how to walk in the path of beauty.

We’re looking forward to these upcoming guest speakers, and we’re thankful that they’re sharing their talents and experience with us.

Our Guest Speakers in April

Chicago Kaleidoscopes has several guest speakers in April, and we’re grateful that these individuals have generously offered to share their time and talents with us!

Tanner McSwain is the owner of Uncharted Books, an independent bookstore in Logan Square. Tanner will talk about his background in creative writing. He will also talk about starting and running Uncharted Books (including branding, SWOT analysis, and public programs at his bookstore). Tanner will also help out with collaborative small group activities, when Chicago Kaleidoscopes teens will develop worlds in as-of-yet uncharted places.

Uncharted Books

Jayson Huynh was born and in California, raised by his parents who immigrated from Vietnam and the Philippines. Jayson served in the U.S. Army; he was deployed four times — twice to Afghanistan, once to Iraq, and once to Northern Midanao (Philippines). Currently Jayson works as an intelligence analyst, and is enrolled at Oakton Community College. Jayson will talk about his experience in the military, how his life has been since he has transitioned into civilian life, and why he decided to go back to college. He will also share a short story that he wrote.

Edwin Anthony Castro is a visual artist who is also getting his M.S. in Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Anthony gave a talk about murals in Chicago.



opportunities for teens (mid-March update)

Teens, here are some more opportunities —

NPS contest


Visiting Speaker from First Defense

Chicago Kaleidoscopes is looking forward to a workshop facilitated by Vickie, who is with First Defense Legal Aid; Vickie will be visiting our program on March 23rd. Last summer Adonnis Williams from First Defense led a workshop during a CK session, and we’re glad that First Defense is coming back again. By the way, First Defense Legal Aid is an After School Matters provider.