summer term collaborations

Chicago Kaleidoscopes teens have been collaborating with / planning to collaborate with teens in other After School Matters programs this summer. Here are some examples:

  • Earlier this month CK teens and teens in SRBCC’s Music Video Production program here at Prosser collaborated. Half of the teens in our program went to the room where the MVP program meets, and half of the teens in their program came up to teach and learn from CK teens. During those small group learning community activities, teens in each of those two programs taught each other things they have been learning in their respective programs. Then the teens worked in small groups to brainstorm ideas about a film or video project that they could work on together. The teens talked about setting, character, plot, theme, and storyboarding.
  • We did that half-and-half program mixer with the Latin Dance program here at Prosser as well. For that activity, CK teens taught teens in the Latin Dance program some creative writing skills they have been learning, and teens in the Latin Dance program taught CK teens some dance moves they have been learning. Then the teens worked in small groups to develop poetry-and-dance collaborations that were then performed in front of the class.
  • Earlier today Chicago Kaleidoscopes went on a field trip to Aguijon Theater, where CK teens worked with teens in AT’s Nuestra Cultural Theater Program. Everyone joined in during NCTP’s activities that included some zumba warm-ups and acting movement activities. Then CK teens watched as the teens in the AT ASM program rehearsed a scene in a bilingual play that NCTP will perform in August.
  • CK teens are starting a collaboration with the ASM program at the National Veterans Art Museum. This collaboration involves anti-violence postcards / mail art, and is being done in tandem with our scheduled field trip to NVAM next week.



“Magic Poem” by Justice W.


Most people think that writing a poem

is just about rhyme or the way it sounds,

but I think it’s about being able

to feel what the writer is feeling


and get the same point of view as theirs.

It doesn’t have to be about “roses are red”

or “violets are blue.” It can be about

the way you feel, and how others feel too.


Theirs may be types of styles of poems,

but the one u write is your own.

So what are u waiting for? Create your

own magic and put it on paper…



“Letter to My Future Child” by Jada B.


Life isn’t going to offer you many roads

But I hope you choose the road to success

Stay in school

Stay away from drugs

Stay around people who inspire you to do better things

Stay around people who bring out the best in you

But on your journey from toddler to eventually adult

I want you to know that i will always have your back

I will always inspire you

I will always guide you towards a life of happiness and success

No matter what mistakes you make I will always love you

As long as you stay by my side, I’ll always protect yours

The best advice I can give you is to think about everything you do

And remember

I’ll always love you



“Mississippi to Paris” by Dartonya W.


This is a beautiful city

Lights, towers, everything pretty

I never that this would be me

Little nappy headed boy from Mississippi

Now u can see I’m in Paris

Never thought I would be taught

How to walk

Like a successful black man

Now successful I stand

Hard work was the key in my plan

It wasn’t peaches and crème

It was just my ambition for my dreams

I’m the son of a sharecropper, became my own king

It’s the success of a black man that’s terrifying

They want our culture, our ambition to be dying

But like a flower we our only reviving

Now I look into the beautiful sky reflecting on my life

In Paris I never thought that the struggle of a black man

Would be something I cherished


Wright, Richard.jpg

above: Richard Wright



Summer 2015 Showcase at SRBCC

Yesterday’s showcase at SRBCC was wonderful. CK teens performed with teens in the Bomba ASM program, and we watched teens in the Bomba program perform. It was a fun way to end the program, and parents and siblings of CK teens came to enjoy the event. In addition, we had several interactive stations at SRBCC where everyone could be creative — such as contribute to the Multimedia Archway and  have fun with the Time Machine Typewriter.

Click here to read the Chicago Kaleidoscopes Anthology.

Our Guest Speakers in August

We look forward to the two guest speakers who will give presentations to Chicago Kaleidoscopes next month — Toni Asante Lightfoot and Yolanda Bradley-Crocker. Toni is a poet, editor and educator; Yolanda is a holistic lifestyle coach who is involved with Outdoor Afro.

Earlier this month Adonnis Williams from First Defense Legal Aid led a workshop at Mozart Park. We’re grateful for the insights and imagination that Toni, Yolanda and Adonnis are sharing with the teens in our program.



“Dark Goldenrod” by Kayland J.


Dark goldenrod, brighter than gold, yet darker than yellow

Almost like the shade of yellow that resembles the sun

Makes you feel the complete opposite of mellow


The color looks like the smooth playing of the cello

Listen to dark goldenrod as the song is almost done

Dark goldenrod, brighter than gold, yet darker than yellow


The color of an angel’s halo

It makes you feel like you’re the one

Makes you feel the complete opposite of mellow


Like the thoughts of a naïve child, it’s shallow

Dark goldenrod is achieved like a home run

Dark goldenrod, brighter than gold, yet darker than yellow


It’s like a feeling, once you felt it you will know

And then you’ll know that you have won

Makes you feel the complete opposite of mellow


It’s as though you are floating in a bed with your head on a pillow

You’ll thank yourself in the long run

Dark goldenrod, brighter than gold, yet darker than yellow

Makes you feel the complete opposite of mellow



CK Teens Respond to Our Field Trip to Fermilab

We had great time on yesterday’s field trip to Fermilab. Chicago Kaleidoscopes took a bus trip from Mozart Park to Fermilab in Batavia, and we were met by Fermilab staff in front of Wilson Hall. Docents gave us a tour — which included a focus on particle physics, how science has influenced the arts and vice versa (e.g. how James Joyce’s neologism “quark” was chosen by a physicist to name a subatomic particle, how several of our CK sessions included preparations for our field trip (e.g. the “Poetry of Science” conversation with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins), and pop culture connections to what happens at Fermilab (e.g. The Big Bang Theory TV show). The view from the 15th floor of Wilson Hall is extraordinary, with a view of the Main Ring and the Tevatron accelerator, a vista of the surrounding prairie, and the Chicago skyline on the horizon.

Then we took the elevator to the second floor, and we finished our trip to Fermilab by experiencing the On that Note exhibition in the art gallery. We had a musical jam session in the gallery, and then we headed back to the bus for our trip back to Chicago.

Here are some audio tracks of CK teens playing music in the Fermilab Art Gallery and talking about ideas about superpowers that relate to altering laws of physics. Here are audio recordings of short stories that CK teens created in collaborative groups; each of these pieces of short fiction uses Fermilab in an inventive way.

Special thanks to Georgia Schwender, Anne Mary Teichert, Dee Huie, and Kurt Riesselman at Fermilab for helping us with our field trip.