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#RepairTheWorldWednesday with Connecting Chicago Written by Co-Founder Rem Johannknecht

(Social Action, Celebrate Our Community) Permanent link

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Connecting Chicago was founded by Rem Johannknecht and Lucy Gold in March of 2020. Sophomores at Payton at the time, this team of friends was inspired and met the moment as individuals around the City of Chicago fell victim to isolation amid shutdowns and stay at home orders. When public school students began at-home learning, they understood that thousands of families would soon be struggling to keep from falling behind.

Pivoting to meet the needs of their community, the organization crafted a mission statement: “Connecting Chicago fosters opportunities unlocked by education. We are bridging Chicago's vast educational inequities by empowering students in and out of the classroom, providing critical services regardless of household income.”

Rem and Lucy organized their fellow students in Chicago to launch an innovative virtual tutoring program. Available to students of all incomes, the program impacts over 1000 students over the course of the year and is growing steadily. Both tutors and students alike have been motivated by a sense of community, connection, and service during these unprecedented times.

After collecting feedback from their volunteers, the founders organized two teams to guide their improvement steps. First, Rem oversaw a resource development team that crafted best practices and compiled resources for tutors in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, and World Languages. Then, Lucy created a recruitment team which has been hard at work finding amazing new volunteers crucial to the health of the program. Recently, the recruitment team finished crafting their holiday fundraising plan. With a goal to collect five thousand dollars, they are committed to ensuring the sustainability and growth of Connecting Chicago.

Recently, the organization switched to a quarterly sign up system where one-on-one pairings are made for several months. This means that students currently enrolled will continue through January! Anyone interested in signing up for the third quarter will have the opportunity to do so on their website!

Ella, a tutor with Connecting Chicago since the spring, says that her time has “been nothing short of amazing since I started tutoring with them. They are empathetic, organized, easy to contact, and completely flexible with scheduling."

The organization’s hardworking tutors’ hard work has not gone unnoticed. A parent acclaimed that their family’s “tutor has had an amazing impact on [their] son. She’s a wonderful role model and teacher. Her attentiveness to schedule, responsibility, learning needs, and engagement has been truly impressive. I have no doubt that this interaction is having a very positive impact on my son.”

The organization’s say that the future for Connecting Chicago is bright, and that their mission to connect students with high-quality resources will remain critically relevant! Currently, they are creating plans for the tutoring program to continue to thrive, as well as looking into starting an affordable summer camp!

For more information on the organization, please visit their website at!

About the Founders:

Rem and Lucy are both current juniors at Walter Payton College Prep. Their collaborative friendship initially started when they were partners in driver’s ed, completing mandatory hours behind the wheel together!

Rem Johannknecht is the Founder of Connecting Chicago and is known for his hard work ethic. At Payton, he is organizing a TedxYouth Conference, excels on the varsity sailing team, and participates in Model UN. Outside of school, he has organized fellow Chicagoans on several political campaigns, and enjoys learning languages.

Lucy Gold is the Co-Founder of Connecting Chicago and loves to help others. In school, she manages the football team and boys basketball team, she is a peer buddy in Best Buddies, and will be Vice President of the Payton's Special Olympics Committee. Out of school, Lucy loves her job at the Cubs, babysitting, and hanging out with friends and family.