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
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 connectingchicago.org!
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.