Exchange Neighborhoods, an educational outreach program run by Hostelling International Chicago in partnership with Chicago Public School teachers, brings together students from different high schools to form relationships founded on mutual interests and a shared desire to work against mistrust, misperceptions, and ignorance.
To combat the cultural isolation of high schools and neighborhoods in Chicago, Exchange Neighborhoods participants visit each others’ schools to learn about each others’ cultures, schools, and neighborhoods. At the hostel, students cook and eat together, engage in team-building exercises, and share dorm-style rooms for an overnight. Throughout the program, students learn to appreciate their similarities and honor their differences.
Student outcomes are strong:
“I learned that being different is not a bad thing. While on this trip I learned you don’t have to be the same color to get along and try new things.” Chiquita, Harper High School
“Chicago Academy High School was a cool group of people. This helped me understand life more. It told me don’t be silent all your life, meet new people because you can learn new and different things about the person and their culture.” Faheed R., Orr High School
“I learned that even though many people are different from ourselves, when we all come together we get along and we find similarities.” Samantha, Kennedy High School
This school year, the following high schools are partnering with the hostel to bring Exchange Neighborhoods to their students: Taft, BEST, Juarez (twice), Harper, Kennedy, Orr, Chicago Academy, Kelvyn Park, Dyett, Douglass, and Hope.
If you would like to get on the waiting list to participate in the 2011-2012 school year, please contact Megan Johnson, Education Coordinator at HI-Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org.