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Stories that Spark: Sylvester

Sylvester had a tough childhood, and through his involvement in so many DCFS programs, he felt as though he lived 35 different lives. We at Kaleidoscope have been very lucky to have known Sylvester in his latest life and to have watched him grow into the remarkable, motivated young man he has become. Listen to Sylvester’s story about how Kaleidoscope got him on the right path.

Donate now to help Sylvester and the more than 600 children and youth Kaleidoscope serves in Chicago each year.

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Kaleidoscope Nights with Chicago White Sox

Our friends at the Chicago White Sox are offering discounted tickets, and a portion of each ticket sold will benefit Kaleidoscope and the children, youth and families we serve! This applies to two games:

  • White Sox v. Cleveland Indians
    Friday, July 28 at 7:10 p.m.
  • White Sox v. Detroit Tigers
    Saturday, August 26 at 7:10 p.m.

Lower box tickets are $36 each, outfield reserve tickets are $23 each, and parking is $20. Order now to cheer on the Sox while helping Kaleidoscope! Visit this page on their website, or use this PDF form.

New Board Member: Dianne Amos

We are pleased to welcome Dianne Amos, CRP, SGMS-T, Senior Vice President, Client Services for RELO Direct®, Inc. to our board of directors. Read RELO Direct’s press release here.

Winter Arts Camp: Meet our Artists

We and our young people are grateful for the overwhelming support of our Winter Arts Camp this #GivingTuesday. Generous donors contributed $7,130 to support the camp, which will help our children and youth express themselves, connect with the vibrant arts community in Chicago and stay safe when they’re out of school. Learn more here.

Meet the artists who will be leading workshops for our young people! These artists have collaborated with our clinical teams to develop lessons and projects that will best connect with our young people as they continue healing from abuse and neglect.

karlyn-boens-copy dexter-cohen-copy jacquelyn-jamjoom-copy
Karlyn Boens Dexter Cohen Jacquelyn Jamjoom




Tess Kisner E’mon Lauren Bilal Othman



Hannah Shea Nathaniel Stewart


Karlyn Boens, Spoken Word Teaching Artist and Camp Counselor

Born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, Karlyn is a 19 year old Spoken Word Artist. She attends Trinity Christian College where she studies Social Work and Criminal Work. As a former Guthman Intern with Young Chicago Authors, she takes pride in her chapter book, Finding Bethany. She is a former Louder Than A Bomb participant and has written poetry and blogs, as a Civil Scholar, for the Aspen Institute. Karlyn continues to write, perform and teach for herself and organizations such as Young Chicago Authors and Between The Lines. In the future, Karlyn hopes to open a community center that reaches out to delinquents, abused men and women, and anyone with a passion for art through vocals, writing and painting.

Dexter Cohen, Blue Island Camp Counselor

10 months out of the year Dexter builds big things with adults at Steadfast Development and Construction. 2 months out of the year he builds big things with kids at Beam Camp. He’s excited to spend a week building things with kids in Chicago.

Jacquelyn Jamjoom, Coordinator of our Field Trip to CineSpace

Jacquelyn Jamjoom is the Director of Operations/Executive Producer of Digital Hydra, a full service boutique production and creative development company in Chicago. She says: “Working in a creative field, it’s easy to forget about what’s truly important in life and why I got into this field in the first place. I’m thrilled to be working with Kaleidoscope and grateful for the opportunity to give back to my community and give young people the tools to tell their own stories, stories that are often swept aside. The film industry is a stubborn industry that is slow to change, but we can be the start of rapid growth if we continue to work with children and teenagers to prepare them for these opportunities and let them know there’s a place for them here.”

Tess Kisner, DJing Teaching Artist

Tess Kisner, a visual artist from Baton Rouge, acquired a set of turntables in 2009 after being turned on to exploring vinyl as a new medium. She uncovered her undying passion for music and a powerful new art practice in the form of a dance party. Tess is known for her vibrant energy on stage, singing to her audience and mixing old school into contemporary music.

E’mon Lauren, Spoken Word Teaching Artist

E’mon Lauren explores the philosophies and intersectionalities of womanism and the hood. She holds the most recent title of Chicago’s first and very own Youth Poet Laureate by Young Chicago Authors and New York City Urban Word Press, as well as many other slam awards. Between food breaks, E’mon studies the elemental practice of words and the economy they hold. She currently works as a freelance, paid performer and teaching artist in Chicago, and makes efforts to challenge the silencing of youth’s stories through their diasporas.

Bilal Othman, Damen Camp and Blue Island Camp Volunteer

Bilal Othman aka the Arabian Knight is a freshman studying marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A former participant in YOUmedia, he makes films and clothes and other things, and he is an editor of a forthcoming arts and culture magazine at UIC. He enjoys helping kids to tell their own stories through film, the more fantastical the better!

Hannah Shea, Damen Camp Volunteer

Hannah Shea is a graduate student in poetry in Baltimore missing Chicago and excited to spend time making art outside of the classroom with kids whose imaginations are at peak magicalness.

Nathaniel Stewart, Film Teaching Artist and Camp Volunteer

Nathaniel M. Stewart is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying Broadcast-Journalism & Sociology. He’s interested in finding a way to collaborate these two degrees so that he can effectively affect peoples lives through interpersonal and media skills.  He is excited to be a part of the Kaleidoscope Arts Camp because it is a great opportunity to teach up and coming students, and possibly learn a few things along the way!

Call for Junior Board Members


We are looking for individuals between ages 21 and 40 from diverse backgrounds, careers, skill areas, and fields to join our Junior Board! If you are passionate about empowering Chicago’s children and communities and eager to work collaboratively to support our agency’s mission, we want to hear from you! Learn more and apply now.

MillerCoors Great Cents Challenge


We were thrilled to again be chosen as Pub 626’s charity beneficiary in the MillerCools Great Cents Challenge. For every bottle of MillerCoors sold between June and August, Pub626 donated 15 cents to Kaleidoscope – totaling more than $2,600. We are grateful to have their generous support of our work and the youth we serve!

Learn more about other beneficiaries in the Great Cents Challenge from this Windy City Times article.

Holiday Giving Program 2016

During this season of giving, there are multiple ways to spread joy to Kaleidoscope’s children and families! Please help provide more than 350 of the children we serve with gifts this holiday season. Here’s how you can help!

Pledge to:

  1. Shop a Wish List. Sponsor one of our youth – ranging in age from birth to 20 – and we’ll send you the list of the gifts they’d most like to receive. (Maximum value of $75 per list.)
  2. Decorate the Gift Card Tree. Send a gift card for Target, Jewel, Walmart or other local stores that our teens and families can use to provide for their families. ($15 to $50 increments preferred.)
  3. Send a Family-friendly DVD. Every family who attends our annual holiday party receives a DVD to encourage family time. ($2-15 maximum per DVD.)

To pledge to shop a wish list, decorate the tree or send a DVD, please complete and return our sign up form by Tuesday, November 1, so we can account for donations before the holiday rush.

Give now by:

  1. Shopping our Amazon Wish List. We update our wish list with specialty gift cards and all the supplies we need to make our party happen – including wrapping paper, boxes and tape. Be sure to use Amazon Smile and select Kaleidoscope as your charity of choice! Please note: Amazon does not share donors’ information with us. If you purchase something from our wishlist, please forward your receipt to so we can properly thank you!
  2. Making a cash donation. Your donation will help us provide gifts for our youth (averaging $75 per child) and cover the cost of supplies for the party. Donate now through our secure, online form.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Luticia Smith: or (773) 292-4027.

Find Your Future 2017 Applications

We are now accepting applications for the 2017 Find Your Future program! Through this program, we match current and former foster youth who are attending college with 10-week paid summer internships and vocational training, plus resume workshops, mock interviews, team-building activities, community volunteering and a professional etiquette dinner. With these career opportunities, youth gain valuable experience, build their resumes and make professional connections within their chosen field.

Download the application now, and see answers to frequently asked questions.

Foster Parent Orientation Dates: October, November & December 2016

Kaleidoscope’s Foster Parent Orientation is open to anyone who is interested in fostering a child. At orientation, we provide an overview of the requirements and application process, as well as general information about the children Kaleidoscope serves. Attendees are encouraged to register for an orientation date by calling (773) 292-4462.

Our Foster Parent Orientation dates in October, November and December 2016 are:

Tuesday, October 4
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Blue Island office (12940 S. Western, 3rd floor rear, Blue Island)

Tuesday, October 11
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Damen office (1340 S. Damen, Mezz level, Chicago)

Tuesday, October 18
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Damen office (1340 S. Damen, Mezz level, Chicago)

Tuesday, October 25
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Blue Island office (12940 S. Western, 3rd floor rear, Blue Island)

Tuesday, November 1
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Blue Island office (12940 S. Western, 3rd floor rear, Blue Island)

Thursday, November 17
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Damen office (1340 S. Damen, Mezz level, Chicago)

Tuesday, November 29
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Damen office (1340 S. Damen, Mezz level, Chicago)

Tuesday, December 6
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Blue Island office (12940 S. Western, 3rd floor rear, Blue Island)

Wednesday, December 14
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Damen office (1340 S. Damen, Mezz level, Chicago)

Tuesday, December 20
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Damen office (1340 S. Damen, Mezz level, Chicago)

Registration for these orientations is encouraged. To register, please call (773) 292-4462. For more information, contact

Summer 2016 Find Your Future Closing Luncheon

On August 16, we hosted the closing luncheon for our Summer 2016 Find Your Future program. We matched these 27 dedicated young people with summer internships through our incredible community partners. Our young people gained the work experience, professional skills and networks that only internships can provide, and they were grateful! Congratulations to our graduating class of interns for all of their hard work, and thank you to our partners for giving them the opportunity!


Thank you to our new internship partners!

  • Freeport Memorial Hospital
  • St. Louis Police Department
  • Jackson County Sheriff Department
  • Tap In Academy
  • Midwest Orthopedic Institute
  • Congresswoman Robin Kelly
  • CLM Midwest Construction
  • Acceleration Pro Athletic Training
  • United African Organization
  • Quad City Chamber of Commerce
  • Valid USA

Thank you to our returning internship providers!

  • Niagara Foundation
  • Cook County State’s Attorney
  • Family Matters
  • RELO Direct
  • Christopher House
  • La Rabida Children’s Hospital
  • Windy City Times
  • Cook County Juvenile Courts

View more photos from the event on our Facebook page. (And be sure to like us while you’re there!)

For more information about our Find Your Future program, contact Ticia Smith: or (773) 292-4027