Teaching Safari works very closely with the Illinois Neglected and Delinquent group homes in the Chicago Area. We provide the children with a myriad of field trips and tours, as well as continuing education courses. In working with these group homes, Teaching Safari has three distinct goals:
(1) improve educational services for these children so that they have the opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic content and State student achievement standards that all children in the State are expected to meet;
(2) provide these children with services to enable them to transition successfully from institutionalization to further schooling or employment; and
(3) prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of school as well as to provide dropouts and children and youth returning from correctional facilities or institutions for neglected or delinquent children and youth, with a support system to ensure their continued education.
Our group enjoyed an architecture boat tour on the Chicago River. Students and adults were given a private, 1.5 hour guided tour of downtown Chicago. They were introduced to the history of our many famous skyscrapers, as well as the history of the City of Chicago. Our tour guide, Mr. Albert Walavich, did an amazing job! Both students and chaperons were thoroughly engaged in the tour and participated the entire time.
Despite being loaded up on cookies and lemonade, the students found enough room in their bellies to enjoy an early dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant on Navy Pier. We were all treated like V.I.P.s by the staff and were treated to Bubba Gump prizes for answering trivia about the movie Forest Gump.
Week 2 was a private, guided walking tour of Chicago’s Chinatown. The tour began at the Nine Dragon Wall, a gift from the Chinese government to Chicago. Again, Mr. Albert Walavich thoroughly engaged the group. We learned about the Chinese culture, their unique symbols, and the history of the Chinese in Chicago. Did you know that the Chinese wear white to a funeral?!?
We then proceeded to the main square to learn about our Zodiac signs according to Chinese legend. We identified which animal we were associated with based on our year of birth and learned about some of our subsequent personality traits.
Dinner was served family-style at The Phoenix Restaurant. Spring rolls, crab rangoon, Mongolian beef, orange chicken, pork fried rice, beef and broccoli, shrimp, almond cookies and pop – We all left stuffed!
Week 3 was a walking tour of Chicago’s “front door,” Millennium Park. Our private guides provided us with a tour of the popular features including the Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate (the bean), and the Buckingham Fountain. For our meal, we enjoyed an outdoor picnic of sandwiches, chips, and Gatorade. It was really cool to enjoy a picnic dinner in the heart of Chicago’s downtown!
Our group enjoyed a guided tour of Chicago’s branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. Here we got to see a million dollars out on display (yes, it was real!). There was a GIANT cube with $1,000,000 in singles, a pile of $20 bills that added up to $1,000,000 and a briefcase with a million in $100 bills. Students had a chance to have their photo taken with the briefcase. We also had a chance to see historic money dating back to Colonial America (if its rare, its worth something!). We finished up with pizza at the Chicago’s famous Giordano’s!
What do we have planned for the coming weeks? Stay tuned to our blog and get the scoop on the coolest student field trips in Chicago!