In-person experiences are back in action! Thursday, September 30 marked our first Embarc Experience Day in almost two years. The entire Chicago Tech Academy – nearly 400 students – left their school building and engaged in a set of brand-new and old favorite Embarc Experiences with Brooklyn Boulders, The Forge, Richardson Farms, and more. For many of these young people and teachers, yesterday was their first-ever Embarc experience. And even more freshman, sophomores, and juniors across the city are setting foot in their schools for the very first time.

One of the biggest challenges for young people throughout the pandemic was their disconnection from each other and their schools. For schools and teachers, reconnecting young people to their school communities is critical to ensure we’re able to bring students back to the classroom and keep them there. As our team mapped out programming for this year, we knew that our experiences would matter even more because they are proven to help young people and teachers build relationships.

When students have strong, supportive relationships with peers and adults in their schools, the impact of their educational experiences is maximized. Even more, those relationships and experiences can help them heal from trauma. We’ve seen how after just three Experiences, both Embarc students and teachers say they feel more connected to each other, their peers, and their school communities. Making sure that young people across the city can access these experiences and relationships isn’t just “nice to have.” It’s necessary. And it’s part of our vision for just and equitable schools.

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