In Charkita Moore’s household, education is a family affair. KeShaun, 11 years old, and his big brother Lorenzo, 13 years old, have lived and learned at Mercy Housing’s Lavergne Courts since 2001.
“Charkita is working hard to get her Associates Degree and the boys both attend Chicago Jesuit Academy (CJA), a wonderful neighborhood prep school,” said Whitney Nash, Resident Services Manager at Lavergne Courts. “Chicago Jesuit is a 5th through 8th grade, all-day academy which teaches our little boys how be strong, young men and readies them for high school and beyond.”
Both boys attended Chicago Public Schools before enrolling in CJA. While KeShaun and Lorenzo were always able to maintain adequate grades with the support of their mother and Lavergne Courts’ onsite out-of-school time programming, since making the transition to CJA, they now consistently earn A’s and B’s across the academic boards.
“It was Mercy Housing that introduced Chicago Jesuit Academy to Charkita and helped get her sons enrolled,” explained Nash. “Lorenzo was doing alright, but was starting to struggle in 5th grade. I have a very close relationship with the principal and several of the teachers at CJA so, together, Charkita and I worked hard and were able to get Lorenzo open-enrolled, mid-year. His academic improvements were measurable, so when KeShaun entered 5th grade, we made sure he followed in his big brother’s footsteps.”
In spite of the fact that studies at CJA go through 6:00 p.m. each school day, both young men choose to remain active in Lavergne Court’s out-of-school time programming.
“The program has helped me a lot. My friends are there and there’s never any fighting” said KeShaun. “I like working on the computers and I like that I can borrow books. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, by myself!”
The program has had a profound impact on Lorenzo, as well, who Nash says is already growing into a smart, confident and competent young man.
“He is a supportive older brother to KeShaun and really looks out for the other kids in the neighborhood,” she said. “He’s becoming more and more of a leader every day.”
So what does life have in store for KeShaun and Lorenzo after Lavergne Court and CJA? The brothers have already set their sites on college educations. Lorenzo wants to go to Loyola University or Northwestern University and his little brother plans to attend Georgetown or Boston College.
“I know that in a few years I will be hearing about the wonderful achievements the boys are having in high school and college and their mom will be there by their sides cheering them on,” Nash said. “These are definitely two young men I don’t need to hope will succeed; I know that they will.”
Read more in the Summer/Fall 2013 issue of the Community Matters newsletter!