Christy Beighe-Byrne: Chicagoan of the Week
Christy Beighe-Byrne believes the saying, “a little goes a long way,” and that’s what inspired her to become the director of a Chicago-based mentoring program. Chicago Youth Center, the organization Christy works for, provides a volunteering opportunity under-recognized among charities, but the unique program has proven to impact the lives our Chicago youth in great lengths.
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free Millennium Park concerts, some Chicagoans are spending a small portion of their summer as a positive role model for a child or teenager lacking one in their lives.
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The Making Mentoring Meaningful (MMM) program is designed to do just that through assigning a mentor to children who have at least one parent in prison.
By going on a mere two outings a month with a mentee, statistics have shown this is enough to lead a MMM child on a positive path as they enter their adolescent years, and more importantly, prevent the cycle of the offspring of jailed parents ending up in the same situation as their parents. Being a tutor myself to inner city kids, I can’t help but relate to the very cliché statement, “I’m learning from them more than they are learning from
“It’s about empowering the child and making meaningful and lasting matches,” says Christy. She
also noted that each mentor has their own unique expectations from the experience, but the results of mentorship have been across the board. The mentee develops a higher level of respect for him/herself and those around them, they become better caregivers, and it improves their behavior, communication skills, and
It’s been a warm eight years since Christy decided to call Chicago home. Upon graduating from the University of Chicago’s graduate program, Christy reached out and got herself involved with the Chicago Youth Center. She puts her whole heart toward any
project she endeavors, so she’s passionate about finding mentors who are ambitious and confident enough to ultimately allow these young kids a new perspective. When she’s not making matches between mentors and mentees, Christy enjoys all the low-key amenities Hyde Park has to offer. Fireworks after White Sox games are also a favorite of hers, as she loves being in the midst of all
the energy after Saturday night baseball — “magical,” she calls it. Christy would like to remind fellow Chicago natives and future residents to not be afraid to “be that tourist — get out, ride the trolleys, see the museums, and explore the city!”
If you haven’t already heard, philanthropy in Chicago is as trending as Justin Bieber. And this
time around, you won’t be judged for jumping on the bandwagon. For more information on how to become a part of Making Mentoring Meaningful, visit www.chicagoyouthcenters.org
–Tanya Chen, UPchicago Contributor