South Side Stories Spotlight, January 2015: Loss

Each month, Ci3’s South Side Stories project features digital stories that spotlight the lives of adolescents and young adults from the South Side of Chicago. This January, we reflect on loss. Personal loss challenges, forms, and transforms us. Grief and bereavement are particularly poignant for adolescents. In this month’s spotlight, we feature stories by Charles, Nailah and Jajuan, in which each youth grapples with family loss. Through these stories, we experience death after a long life, death after a brief life, and finally a story of premature loss due to incarceration. South Side Stories highlights the bravery of storytellers and the power of stories. As we welcome the New Year, we salute these youth, their courage, and their stories of loss and of hope.

South Side Stories January 1

In All I Have, Charles presents his perspective on the death of two family members. Charles opens with an emphasis on how important family is to him, juxtaposing images of his family against words about his struggle with his peers and community. His narration has a clear rhyme and rhythm, though peppered with sudden interruptions and pauses, not unlike those brought on by the loss of his loved ones. He fondly remembers times with his grandfather and cousin, then tells of the shock and hurt of his grandfather passing and his cousin’s suicide. Charles incessantly questions, “Why? … I just kept wondering: why?” While he clearly appreciates and loves the family he currently has, he still wonders, “Sometimes, I wish he would just bring them back.”

In In Memory Of, Nailah brings us into the intimate moment of her grandmother’s death. Nailah’s story begins at a festive time — her graduation from grammar school — before quickly turning to the hospitalization of her grandmother.  As “things got really crazy,” she jumps forward two months, when her grandmother’s health has declined. Throughout her piece, Nailah contrasts actual events with ideal events. She tells us how her grandmother felt sick and looked beautiful. She describes her grandmother’s sickness as a blur, but paints a finely detailed scene: the coldness in her grandmother’s hand, the hospital bed, and her own body on a hot day in August. Nailah struggles with the doctors and nurses coming to “help save” her grandmother in those last few moments, as “people of no significance” block Nailah’s view of someone so significant to her. The contrasts in Nailah’s story illustrate the conflict that arises when letting someone go – someone who was so lively, yet passes away quietly.

Finally, in Searching, Jajuan reminds us that loss is not only due to death. Instead, Jajuan struggles when his father is incarcerated. When his father is sent to jail, he struggles with his father’s absence, and with comprehending what his father had done. He starts us just where he started, not knowing why his father was taken away, before slowly revealing the truth he learned. “The day you went away I sat and wondered, ‘What did he do?’ They would never tell me. I guess I was too young to understand…” Despite his father’s absence, Jajuan asks his father pointed questions, and challenges his father to reflect on his actions. However, when his dad returns, Jajuan’s words and description soften dramatically, as he recognizes he is searching not only to  understand his father’s actions and imprisonment, but also for a connection to someone who he had lost.

Click here for the full January spotlight, which includes broader implications and a resource guide.

South Side Stories is made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation.

Game Changer Chicago Design Lab Still Seeking Youth for “Bystander” Photo Shoot Jan. 24

Now in development, “Bystander” is a digital game that also serves as an intervention to increase the skills, attitudes, and awareness to empower youth to help end sexual violence.

(Note: please consider submitting even if you have a conflict with the January 24 shoot date, as additional shoots may be scheduled as needed.)

Information below. Interested youth can send name, age, school and photo to Ci3 Research Specialist Erin Jaworski at


TOMORROW: Research/Playtest Opportunity for Teens at Ci3/GCC

the source hexacago
Ci3 and Game Changer Chicago are seeking high school students ages 14-18 to participate in a paid research study tomorrow night (Tuesday, Nov. 25) from 5-6:30 p.m. on The University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. The time commitment is approximately 75 minutes, during which teens will play the Hexacago board game with peers and complete two short surveys. Teens will be compensated $15 for the session. Feel free to bring a friend! Please note, parental consent will be required for all participants under 18.
If you are interested, please contact Erin Jaworski through phone (773-834-9965) or by email (  You are not officially registered until you received a confirmation email from Erin. 


Ci3 Co-Sponsors SHINE Conference Nov. 7

Seed at SHINE

Ci3 is proud to co-sponsor this year’s SHINE Conference, which will take place this Friday, November 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (969 E. 60th St., on the UChicago campus in Hyde Park). This year’s theme is “One Step Closer to HIV Elimination: Voices from the Next Generation of Advocates, Practitioners and Researchers.” Click here to learn more and register.

Game Changer Chicago Seeks Teen Playtesters This Fall


Ci3’s Game Changer Chicago Design Lab is looking for high school students (grades 9-12) to provide feedback on its board, card and digital games.

Playtesting sessions will take place Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. and every other Saturday from 12:30-2 p.m. on The University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park.

Click here to learn more and sign up.

Mentors Needed for Summer STEM Program

Ci3‘s Game Changer Chicago Design Lab is seeking graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplines to serve as mentors its second summer program, S.E.E.D.


S.E.E.D. takes the form of an extended game with a unifying narrative, played over three weeks using a variety of media, puzzles, and role-playing activities to solve Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics-related challenges (STEAM). Game play will be followed by a two-week game design workshop, in which youth will use the STEAM skills honed over the previous three weeks to create their own games.

We are seeking energetic mentors with different levels of teaching experience with knowledge and interest in areas including science, technology, game design, programming, visual art, writing, theater, storytelling, youth education, and more.

Mentors are organized into two tiers: teachers and TAs. Teachers lead groups through daily activities, keeping students focused and organized. Teaching assistants help Teachers with activities. All mentors are required to build trust, manage behavior, and maintain group cohesiveness.

Mentors will be paired (one Teacher and one Teaching Assistant per pair) and will lead one group of approximately 16 school students through STEAM based challenges and game development.

Mentors will be expected to work from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Mondays through Fridays and will receive payment for their participation. Each mentor is asked to make a six-week commitment, starting with a mandatory orientation from June 23 – 27. Project S.E.E.D. will take place from July 7 through August 8, on The University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. 

If you are interested in becoming a S.E.E.D. mentor, fill out this application by May 16th, 2014. Late applications will not be considered.