Each February, Black History Month honors the legacy, achievements, and contributions made by African Americans throughout United States history. The annual month of recognition, which holds roots to organizing efforts by Carter G. Woodson in 1915, was made official by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1976. Upon his proclamation, Ford shared that Black History Month was meant to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” At SOS Illinois, we pay special tribute to Black History Month as we instill within our youth a spirit of reverence for the struggles and accomplishments of black leaders, whose dedication to their fields of study and work continue to inspire our communities.
This year, we will honor Black History Month with special engagement programs, as well as a social media awareness series.
STEAM Expo Honors Black History Month
A crucial component of the Early Leaders tier of the College Bound and Beyond Program is STEAM education for children ages 12-16. Our Annual STEAM Expo – previously called STEM Expo – allows for an immersive, hands-on experience with exciting areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Alongside our partners, including the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and Swissôtel Chicago, the STEAM Expo helps us reinforce our STEAM curricula, grow our educational programming, and deliver memorable developmental opportunities for youth in foster care. This year, our STEAM Expo is themed around Black History Month, offering youth a glimpse into the groundbreaking, revolutionary impact of Black leaders across STEAM industries and fields.
While engaging in activities at the STEAM Expo, each child will receive biographical information about notable black scientists, innovators, and creatives that helped to transform the future with their contributions. In addition, older youth will hear from current professionals in STEAM-related industries through a “speed dating” style career-building activity. For the teens in our care, this workshop will help them in forging their paths towards furthering the legacy left by the black leaders they learned about earlier in the day.
Black History Month Social Media Awareness
In addition to the STEAM Expo, we will be sharing facts, statistics, and words of wisdom from figures in black history across all our social media platforms in February. In particular, we will be promoting black leaders in education, child welfare, and foster care who have helped pave the way for the mission and model of SOS Illinois. By doing so, we hope to empower our community, friends, and followers to continue working for racial justice, child rights and welfare, and the future of the foster care system. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest to help us celebrate this special month!