Tag Archives: Chicago

Empowering Youth Through Travel

Right now in Uvita, Costa Rica there is a group of inner-city, Chicago teens exploring, learning, and serving abroad for the very first time. Do you remember your first time abroad? The excitement, the culture shock, the challenges of language, the sensory overload. These students are experiencing all of that through the incredible efforts of a non-profit called Empowering Youth Through Travel. Started in 2010 by Jessica Mann, EYTT just left yesterday for their very first overseas program after 6 months of training in Chicago.

In her blog post on June 11th, Jessica highlighted some of the students who were about to venture to Costa Rica:

For one of our student’s, Dushun, this will be the first time he steps on a plane let alone outside of the country. Can you imagine what this experience will be like for him? Dushun lives in Chicago’s Austin community and will go from our concrete city streets to Uvita’s lush land, surrounded by the rainforest.

What will this experience be like for Yael, a soft spoken young lady from Cicero, IL, who is passionate about nature, yet has never left the country or strayed far from her close knit family? She will be venturing off to an unknown part of the world, stay with a family she’s never met, and see things she has only read about in books.

And for Chris, a quiet, young man of choice words who’s world currently revolves around soccer. He will soon have to step outside of his comfort zone by introducing and immersing himself into a lively, foreign community.

For all of us who have had the privilege of traveling abroad, we are more than aware of all the benefits and challenges in store for these students. But I’m pretty confident to say that the experience will be life changing for them. If you are interested in supporting EYTT and what they are doing to help inner-city youth explore the world, be sure to check out their website.

If you know similar programs in other states or countries, please share!


Global from Chicago

On Saturday I left sunny San Diego for a long weekend with great friends in Chicago. Although I’m a lot further than 30 miles from home, the trip has still been packed with fun and noteworthy cultural finds. Should you find yourself in Chicago check out some of the following:

Drake Hotel With the gorgeous weather, we found ourselves at the beach right next to the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago.  This weekend it seemed to be the gathering spot for Brits celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. The Drake is famous for its high tea in its Palm Court.  Served daily, the high tea is definitely a cultural experience worth the small splurge. Even the Queen approves – she was entertained in the Drake back in 1958.

The Paris Club
One of the newer chic places in Chicago happens to be of the French persuasion. For dinner on Saturday we headed to the Paris Club to experience a “French awakening” by Chef Joho. It was a little loud but the food was worth having a yell across the table. Goat cheese pâtè, scallops in butter, and gruyere fondue made up my – dinner. Check out the more thorough review of our dinner  this Thursday at Chewable Chicago.

Julius Meinl
And finally today I sit in this lovely European style cafe in Southport Corridor. With only locations in Vienna and Chicago, this cafe has managed to maintain European charm in the middle of an American neighborhood. In fact as I sit here, conversations in French surround me. Love it! The coffee is superb and so are the cookies.

P.S. Blogging from an iPad is a pain.