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The Community Context Paper: Project Syncere 

Webster Vital

DePaul University



Project SYNCERE (Supporting Youth's Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments) is a nonprofit organization that aims to spread awareness of STEM programming to youth in under-served communities.  The organization was established in 2009, by three African American men who understood early on the importance of technology and education.  They’re love and passion for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and their dissatisfaction for the lack of diversity within their fields led them to the start of Project SYNCERE where they have and will continue to encourage students to embrace the STEM fields.


The organization has had a tremendous impact in the lives of many students within the North Kenwood community and nationwide. The organization since launched has served more than 4,000 students throughout the nation. Students and parents have been able to see increase in academic performances based on the innovative problem-based curriculum that has been established at Project SYNCERE to help change the way science and math are taught at many schools. Project SYNCERE mission is to see growth in the number of minority, female, and under-served students purse careers in the fields of STEM. This is the main reasons why the organization is attempting to spread awareness within the community by providing a curriculum for students in grades K-12 that integrates STEM through the use of project-based learning. Students also gain professional and leadership development, personal growth, and mentorship opportunities through the organization.   


History of Kenwood:

Kenwood is a well-defined community area south-east of the City of Chicago Loop. It was once one of Chicago’s most affluent neighborhoods. During the early 1860s, Kenwood had become a fashionable place for many of Chicago’s most prominent residents.  With increased transportation improvement such as the Illinois Central and residents of note included Lyman Trumbull, US Senator; President Lincoln’s ambassador to Prussia; and William Rand, of the Rand McNally map corporation. The neighborhood continued to prosper through the 1880s and 1890s. In the early 1930s, there were signs of deterioration within the community. As the northern half of Kenwood began to populate with transient residents, the southern half began to slowly move elsewhere. During the 1940 to 1960, there had been an influx of African Americans settling in the area as a result of the community deterioration. During the late 1990s, families were moving back into the neighborhood. Today, Kenwood contains Chicago landmarks districts and have received national attention as the home of the United State President Barack Obama.


 It may seem that the Kenwood community might be well off, but that’s not the case. There are many communities just a few blocks west and south of the Kenwood neighborhood that are in need of dire assistance such as the Oakland community. Since the 1970s, the community experienced a declining economic base. Public housing projects such as Ida B. Wells, once the pride of the community, become crime-infested. Theatre within the heart of Oakland became the headquarters of the notorious EL Rukn street gang. The city of Chicago demolished buildings and vacant lots were left scattered throughout the community. Oakland’s average income fell below the poverty level as middle-class residents moved further south.  The location where Project SYNCERE is situated helps bring students from all walks of life into a community where they can engage in STEM-based activities and bring back lessons learns to their community schools in order to continue the organizations mission to spread awareness to other students in the community.  One major issue that is seen in the history of the neighborhood(s), is that there is lack of students who are minorities, females, and under-served that are pursuing careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Community Leaders:

The leaders of Project SYNCERE consist of five members and numerous staff members. Of the five members that form the administration for the organization, three of them are the co-founders who see this organization to be of necessity for the Kenwood community and its surrounding location s. Each member on the administration, play a vital role to function and success of the organization. Members have skill sets in finance, programing, leading, and of course STEM careers. The leaders saw diversification in their fields and had a vision that will attempt to encourage and motivate more students to enter the STEM field. 


Community Assets:

Project SYNCERE receive numerous assistance from partnering schools where the organization host In-school and After-school programs in order to provide students valuable learning opportunities throughout the academic school year. Many organizations such, DePaul Egan Urban Center, assist to help the organization fulfill its mission. Donors have been a great at contributing tools, money and required text so that the organization could continue to provide program that help students discover first-hand how technology and engineering relate to the real world. “Those activities promote and build student’s leadership, teamwork, and communication, analytical and critical thinking skills”(Project SYNCERE 2013). Thus far the program continues to excel with over 100% graduation rate among all Project SYNCERE high school seniors, increased 62% of students participants interest wanting to pursue a career in technology and serving over 4,000 students at more than 35 elementary schools and 4 high schools throughout Chicago.      





Project SYNCERE [Online image]. (2013). Retrieved October 8, 2013 from http://www.projectsyncere.org/





Project SYNCERE [Online image]. (2013). Retrieved October 8, 2013 from http://www.projectsyncere.org/





Project SYNCERE [Online image]. (2013). Retrieved October 8, 2013 from http://www.projectsyncere.org/





Kenwood (2013). Kenwood. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/689.html


Project SYNCERE | Home (2013).  Project SYNCERE | Home. Retrieved from http://www.projectsyncere.org/

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.