When Kerry and Sarah first started the Pitch In mentorship program, they wanted it to be different than most mentor programs. They decided that in order for their program to really be effective, there would need to be more of a commitment from the people who were volunteering their time in order to truly make a difference in the lives of children at Lawndale Community Academy. One such mentor who has been here from the beginning really grasps the importance of being with the kids for more than just a couple weeks out of the year.
Tricia Hampe has been with the Pitch In program since its derivation about three years ago. As a Glen Ellyn native and a Chicago resident for most of her adult life, Tricia has fully immersed herself in all aspects of the city. She tries to enjoy as much of Chicago as she can, whether that be roaming the outdoor festivals, cheering on our beloved Cubs, or volunteering her time in North Lawndale. When asked about what sets Pitch In apart from other programs, she explained that it was different than any other mentor program she’s been involved in, “The impact that you can have over the long term versus the short term is so much bigger. The people genuinely care for the kids we are working with day in and day out as well as the community of Lawndale. So many people come together to make a commitment to the program as well as the foundation.” For some people, a two-year commitment can seem very daunting, but she says it will be the most worthwhile thing that you will do.
If you have the opportunity to spend time in the Pitch In room while Tricia is with her kids, it is easy to see why they love her so much. She comes in every Tuesday and leaves everything at the door. All her time and attention is focused on these kids for the 2 hours she is able to be with them. She knows her kids; she knows their aspirations for the future, the everyday struggles they go through, and the potential that each and every one of them has. Since Tricia has been with the program for so long, she has been able to see the children grow day-to-day, week-to-week, and year-to-year. She talks very fondly of her time with her Pitch In kids, saying that it gives her so much joy to be able to explore new concepts and activities with them.
This past June, Tricia was a huge contributor to the first “Pitch In Carnival” that took place at the school. She set up games and organized prizes for the kids that came and it was a huge success large in part to her. The kids left with the biggest smiles as they showed off their winnings to each other and to their families. She knows exactly what to do in order to make a positive impact, not only on the children, but also on their families and the surrounding community as well.
Tricia has already made such a huge impact on Pitch In and we cannot wait to see all the amazing things that will come to her and the kids in the future, “I knew the first time I sat down at Table 4 with my Pitch In students that this program was going to be a game changer for both of us. My appreciation and amazement of the kids and how much they are growing builds week over week. Being a part of their lives and a mentor with Pitch In is one of the best decisions I have made.”