By Kristin Boza
Beacon Therapeutic Center, which for many years offered services to help at-risk youth on the south side, closed over the summer. Fortunately, UCAN, a social service agency providing many similar programs, was able to step in and take over and insure that the services provided at Beacon Therapeutic Day School, 107th and Longwood Dr., continue at UCAN Academy.
UCAN Academy absorbed the more than 40 teachers, teacher assistants and other staff as UCAN employees and is providing continuity in the education of more than 100 students. The main UCAN Academy, 3110 W. Grand Ave., is an innovative 1st through 12th grade year-round therapeutic day school and is one of the largest and most-recognized therapeutic day schools in the area.
“UCAN, outside of our expansion through the Beacon program, has been a part of the Beverly community for the last 12 years at our location at 100th and Western,” said UCAN President & CEO Zack Schrantz. “UCAN has been around for 148 years, providing a full range of services to youth and families through child welfare programs, residential foster care, independent living, transitional living, counseling, youth development services and programs, foster care case management, and a teen parenting services network. [This expansion] adds to the continuum that we can offer on the south side, especially in the Beverly/Morgan Park area.”
Schrantz said that UCAN’s goal is to continue to provide the best education possible to Beacon students, including the unique vocational, arts and technology instruction that Beacon was known for. “We’re really looking to bring together the best of both schools. UCAN has resources like teen parent support and youth leadership programming that we look to offer the students at the former Beacon school,” Schrantz said. “We look for ways to strengthen youth and families across all of our different programs. Beacon parents should see more and more support and resources offered in the coming weeks, months and years.”
While UCAN’s leadership has focused on smoothly transitioning staff, students and families at Beacon, Schrantz said they are also looking forward to finding new ways to engage the residents of Beverly/Morgan Park, who historically provided generous donations and community support to the school. To find out more, visit UCANChicago.org.