People You Should Know

Cecelia Burokas

Cecelia Burokas joined CHI this past Spring to direct our Adult Learning program. Currently, the program serves between 30 and 35 of our guests with weekly, hour-long sessions with our volunteer tutors in math, computers, reading, and writing. Here is her story:

Education and learning has always been at the center of my life. As a teacher, coach and learning designer, I’ve worked with people from ages 11 to 70. Right now, I teach classes in learning and organizational change at Northwestern University, and I coach people in how to find rewarding work. When a neighbor told me about the CHI program for adult learners, I jumped at the chance to meet a new group of people who want to learn and who also have many challenges in their lives.

What I enjoy most about my work with CHI is the personal contact with our learners. I get to experience every week how they value both the learning and social aspects of their time at CHI. Even if it is only a few hours every week, CHI is one of the important anchors in their lives-and now in my life. “Readers may wonder why I I’m pictured with a parrot. That’s my blue-crowned conure Kiwi. I adopted him from a shelter 3 years ago and he is my constant companion around the house and office. Kiwi is one of three parrots in my life now, but my partner Ed and I have lived with as many as six at one time. I enjoy watching how they learn from each other and from watching and listening to us — I do very little ‘training.’ They just like to learn. “And I think that also defines our human condition. Learning enlivens us, it is an important bond with our communities, and it affirms our belief in a better future. If I had a motto, it would be “Keep learning!”

Do you have teaching skills and have an interest in becoming a volunteer tutor? Please contact us for more information.  

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Did you know?

Over 85% of the people we serve are unemployed.

Nobody should go hungry. With the Chicago Help Initiative, you don’t have to.”