Celebrating Women Leaders at After School Matters

As we continue our celebration of Women’s History Month, we invite you to meet some of the remarkable women leaders in the ASM community. These women invest their time and talents in supporting Chicago teens, encouraging them to find their passions and chase their dreams. 

Rosy Aguilar, Senior Program Manager at the Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters, exemplifies this commitment. With years of dedicated service, Rosy oversees programs at the Belmont Cragin facility and is committed to creating inclusive and impactful programming for all teens. She’s helped develop more programs and resources for Spanish-speaking teens and those with developmental disabilities.  

“I witness firsthand how impactful these programs are for Chicago’s young people and the surrounding community. They make friends, hone new skills, and have a place where they belong and are celebrated,” shared Rosy.

Christina Valencia, Senior Program Manager at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, mentors and guides teens at the Downtown facility. She collaborates with instructors to develop impactful programming that cultivates confidence, resilience, and leadership qualities in young people. Christina is also a creative writer and uses her poems to inspire and uplift teens and colleagues. 

A poem by Christina Valencia

Greetings from Gallery 37, where dreams take flight, in a space aglow with youthful might, teens gather ‘neath in a gleaming historic mosaic like, to explore, to learn, to chase their dream.

A space where arts and STEM collide, and leadership blossoms, a radiant flower, as they learn of self and others’ power.

Amidst the canvas of dreams unfurled, they sculpt their futures, a vibrant world.

For in this haven of shared grace, teens find belonging, a sacred place. Where knowledge blossoms, community ignites, and every soul finds its guiding light.

In this sanctuary of mind and soul, teens find the map to reach their goal, guided by instructors’ wisdom they embark on a grand voyage.

So let them roam, let them explore, for in this space, they’ll find much more than mere lessons taught, or tales spun, here, their brightest destinies are begun.

Erika Robinson, Senior Program Manager at After School Matters at Gately Park, brings her deep understanding of local needs to her role. Growing up in Chicago, Erika recognizes the importance of accessible programs in the Pullman and Roseland communities. She has helped grow the opportunities at the Gately Park facility, allowing more young people from the surrounding neighborhoods to participate in programs. She creates a welcoming and safe environment at Gately Park, empowering teens to explore, grow, and connect with peers.

“ASM is so much more than just an after-school program. We are guiding teens in finding their direction and encouraging them to enjoy the journey,” expressed Erika.

Thank you to these remarkable women leaders at ASM who are helping to shape the future of our communities. Their dedication, passion, and leadership inspire us to strive for a more equitable and inclusive world for future generations.