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Chicago Gifted Community Center

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Welcome to our blog.   Please note that this page is open to the public, so any comments made by members will be visible to the general public also.  At this time, only members can make comments to the posts. 

  • April 25, 2021 8:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ChiTeen Lit Fest is a for-teens-by-teens gathering that aims to provide a safe and creative space for young adults to unlock and discover their unique voice through literary arts. ChiTeen Lit Fest seeks to bring together young people from across Chicago and celebrate their talents as they express themselves through exceptional and honest art. The festival is a virtual event, for teens 13-19, and it will take place the week of May 16-22, 2021. For more details, please see here and for registration, please go here

  • April 25, 2021 6:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Cinema Chicago has just announced the most expansive CineYouth Festival lineup yet with 102 international short films streaming virtually from May 6-13! Plus, for the first time ever, CineYouth will be open to audiences around the world. Tickets remain free and open to the public, so join them for the 16th CineYouth Festival!

    This year's selection spans 14 short film programs presenting a range of genres and themes including family-friendly animation in Playtime, international comedies in You Havin' a Laugh?, and Lights, Camera, Lockdown, a selection of films made during and responding to the pandemic as experienced around the world. Watch the CineYouth 2021 trailer to preview more of the program!

    For more details about this free event, please see here

  • March 02, 2021 1:04 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    March's issue of Symmetry, dimensions of particle physics magazine contains an article on DIY physics demos.

    From the article,

    Missing visits to the museum? Or in need of some home-school activities? Check out these five do-it-yourself physics demos!

    Read the article here.

  • February 18, 2021 11:18 AM | Deleted user

    World Science Scholars, an initiative of the World Science Festival, is a two-year program that fosters and sustains a vibrant community of outstanding math students, esteemed professors, and dedicated teaching fellows. Together, they grapple with challenging ideas and explore new disciplines in which to apply their abilities. Scholars have the unparalleled opportunity to interact directly with leading experts and join a long-lasting community of peers and mentors. 

    This program is free and open to students aged 14 - 16.  Applications are due by April 15, 2021.  


  • February 12, 2021 1:52 PM | Pamela Shaw (Administrator)

    The No Malice Film Contest - The No Malice Film Contest creates a platform for Illinois youth and young adults, ages 11-21, to explore the topic of racial healing using the medium of film. The competition is co-hosted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. Deadline for entries is April 30, 2021.

    The New York Times 2nd Annual STEM Writing Contest - Ages 11-19 attending middle or high school can participate. Students choose an issue or question in science, technology, engineering, math or health, then write an engaging 500-word explanation. Contest Dates: Jan. 19-March 2, 2021.

    CyberStart America - A national program of online challenges that allow high school students to act as cyber protection agents, solving cybersecurity-related puzzles and exploring related topics such as code breaking, programming,networking, and digital forensics. March 8, 2021 is the cutoff date to qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition through CyberStart Game - participants need to complete at least 20% of Game to qualify.

  • February 11, 2021 6:23 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    An announcement from the Chicago Philharmonic via an email on February 10, 2021 . . .

    Introducing our new Music Paths video series!

    Today, we're launching a FREE seven-part video series providing career information to young aspiring musicians. Chicago Philharmonic clarinetist and UIC educator Gene Collerd leads curious students through the many career and higher educator options connected to music. It's not just limited to music performance - the world needs passionate music producers, engineers, administrators, composers, conductors, teachers, therapists, and more!

    Check out the first video here, and keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for the rest of the videos!

  • February 08, 2021 11:42 AM | Pamela Shaw (Administrator)

    Guest post by Vicki Custer of the Long Grove Center, a CGCC Professional Member

    If the young people in your life seem more stressed and anxious than usual, take them seriously: Out of all age groups, Gen Z is the most stressed out by the events of the past year. School is stressful enough and adding on a once-in-a-century pandemic surely doesn’t help. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, an annual survey on stress is raising the alarm over a mental health crisis that’s gotten worse because of the pandemic and social unrest.

    Gen-Zers reported the highest levels of stress out of all age groups, with half of respondents saying that they can’t imagine planning for the future — understandably so, the survey noted, given their development stage. The survey also found that both the young and old have mentally suffered because of multiple sources of stress, among them: COVID-19′s impact, lockdowns, isolation, and the tanking economy.

    This reality has led many parents to ask: How can I support my teen’s mental health?  

    • Encourage them to share their feeling with you. It is important when they do open up to you to display empathy by using phrases like “I understand” or “that makes sense.” Many times, teens are not looking to you to solve the problem, but rather it’s enough to know you are listening and understand what they are experiencing.

    • Provide positive feedback. During this time of constant togetherness, it may be easy to notice things you may not like from your young person. Now, more than ever, it is important to practice the Praise-to-Criticism ratio. Meaning, for every negative comment, provide praise as well. This will help teens feel that you are not just criticizing their every move. 

    • Avoid power struggles. With the world so unpredictable, they might be struggling to be in control. As difficult as it may be, empathize with their desire to assert control in a scary time, rather than attempting to fight back or overpower it. 

    • Care for yourself. Showing self-care is a good way of modeling the practice for your teen. 

    Destressing Has Never Been More Convenient 

    It is more important than ever for you and your teen to engage in activities that help your brain move from a state of stress to a state of relaxation. With both parents and their teens home a lot more often due to the pandemic, taking time to relax has become easier and more convenient with commutes to physical workplaces and school out of the way. With your extra time, try some of these brain hacks:

    Deep Breathing – Practicing deep, natural breathing several times a day. When we are anxious, we are most likely shallow breathing. To improve your breathing, try this: 

    • 4-6-8 Breathing: Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of six. Exhale through your mouth to a count of eight. Repeat for two or three times.

    Journaling – Journaling about your anxiety and stress can soothe your nerves. In addition, writing leads to clear thinking and this often helps with clearer communication. Not sure where to start? Try this:  

    • Write down the factor contributing to your stress and anxiety. Remove the page from your journal. Using deep breathing, breathe out those stressors. Then throw those pages away!

    Listening to Music - Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet music. Music can act as a distraction while also helping in exploring emotions. It can be a great aid to meditation, helping the mind from wandering. Need a song recommendation? Try this: 

    • “Weightless” by Marconi Union. This track was constructed in a way to reduce heart rates and induce a feeling of calm in listeners. 

    Use of essential oils – Essential oils are scented liquids that manufacturers derive from plants, flowers, and fruits. Research shows that aromatherapy with some essential oils may help promote relaxation and relieve anxiety. Try my favorite essential oils to relieve stress: 

    • Bergamot Orange, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Lavender, Lemon, Neroli Rose, Ylang-yiag. They will have you feeling relaxed in no time. 

    Yoga – Studies show that yoga is a very effective stress reliever by lifting your moods, allowing for increased mindfulness and increasing self-compassion. Want a free Yoga resource? Try this: 

    • Yoga Journal – a resource for free online videos to get you started.

    Life May be Different, but the Future is in Your Hands! 

    There’s no question that there will be a time when life will get back to normal for you and your Gen Zer. For now, taking time to manage your stress and anxiety daily is the most important thing you can do to support both yourself and your teen.

    If you, your teen or young adult are struggling with managing your anxiety, therapy may help. Give me a call at 847.821.1450

  • February 08, 2021 7:47 AM | Katherine Peterson (Administrator)

    Mindfulness starts with self-care, especially for parents of gifted children.  Self-care is what one needs as a unique individual to stay calm, centered and working from the useful cognitive zone of your brain.  Staying out of the “too muchness” of parenting gifted children is an art and science that starts with nurturing ourselves with the qualities unique to our own personal needs.

    You may think you have to rush through dinner preparation to get to that nagging assignment that is torturing your 10-year-old.  Or perhaps, skip a needed break to fold a load of laundry.  Or even get to bed later than is good for you in order to conduct research into summer programs for your gifted children.  These small acts add up.  Do we ever catch up?  Are we ever not looking at potential schools, programs, summer plans and ideas that suit our gifted learners?  It seems we never will catch up when our attention is almost exclusively devoted to the betterment of our gifted children, yet…..  Are we present when we’re with them?  Do we negate our own needs to get that next thing done, only to find ourselves feeling overtired, stretched thin, even resentful?  Who are we serving when we attend to everything else but our own holistic needs?  

    Where to start?  There are many suggestions good for both our children and ourselves as their caregivers.  Starting with ourselves allows us to work from a place of strength, and model the qualities we like to see in our children.  Our bodies are a treasure trove of valuable information.  You might even say there are messages, such as that ache in the low back that says, “I feel vulnerable.  Take it easy today.”   Or notice that the aura of a potential headache that declares, “Too much!  I need space and some quiet.”  Or even chronic jaw tension that seems to beg, “I’m stretched too thin!”  Every person’s body declares these messages uniquely.  What are yours?  For many of us these messages can occur quietly, (like our intuition!) and are easily overlooked.  Just like that quiet feeling you had about the movie you suspected would be too scary for your sensitive child.   And was….  Your body's messages might even be overlooked at difficult demanding times, later leading to overwhelm.  If this is a common theme for you, consider taking a short break of quiet reflection to turn inward, check in, be reminded of the soothing peace that always resides within when we take time to seek it.  Skeptical?  Experiment with what works for you.  Self care needs are unique.  Just like your gifted child.

    Life can appear to demand so much of us when we are parenting children who are often a hot mess of overachievement, deeply intense, or maddeningly perfectionistic.  Maybe you too carry some of these themes common to the gifted child?  How might we help ourselves?  Does operating on overdrive support these needs?  How do we prevent ourselves from falling off the cliff of too muchness?  Would we treat a good friend the same way we treat ourselves?  Would we ignore a friend’s cry for rest, quiet, or a moment of reflection?

    These and so many other questions will be addressed and discussed with other parents of gifted children at the CGCC Books & Virtual Coffee conversation.  Our guest speaker Michele Kane, Ed.D., is a beloved CGCC mentor, educator and co-author of our current read, “Planting Seeds of Mindfulness; Creating the Conditions to Help Gifted Kids to Flourish and Bloom Intellectually, Emotionally, and Spiritually.”  You might be surprised to learn that when you model the behavior you hope to inspire in your children you are incorporating an element of mindfulness.  This modeling is an invitation that can occur gradually and naturally over time, as you emphasize the things you need to be the calm center point of your home, who supports the balance of so many of the challenges and joys of parenting gifted children.  Please join us on Thursday, February 11 at 9 am for what is sure to be a valuable conversation on Zoom.  Sign up through the CGCC website.  

  • February 06, 2021 8:18 PM | Deleted user

    The AAAS has a Periodic Table of the Elements that contains a haiku for every element!  Point them here.

  • January 30, 2021 5:47 PM | Pamela Shaw (Administrator)

    The Illinois Association for Gifted Children offers scholarship opportunities for young people annually. In addition to receiving monetary awards up to $1000, students are also recognized at the IAGC annual conference and on the IAGC website.

    This year, the window to apply for student scholarships is open between  February 5 through June 18, 2021.

    There are two scholarships for which students can apply:

    The Carol Morreale Scholarship: This $1,000 award was established in memory of Carol Morreale, an educator, early IAGC member and tireless advocate for gifted children. Funded through memorial donations, this scholarship is given to a student in grade 1 through 8 who has demonstrated excellence in language arts or math. Financial need is a consideration.

    Distinguished Student Scholarship: This scholarship provides up to $1,000 to support a student in grade 9 through 12 in an academic endeavor. Applicants must demonstrate excellence in one or more of the following areas: visual or performing arts, academic achievement or service and leadership. Financial need is a consideration.

About cgcc

The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

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We  are an all volunteer-based organization that relies on annual memberships from parents, professionals, and supporters to provide organizers with web site operations, a registration system, event insurance, background checks, etc. 

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