College Support



For information on CHA’s college funding support visit our CHA Scholarship and Partners in Education pages.

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CHA Residents (ages 14-20) can receive one-on-one coaching from an Education Program Specialist to support post-high school plans or to assist in continued post-secondary enrollment through S.O.A.R (Students + Opportunities+ Achievements = Results)

Think of an Education Program Specialist as an extra coach for future success that can help to:

  • FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE OR PROGRAM – identify schools and programs that are a good match and fit
  • COMPLETE APPLICATIONS – including college admissions, program and scholarship applications
  • SAVE MONEY – help to complete the FAFSA, maximize financial aid & find scholarships
  • PERSIST TO GRADUATION – help through common college ‘road blocks,’ identify internships and summer employment opportunities, build a network for future success 

This opportunity is specifically for CHA Public Housing Residents; Education Program Specialists serve region by home zip code listed below. Services through CHA’s S.O.A.R program are entirely free and participation is voluntary. If you have any questions about the program, please call (312) 786-3409 or email

Take a look at our SOAR work in our Spring 2021 SOAR Newsletter

Complete the PROJECT SOAR Consent Form and reach out to your Education Program Specialist below!


See how CHA’s SOAR program offers one-on-one coaching from our Education Program Specialists to support post-high school plans and assist in continued post-secondary enrollment. Think of it as an extra coach for future success!



Serving Public Housing Youth Ages 14-20 at Dearborn Homes, Cabrini Area, Scattered Sites

Zip Codes include: 60607, 60610, 60613, 60614, 60616, 60622, 60624, 60625, 60626, 60630, 60634, 60639, 60640, 60641, 60642, 60644, 60645, 60646, 60647, 60651, 60656, 60657, 60660

Grant Vitale works closely with the Near Westside Community Development Corporation and the YWCA to serve SOAR youth and families.  He is committed and dedicated to supporting Chicago youth, especially youth who are first-generation college students and low-income.  As an Education Program Specialist with the CHA, he is thrilled and excited to work with SOAR youth and families to support them in achieving their academic and career goals.  Grant earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and a Minor in Marketing from Old Dominion University. 


Serving Public Housing Youth Ages 14-20 at Oakwood Shores, Lake Park, Horner Westhaven, West End, City Gardens, ABLA, Lawndale & Bridgeport

Zip Codes include: 60608, 60609, 60612, 60615, 60623, 60653

Ashley Thompson works closely with Near Westside Community Development Corporation and Centers for New Horizon to implement presentations and resources for young residents to learn about post-secondary options. She is passionate about community engagement & providing young people with opportunities for educational and professional development. Her goal is to continue the work of encouraging students to dream and plan for their lives ahead. Ashley earned a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) and a Masters in Educational Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Ashley Ryan

Serving Public Housing Youth Ages 14-20 at Altgeld Gardens, Wentworth Gardens, Trumbull Park Homes, Washington Park and Scattered Sites

Zip Codes include: 60609, 60615, 60617, 60619, 60620, 60621, 60628, 60629, 60632, 60633, 60636, 60637, 60638, 60643, 60649, 60652, 60655, 60827

Ashley Ryan serves Metropolitan Family Services, Employment & Employer Services and Scattered Sites FamilyWorks providers. Within her 5 years of experience, she has worked with youth to prepare them for leadership, college and career counseling, financial aid awareness and youth development. Her education portfolio includes a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Science with an emphasis in Hospitality and Hotel Management and a Master of Science in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration with an emphasis in Event Management from Western Illinois University. Ashley is excited to work with students and help them S.O.A.R to college and career success!


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