May 12, 2009

Chicago's Summer Programs For Young People

Mayor Daley at the Chicago Summer Jobs for Youth Program
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley today asked Chicagoans to make sure the City’s young people take advantage of 287,000 educational, recreational and employment opportunities for youth offered by the City and its sister agencies this summer.

"Nothing is more important than Chicago's children – their education and their safety. Even one child harmed or killed by violence is unacceptable," Daley said in a news conference held at the Chicago Park District running track at 6153 S. Stony Island Av., in Jackson Park

"We ask our city's parents to enroll their children in the many positive alternatives and activities offered by the City and its partners to keep them safe and constructively occupied," he said.

The Mayor reiterated that the problem is that the gang bangers and drug dealers who are behind most of the harm that's done to Chicago’s children don't value life and are willing to harm anyone who stands between them and their greed.

"Our parents and guardians -- along with community and faith-based groups -- share the responsibility for protecting our children. We're in this fight against gangs, guns and drugs together," he said.

The 287,000 summer activities openings is about the same number the City provided last summer, Daley said.

That number includes the 19,000 paid summer jobs with the City and its sister agencies and other partners that were announced three weeks ago. (The application deadline for the summer jobs program has been extended from May 29 to June 19. For more information, www.youthreadychicago.org/

This summer, one of the most exciting new programs is being offered in partnership with World Sport Chicago, the organization that works closely with Chicago 2016 to promote the development of recreational and competitive sports among young people, the Mayor said.

The biggest of these initiatives is the new Summer Track program, which runs from June 21 to July 25 and which hopes to bring Olympians to the city to conduct track clinics for both coaches and young participants.

"In addition to putting young people in a fun, active and safe environment, the track program will teach our children the values that sport in general can offer – dedication, fair play, fitness and self-confidence," Daley said.

The free track program is just one of several events organized by World Sport Chicago that will provide positive opportunities for all young people this summer:

  • June 4-7, 200 athletes from 20 countries will take part in the Pan American Weightlifting competition at the University of Illinois-Chicago. We will offer free weightlifting clinics onsite for our young people.
  • July 28-August 2, the City will host an international youth soccer tournament for teams from ten countries, and World Sport Chicago and tournament athletes will host free clinics and tournaments in neighborhoods around the city.
  • June 18-21 an International Rhythmic Gymnastics competition will be held at Broadway Armory.
  • August 1 youth teams from around the Midwest will compete in Junior Beach Volleyball and team handball competitions at North Avenue Beach. WSC encourages young people 8-18 to organize their own teams and compete.

"Together, Chicago 2016 and World Sport Chicago have already exposed close to 10,000 of Chicago's young people to new sports through clinics and other events that help Chicago's youth stay engaged in positive activities and give them the chance to meet Olympians," Daley said.

"We believe that sports can be a real agent of social change and World Sport Chicago is helping us create that legacy while at the same time providing positive ways for our young people to use their time," he said.

Daley also outlined other new programs to be offered for young people this summer:

  • Chicago Public Schools will offer a new workshop to help graduating 8th graders improve their writing skills. These students will also have a chance to take part in the "Freshman Connection" program that started last summer and which helps them make the transition to high school.
  • The Chicago Park District will offer new camp opportunities targeting specific age groups from toddlers to teen-agers.
  • The CAPS program has a new summer initiative called "Cops Interacting and Targeting Youth" sports program, which pairs police officers and community volunteers with students for sports and mentoring activities.
  • And the theme of the summer programs at Chicago Public Libraries is "Land of Lincoln." All 79 branches will have collections and programs focused on Abraham Lincoln and the State of Illinois.

Those are in addition to a wide range of existing programs offered by city departments and their sister agencies:

  • After School Matters will offer Chicago teens 8,200 opportunities in the arts, sports, technology, science, and communications this summer.

In addition to the young people who will be placed in jobs in the public and private sectors through our Summer Jobs Program, our Department of Family and Support Services will sponsor educational and recreational programming for 6,000 young people. Deadlines for application vary. See www.afterschoolchicago.org/

  • The Chicago Park District will offer a total of 90,000 spaces at more than 200 parks throughout the city. Children can play sports, take field trips, study nature, learn baby-sitting skills and many other things.
  • The Chicago Public Schools has 105,000 total slots this summer. In addition to its regular summer school programs, CPS will offer bilingual programs for children who are learning English and programs for students who are entering kindergarten this fall, but haven't had any pre-school.
  • The CAPS program has 4,000 slots in such programs as fishing, aviation and sports.

The Chicago Housing Authority will have Summer Day Camps for 3,000 children at 190 parks throughout the city, at a cost of only $10 per participant. CHA will conduct Summer Enrollment fairs May 13, 14 and 18-21 at various locations. See www.youthreadychicago.org/

  • And the Summer Nutrition Program will serve more than 1 million meals this summer through delegate agencies such as Chicago Housing Authority, the Park District and community and faith-based organizations.

"Providing these activities is more important this summer than ever before," Daley said.

"With families under more stress than ever because of the economy, we have to use every tool available to give our children alternatives to hanging out -- on street corners or places they shouldn't be in the first place," he said.

(In addition to the websites mentioned above, information on summer programs is also available by calling 311.)