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