Mayor Emanuel Expands Mentoring Services For Another 660 Youth, Nearing Halfway Point To Overall Mentoring Goal

January 3, 2017

Expanding mentoring through proven community providers to serve 660 more youth next month; putting city halfway toward goal of reaching youth in areas of greatest need

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced yet another investment to further his three-year plan to deliver mentoring for 7,200 boys and young men in high-risk neighborhoods. This latest investment will expand mentoring services across 12 existing community providers to serve an additional 660 youths beginning January 2017. Coupled with a steady series of recent investments, this expansion of school-based mentoring puts the city more than halfway toward its goal of providing mentoring for the city’s most at-risk youth in 22 target community areas by 2018.

“The City of Chicago will never turn our back on our youth, which is why we made a promise to increase opportunities that will allow our young men to succeed and to get their lives on track,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Every investment that we make in quality mentoring services is a down payment on our goal of reaching the youth who need us most with opportunities that will prepare them for success in school today and a brighter future tomorrow.”

To serve another 660 youths starting next month, the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will amend existing contracts of 12 established community-based agencies with a proven ability to deliver mentoring services. All 12 of the agencies currently participate in the Mayor’s Mentoring initiative and have a presence in one the 22 pre-identified community areas—suiting them to deliver a mix of in- and out-of-school programs to meet the needs of boys in 8, 9 and 10th grades in the coming weeks.

A core component of the public safety vision laid out earlier this year, the Mayor’s three-year mentoring plan lays out a clear path to provide the city’s most at-risk youth with the support they need to remain on-track to graduate high school and to avoid involvement in the criminal justice system. The plan is focused to immediately reach the city’s most at-risk youth: 7,200 8th, 9th and 10th graders from 22 of our city’s highest poverty and highest violence neighborhoods.

To meet this goal, the city has begun expansion of mentoring in the following ways: through an initial investment to expand the proven Becoming A Man (BAM) program that brought the total of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students served city-wide to 4,080, which includes mentoring for approximately 2,650 target youth in the target neighborhoods through CPS this year; through a recently-launched RFP to build capacity by 1,000, and with an expansion of existing providers to serve 660 young males announced today.

“We know that mentoring fosters caring and supportive relationships and the skills that will help our young people thrive, which is why we are thrilled to reach more youth through with these critical services through an expansion with our existing partners,” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler.

Today’s expansion harnesses a $1.5 million city budget investment to advance the Mayor’s plan through the work of existing delegate agencies. Each agency runs their own unique program, tailored to the community or communities in which they serve. While programs may vary in approach, all have demonstrated a proven ability to support youth participants in develop skills that allow them to avoid anti-social and criminal behaviors, keeping them on track for educational success.

"Mayor Emanuel’s vital commitment to mentoring will enable us to expand and strengthen our support to the youth of North Lawndale and make a brighter future for Chicago," said Betty Green, Executive Director of Chicago Lawndale AMACHI, one of the expansion agencies. "This investment will allow us to continue our work in the community while assisting youth with personal challenges they face regarding peer pressure, family issues, personal development and academic difficulties."

This latest expansion will serve youth residing in the following target communities: Austin, Chatham, East Garfield, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Grand Boulevard, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, South Chicago, South Lawndale, Washington Park, West Garfield Park, West Pullman, and Woodlawn.

Expansion agencies include: A Safe Haven; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Chicago Child Care Society; Chicago Youth Programs; Chicago Lawndale Amachi Mentoring Program; Life Directions; Metro Squash; New Life Centers; Passages Alternatives; Phalanx; The Black Star Project; and the True to Life Foundation.

The expansion to serve 660 more youth follows the recently-launched Request for Proposal (RFP), designed to recruit new organizations with a demonstrated presence in the targeted communities to join the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative and to help fulfill the target goal by 2019. The RFP process seeks community-based partners to link 1,000 youth to caring adults and quality mentoring over the course of next year. Grantees for the RFP are expected to be notified in March of 2017, to begin serving an additional 1,000 youth by the next school year.

Mentorship has been proven to be an effective strategy for increasing high school graduation rates and reducing violence. Research by the University of Chicago Crime Lab suggests the promise of this approach for improving the life outcomes of vulnerable young men. The Crime Lab found that BAM reduces violent crime arrests among participants by 45-50 percent, and increases on-time high school graduation rates by 19 percent.

Under the Mayor’s leadership, the city has steadily increased its investment year over year in mentoring and other youth programs to address some of the most urgent needs facing the city: keeping youth safe, improving school outcomes and reducing crime. Through investments in programs like BAM alone, the city has supported their expansion to more than 40 schools, serving an additional 3,500 students, since 2011.

Mayor's Office Official Press Release

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