Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to announce the launch of Summer for Change (S4C), the City’s groundbreaking summer program for 400 vulnerable youth most likely to be impacted by gun violence. S4C is a six-week program that will provide youth with access to individualized mentoring, group-based therapy, educational opportunities, enrichment activities and more.
“After the final school bell rings and the school year ends, our commitment to the growth, enrichment and safety of Chicago’s children continues,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Summer for Change will offer high school students meaningful activities and programs to participate in, providing the sense of safety, service and opportunity over summer break.”
Jointly delivered by Youth Advocate Programs and Children’s Home and Aid, the CPS-led program will include individualized mentoring for four hours per day, group-based trauma-informed therapy multiple times a week, enrichment activities such as field trips, community service projects and a variety of recreational activities. Each participant will also receive stipend of up to $200 per week and a free lunch every day. Summer for Change programming and activities will incur no cost to participants or their families.
“This groundbreaking six-week program will ensure hundreds of youth who need access to resources the most are engaged, supported, and learning during the summer,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The safety and well-being of youth is always our top priority, and CPS and the City of Chicago are fully committed to expanding opportunities for our students and keeping them safe and engaged in meaningful activities.”
In addition to Summer for Change, Mayor Lightfoot joined city departments and community leaders to expand on Chicago’s citywide plan for keeping youth engaged in safe, fun and productive activities as CPS kicks off its summer break starting tomorrow. A new comprehensive resource guide, called “YOUR CHI” provides students and their families with a robust menu of information on positive programming and events, youth health services, learning opportunities, and free summer meals being hosted throughout the city for children of all ages this summer season.
“Summer is here and what better place to spend it than our parks,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly. “In addition to welcoming more than 40,000 campers, we are excited to offer a vast menu of sports, cultural and recreation opportunities for our children, teens and families.”
In “YOUR CHI,” families can find information on a wide range of programs and events provided by the city’s departments and agencies available in parks, schools, and community centers near their home. Each summer in Chicago, youths in grades K-12 can enroll in a wide range of athletic and cultural opportunities, including thousands of sports leagues and clubs provided by the Chicago Park District, to the more than 1,200 parks citywide that are hosting entertainment and movies series in the parks.
"Ensuring the safety of Chicago's youth will undoubtedly serve as one of our top priorities this summer," said Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson. "All CPS students and families have the right to a safe and enjoyable summer, and we intend on leveraging every public safety resource at our disposal to ensure the safety for those engaging in the various summer programs and events throughout Chicago."
Using the City’s new summer guide, families can also find information on CPS’ LunchStop summer meal program, which provides free lunch to children ages 1-18 at 100 outdoor community sites throughout Chicago. Students and their parents can also gain information about where to sign up for behavioral or mental health services.
In preparation for the summer months, Mayor Lightfoot directed the city’s departments and agencies – including Chicago Park District, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago and the Department of Family and Support Services – to join with delegate agencies to collaborate on programming to ensure a safe and fun alternative in every community. Citywide, programming has been scaled for the critical months of June through August, when violence has historically peaked in Chicago.
Youth and their parents or guardians can explore the YOUR CHI guide online at https://www.chicago.gov/summer or by calling 311.