May 5, 2010

City And Sister Agencies Offer More Than 250,000 Opportunities To Keep City's Young People Safe This Summer

World Sport Chicago Will Use $6.1 Million Left Over from Chicago 2016 To Provide Events and Activities for Youth
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The City and its sister agencies and partners will provide more than 250,000 educational, athletic and other opportunities to keep Chicago’s young people safe and constructively occupied this summer, Mayor Richard M. Daley said.

“Now, as the end of school approaches, I want to remind our parents, teachers, government agencies, religious and community groups, the private sector and the news media -- that each of us have a responsibility to end the cycle of violence that plagues too many of our neighborhoods and takes our children from us,” Daley said in a news conference held at Howe School of Excellence, 720 N. Lorel Av.

“This violence – whose victims include many of our young people -- only makes me more determined to ensure that, as a city, we're doing all we can to give our children positive opportunities to help keep them out of harm's way,” he said.

The Mayor said the 250,000 opportunities are about 35,000 less than last summer, which reflects both the difficult economy and the absence of one-time-only federal stimulus support.

Daley said that this summer, some of the most exciting new programs are being offered in partnership with World Sport Chicago (WSC), which is the organization that grew out of the Chicago 2016 effort to promote the development of recreational and competitive sports among young people.

He announced that $6.1 million left over from the Chicago 2016 effort – most of it raised from the business community – will be used to support World Sport Chicago’s programs.

Almost 12,000 young people will be involved in a series of summer events and activities organized by WSC, including several programs being offered for the first time: 

  • In partnership with the Chicago Wrestling Coaches Association, WSC will hold the first annual Mayor’s Wrestling Festival at Navy Pier on June 5.
  • And in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District and the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation, WSC will help expand the wrestling program in the Public League by operating six wrestling camps this summer.
  • The NBC Fitness Festival June 5th and 6th will give young people a chance to participate in Sport Fit, which helps connect them to the sports that best fit their physical strengths and personal interests.
  • And World Sport Chicago is working with Chicago Park District to launch new archery and weightlifting programs in parks across the city this summer.

WSC is again supporting USA Gymnastics by holding the Chicago Cup International Rhythmic event at Broadway Armory, June 23 – 27 and is working with the Chicago Park District to conduct two youth clinics at the Armory to offer Chicago young people an opportunity to get engaged in and learn about rhythmic gymnastics.

The new programs build on the track and swimming programs World Sport Chicago offered last summer and will offer again this year.

World Sport Chicago has already exposed more than 30,000 young people to sports through its programs, has created a program to help Chicago young people prepare for college and involved local Olympians and Paralympians in mentoring young people in schools and local sports programs.

“All these initiatives will continue and others will be established as a legacy of our Chicago 2016 efforts,” Daley said.

The City’s sister agencies are also offering numerous programs for young people this summer:

  • After School Matters will offer Chicago teens almost 7,000 opportunities in the arts, sports, technology, science and communications. These programs are designed to encourage young people to explore a variety of career options, gain workplace skills, engage in structured activities and remain safe. 
  • The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services will offer more than 24,000 opportunities, including about 14,000 summer jobs for young people in both the private sector and with the City and its sister agencies.
    DFSS has a new Gang Intervention and Prevention Initiative this summer that works with young people ages 13 to 18 who are gang-involved or who are on the fringe of taking part in risky behavior. The program will provide support services from social workers, counselors and job coaches.
  • The Chicago Park District will offer summer programs and summer camps to about 90,000 youth, including the new “Once Upon a Day Camp” activity guide with 30 days of activities focused on summer reading.
  • The CAPS Program and the Police Department will offer a variety of programs that teach life skills and provide a positive experience with law enforcement to more than 1,700 young people.
  • Chicago Housing Authority will offer day camps, overnight camping and jobs with community-based organizations to more than 4,000 young people who are CHA residents.
  • Chicago Public Schools will offer programs and opportunities for almost 75,000 young people. These include the Freshman Connection program, the Summer Bridge program, language programs and many others.
  • And the Chicago Public Library will offer summer opportunities to 50,000 young people. “Reading is Art-Rageous” is the theme of the Library’s 2010 Summer Reading Program, which is in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago.

Daley said this summer’s programs build on the many other steps the City has taken to put its young people on the right track and away from gangs in the first place and to better protect every student from violence at school and on the way to and from school.

These have included:

  • Using $30 million in federal economic stimulus funds to reduce school violence and create “cultures of calm” in 38 high schools with high concentrations of students at-risk of being involved with violence.
  • Deploying Police Department resources more strategically to troubled schools at dismissal times, and
  • Using $1 million in proceeds from the City’s parking meter lease agreement to fund at least 500 jobs and other after school opportunities for young people.  
  • The Mayor urged parents and guardians to find out more about the summer programs by visiting the City’s website – -- or by calling 311.

“We can’t be with our children every minute to keep them out of harm’s way. But we can create positive activities that give them an alternative to the streets and help set them on the right track in life,” Daley said.

“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.

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