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:
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:
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:
“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.
# # #