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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the final budget that he will present to the Chicago City Council will include more than $3.5 million in new investments to expand and sustain youth mentoring programs that have had demonstrable success in violence reduction, including an expansion of the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative to, for the first time, universally cover 7th grade boys. In addition to providing new funding that will allow for the expansion of One Summer Chicago and After School Matters, the Mayor will also call on the private sector to fund a universal mentorship program for 11th grade boys.
“The guidance and support of a mentor can help change the direction of a young person’s life and their family for generations,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By extending and expanding the reach of mentors across our city we will help ensure more young Chicagoans can look back at the decisions they make today with pride, and look forward to the future with confidence and hope.”
Youth mentorship has been a signature issue of the Mayor’s second term, which began with a call to action in his second inaugural address. In March, the Mayor announced that Chicago has surpassed its three-year goal of delivering universal mentoring in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades and opened enrollment for 7th grade students.
The 2019 budget will include an additional $1.38 million to expand the Initiative to universally cover mentoring for 7th grade boys. The increase will mean that an additional 600 7th graders will receive mentoring in 2019 to serve a total of 1,200 7th graders. The program will receive a total of $8.38 million in 2019.
The Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative is a core component of the City’s public safety strategy. It lays out a clear path to provide at-risk youth in 22 neighborhoods with the support they need to remain on-track to graduate high school and avoid involvement in the criminal justice system.
Research by the University of Chicago Crime Lab suggests mentorship has been proven to be an effective strategy for increasing high school graduation rates and reducing violence. In two randomized controlled trials, the Crime Lab found that BAM cuts violent-crime arrests among youth in half and boosts the high school graduation rates of participants by nearly 20 percent.
“Investing in Chicago’s youth not only help them to build a bright future for themselves, it helps strengthen our entire city,” said Lisa Morrison Butler, Commissioner of the Department of Family and Support Services. “This investment moves us closer toward the goals of the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative to build stronger opportunities for our young people and create a stronger future for the City of Chicago.”
Additionally, the Mayor’s budget will expand the number of young people who will be able to participate in One Summer Chicago (OSC) with $500,000 of additional funding, bringing the total investment to $16.5 million for 2019. In 2018, OSC provided job and internship opportunities to 32,223 youth, and participants logged nearly three million hours overall. With this new funding, an additional 450 young people will be able to participate in the program in 2019. Since 2011, Mayor Emanuel has grown the program 122 percent.
The Mayor’s budget will also expand the number of young people who will be able to participate in After School Matters (ASM), which provides life-changing after school and summer programs to teenagers. In 2019, an additional $1 million will increase the number of ASM opportunities supported by the city to 15,935.
Mentoring opportunities for girls through the Working on Womanhood (W.O.W.) mentoring program will also be expanded. A new $611,000 investment will allow for an additional 266 girls to participate in the program in 2019, bringing the total number of girls served by W.O.W. to 1,766. The total W.O.W. investment in 2019 will be $721,000.
Finally, the Mayor will call on the private sector to fund an expansion of the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative to provide universal mentoring for 11th grade boys. It is anticipated that such universal coverage would cost $1.5 million per year.
Since taking office, Mayor Emanuel has made mentoring universal for young men in high crime areas, more than doubled the size of the city’s youth summer jobs program and expanded after-school programming every year.
To date, the City has invested $13 million in support of the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative with an additional $12 million provided through private support. Since 2011, the Emanuel administration has increased the investment to over 10 times the original amount to expand the BAM mentoring program to more than 6,000 students in schools throughout Chicago this year.