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Empower Chicago Teens: Support a Hood Hero Today!

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Jaheim and his friends were in a critical stage of life during their freshman year of high school. On Chicago’s west side, there are no teenage years to gradually transition into adulthood. One is expected to jump from being a kid to being a grown adult. As a Black man, you must be ready to protect yourself, prove your worth, and pay many of your own bills. And the most common way to do this is to attach yourself to a gang. It may not be the gangs of the 90s that represented colors, tipped their caps to a certain side or even fought over turf borders. It is now more mobile and more informal. Yet the gang's influence is powerful nonetheless. They provide guns for protection. They validate one’s worth. They give opportunities to earn quick cash.

This is why we started Hood Heroes in the summer of 2020 with Jaheim and his friends. We had to win the war against the gangs for the hearts of our young people. We had to provide protection, validate worth and give opportunities to earn cash. To be honest, this is not an easily won war. The gangs have memberships of thousands, they have billions of dollars and they have been embedded in communities for decades. For a couple of years, it seemed that we were losing Jaheim to the allure of the streets. We once again offered work in the summers of 2021 and 2022, but he was inconsistent. The power of the streets was year-round. The power of Hood Heroes was two months. This led us to add a year-round component of Hood Heroes in addition to the summers, our Leaders In Training (LIT).

Jaheim has been showing up to our LIT Cohort on Sunday afternoons. Here he learns ways he can bring positive change to his community through Civic Engagement. He’s learning about his skills and experiences that are useful for a resume. He’s learning how to mentor younger students. He’s learning how to express himself through journaling and peer sharing. He’s planning events to provide safe spaces for him and his friends to be teens. He’s learning to be well-rounded physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. This summer, Jaheim will be leading a team of younger Hood Heroes as they, too, beautify the same community where Jaheim began in 2020. Help us hire the students that Jaheim will mentor this summer. $1,000 allows us to impact one student as young as twelve years old for the summer.


Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • $700 
    • 1 yr
  • Chicago Community Foundation
    • $9,000 (Offline)
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $300 
    • 1 yr
  • Keith D. Polin
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $2,500 
    • 1 yr

Organizer

Brian Dye
Organizer
Chicago, IL
Legacy Disciple
Beneficiary

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