Chicago Youth Service Corps 2020 Impact Report

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“We remain committed to youth development and employment and applaud our partners who have adapted and preserved these opportunities for our youth. We are excited to add a Youth Service Corps this year in response to our belief that youth have much to contribute to the city’s response to COVID-19. CYSC will leverage and lift up youth talent and voices and respond to their desires to lead at this time.” LORI E.LIGHTFOOT Mayor of Chicago

Watch the Welcome Video |

2020 Chicago Youth Service Corps

The City of Chicago would like to recognize our funders, partners, and supporters for their support in launching the Inaugural 2020 Chicago Youth Service Corps. CHICAGO YOUTH SERVICE CORPS LEAD FUNDER


Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Convener After School Matters Chicago Park District Chicago Public Library Chicago Public Schools City Colleges of Chicago Forest Preserves of Cook County Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities CHICAGO YOUTH SERVICE CORPS SUPPORTERS

Civic Consulting Alliance Slalom Consulting 3

1,809 youth corps members meaningfully engaged in service projects and civic leadership development as part of the first-ever Chicago Youth Service Corps. Youth were able to leverage their skills and talents to address the COVID-19 crisis as well as support social innovation projects that targeted a range of issues critical to the Chicago community.


“Working with other students so motivated and passionate about the same issues, really strengthened the passion I have Social Justice, Activism And Civil Engagement. Working with stakeholders and realizing the active role they were willing to take to make the ideas we created a reality, pumped me fresh with new hope and inspiration.” - Chicago Youth Service Corps Member

“I LOVED the program. I personally enjoyed being able to converse with so many other students, all with Different Stories And Opinions, and being able to come together with a main goal: to Make A Difference. “

“This impacted me because before this I didn't know a lot about how black people were really treated. But this program has taught me about Racism In American and other places and how to Get My Voice Out There.”

“I believe that the highlight of the program was Building A Family that was working towards creating a Better World For Juvenile Offenders.”


Civic Highlight: 1,809 youth in the inaugural Chicago Youth Service Corps Watch CYSC Videos! CYSC is a partnership led by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services and the Mayor’s Office, with representatives from the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Cook County Forest Preserves, Chicago Public Schools, After School Matters, City Colleges of Chicago, and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

83% of CYSC members report having a positive impact on their community this summer

PURPOSE • The Chicago Youth Service Corps is a six-week program where Chicago youth, ages 16-24, can earn money while supporting their neighborhood and city. • The program offers opportunities for community service, project-based online learning, and virtual town halls during the entire summer. • The program engages members in workshop activities that support relationship-building, reinforce leadership experience, and build life and professional skills.

PRINCIPLES Shape Chicago Build Your Community & City Learn To Lead, Lead To Learn Elevate Your Voice Celebrate Yourself & Others 6

Chicago Youth Service Corps Guiding Principles

Shape Chicago

Build Your Community & City

Learn to Lead, Lead to Learn

Strengthen our neighborhoods, communities, and our city through civic leadership

Collaborate to accomplish goals and broaden each others’ impact

Improve our programming through continuous feedback and leadership

Elevate Your Voice

Celebrate Yourself & Others

Explore identities, passions, and goals by providing tools for a successful future

Celebrate the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and traditions every young person brings 7

Chicago Youth Service Corps: Key Culture Components




Creating a universal cohort experience

Providing opportunities for impact and growth

Engaging members through a variety of projects

• A youth handbook with a welcome video and letter from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman to kick off the program

• A graduation ceremony to celebrate a successful summer of service • CYSC t-shirts for youth to showcase their participation

• Cohorts engaged in weekly, virtual Corps Conversations to build community and reflect

• Individual weekly reflections focused on personal, team, and community growth

• All activities and projects aligned with the core guiding principles

• Partners built civicminded activities related to service, personal growth, and professional development

• Partner organizations ensured that corps members had time each week to connect with their teams and focus on their own personal and professional growth


Youth commit to service pathways CYSC Partners were empowered to develop high-impact service projects, personal growth opportunities, and professional development workshops to engage youth in high quality service learning pathways.

Get Inspired! Explore the CYSC Capstone Projects

Celebrate the inaugural Chicago Youth Service Corps and view videos highlighting their impact in the Chicago community.


83% of corps members reported having a positive impact on their community this summer. The City of Chicago wanted to engage young people as part of the response to COVID-19. During a crisis, youth can experience increased mental health outcomes when they turn their attention to supporting others in meaningful ways.

N= 468


CYSC members represent Chicago’s 77 Chicago communities and diverse demographic groups EDUCATION STATUS





CYSC members collaborate and celebrate diversity Even in a time of remote learning, the Chicago Youth Service Corps created opportunities for youth to build bonds, celebrate with others from different backgrounds and collaborate for civic action.


I had the opportunity to collaborate with others while working on service projects




CYSC helped me strengthen or build new friendships and relationships N=736

“This was honestly the most amazing experience I've had. Everyone is so very passionate about the work that we do, and in just 4 weeks we've already cultivated such a wonderful family.” - CYSC Corps Member

I learned how my peers’ backgrounds are the same or different than my own N=540

“I got to hear stories from different people with different backgrounds. I really loved getting to hear about how a person became successful through their hard work.” - CYSC Corps Member 12

“Being a part of CYSC this summer really allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone. I not only was able to advocate for voices unheard, but I also was able to make new friends in a small amount of time which is something that I usually struggle with.“ - Chicago Youth Service Corps Member

“The most important thing I learned this summer is how important and helpful it is to approach everyone with kindness and to be friendly and welcoming. Your attitude towards them can greatly change how they perceive and respond to you.”

“I've had deep and hard conversations with friends and this program have me insight of a perspective needed to solve community problems.”

“I was slightly concerned about my voice and confidence being silenced when surrounded by super insightful and capable peers. However, I personally stood my own, became more confident in my abilities, and learned a lot from my peers.”


CYSC members personal leadership growth impacts Under the guidance of caring adults, CYSC members engaged in service projects and leadership development workshops that provided opportunities to build skills, grow confidence, and explore their interests and career pathways.


I strengthened my skills and abilities (gained new skills or improved existing skills)


I learned something interesting or useful N=766



I gained more confidence in my skills and abilities




I was challenged to try new things N=736

I gained a clearer idea for what I want to do - or not do - with my life N=766 14

“This program taught me to use my voice to make change. I felt as though my opinions were respected and valued. I was taught to share my ideas and to take advantage of all of the opportunities presented to you. It encouraged me to seek like-minded individuals that wanted to improve Chicago through service and this program provided me with just that.” - CYSC Corps Member

“This has impacted my life by teaching me a lesson as to become an influencer and a leader to support other and especially to also help out my community. I feel that this program is also very helpful to each and every one of us because it's a way to start the day off with a positive mindset and end the day off feeling good about yourself in a way.”

“It helped me learn a lot of things I was too scared to ask about growing up. My leaders always say "no question is a stupid question" which made me feel so comfortable to be fully ready to turn new things and ask as many questions as I need.”


87% of

corps members reported that they are motivated to continue making an impact in their community. The Chicago Youth Service Corps seeks to be a sustainable civic leadership pipeline that can have meaningful impact for generations to come. From serving as essential workers to policymakers, youth voice and action are critical to the future of Chicago.



CYSC members sustainable civic leadership impact

Under the guidance of caring adults, CYSC members engaged in service projects and leadership development workshops that provided opportunities to build skills, grow confidence, and explore their interests and career pathways.

I am motivated to continue making an impact in my community



I feel proud of what I did this summer



I am more hopeful about my future after my summer experience



I can apply the skills I gained to keep making a positive impact in my community after the summer

“Rather than not being able to do anything this summer, I was able to participate in a job that positively impacted my community, and I was able to learn more about the crisis we're going through.” - OSC Staff “Being in this program impacted my life for the better. I was happy to be out of the house during this pandemic to do something useful, and something that was keeping those around me safe. I saw this opportunity and took it, and I am very pleased with the outcome.” - OSC Staff


N=539 17

What does it mean to be a Chicago Youth Service Corps Member?

“It means that you have a passion for serving your community and using your voice for the voiceless. We have a platform to use and advocate for those who face problems in our community, and we must utilize this platform in a beneficial way. “

“It means that you have the will power to help others and try your best everyday.” “Being a CYSC member means finding new ways of building the city through collective youth initiatives. Inspiring one another to become leaders and grow our leadership skills in our homes and local communities.“

“It means that you take part in caring about the city that you grew up in. It's about focusing on more than just how it all looks, but also how you can make it better and more efficient for the people.” “It means to be passionate and have the willingness to want to create, and evolve a solution to an issue facing the community so that the future we envision becomes a reality.” “It means to be a role model in and out of Chicago. It means to voice or echo that of your block and share your opinions to create a better, more diverse Chicago.“


CYSC Capstone Projects


“Being a part of the Chicago Youth Service Corps means that I am a member of a community of like-minded peers that want the same thing. We want to make Chicago a safer place to live but a place to enjoy living. We all tried to work towards this goal and, to a degree, I believe we did it successfully. - CYSC Corps Member

“One of the highlights from this summer was leading my own peace circle with a group. We were able to demonstrate our growth throughout the summer and have an in-depth discussion about something that matters to us in a way that I don't usually do.”

“CYSC provided a sense of purpose as it allowed me to contribute to addressing a matter that I am passionate about while simultaneously strengthening my skillset. Drafting our policy recommendations was a highlight as it exemplified this while providing a considerable challenge.”


Impact Area: Health & COVID-19 Response

BACK OF THE YARDS NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL: Mask Making ● Shifted their usual folklórico costume design to support COVID response ● Created 2,500 masks for the Back of the Yards community

LURIE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: Community Engagement & Workforce Education Intern ● Learned about various health careers and pathways and received mentorship from college students ● Completed a research project related to specific health issues in communities

CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT: Social Distance Ambassadors ● Worked in 160 parks and lakefront ● Completed Operation Outbreak curriculum and enforced social distancing guidelines


Chicago Park District Highlight: Social Distance Ambassadors

“When at work, I felt like I was doing the right thing by doing my civil duty to help and inform the public on the pandemic.” - Social Distance Ambassador

“When I was walking a man came up to me and asked me what I did. I told him about my job as a social distancing ambassador. He was so happy to see that young people were involved in such an amazing program. It made me feel really happy that I had support from the community.” - Social Distance Ambassador

Watch Social Distance Ambassador Video


Impact Area: Public Safety AFTER SCHOOL MATTERS: Peacemakers ● Learned about the peacebuilding process and designed a project to spread messages of peace ● Final projects included social media campaigns, posters, care packages delivered to communities, and virtual programming

CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Junior Liaison Organizers ● Led Youth District Advisory Councils to provide counsel, feedback, and outreach to inform youth and community relationships with the Chicago Police Department ● Hosted three meetings with community members, and created District Youth Action and Fall Outreach plans 23

Peaceful Communities Highlight: 425 peacemakers make a positive contribution in their community Over 425 Peacemakers this summer worked with other teens to make a positive contribution to their communities. ASM Peacemakers learned about the peace building process, reflected on their communities, and designed a project to spread the message of peace. Teens gained an understanding of the peace-making process and youth empowerment, while building skills in civic engagement and leadership.

NBA Youth Leadership Highlight: Teens in the NBA Youth Leadership council made a documentary to capture the beauty and adversity of living in Auburn Gresham and showcase the people working towards a more peaceful community through Sharing Our Truth: An Auburn Gresham Documentary. Click to watch documentary


Public Safety Leadership: Youth District Advisory Council Leadership Institute The Youth District Advisory Council Leadership Institute is an opportunity for identified youth leadership to learn new and improved ways to lead other youth voices and is a platform for those youth to work in tandem with the police districts to develop strategy as it pertains to public safety matters with young people. In addition, the Council is an opportunity for community building among youth and young adults.

55 youth participate in the Summer 2020 Council


My highlight was having multiple communities come together to figure out solutions to make our communities safer for future generations. All of us being open minded was something you don't see very often so that was definitely something I appreciated.– Council Youth

Impact Area: Volunteering CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS: You Are Not Alone ●

Connected with residents of Chicago Housing Authority senior buildings to perform well-being checks and create intergenerational connections Participants recorded audio and transcribed reflections

FOREST PRESERVES OF COOK COUNTY: Youth Outdoor Ambassadors ●

Learned about the importance of conservation, restoring, and caring for the environment Created and distributed 54 nature kits to young children that contained activities and information about the Forest Preserve

The program impacted my life when I found it's how you leave someone feeling after you assisted them. - CPS Corps Member


Impact Area: Creative


They believed in my work and pushed me to be better at photography. The instructors were kind and listened to everything I had to say. – Photography for All Youth

In small groups, learned to create and code apps that supported Covid-19 response in communities Apps included a no-contact laundry service, virtual textbook app to support remote learning, and a tracker that shows how many people are at grocery stores to help make trips safer

Photography For All: ● ●

Used photography to show their experience with COVID-19 Created 4 video PSAs and 4 posters that encouraged mask wearing and social distancing

SGA YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES: We Are Hip Hop Festival ● ●

Planned a virtual hip hop festival, which had over 100 attendees In their 15th year, this festival is usually inperson and participants had to shift to virtual planning in response to COVID-19


Social App Innovation: EVERYONE CAN CODE EVERYONE CAN CODE is a partnership between

DFSS, Chicago Public School CS4ALL, Northwestern CECSE, and Apple, Inc. that provides training for youth to expand their computer science skills and learning the latest Apple coding program, Swift Playgrounds. OSC youth create their own apps, maintain a portfolio, and demonstrate their capstone projects at the end of the program.

Arts Impact Innovation: EVERYONE CAN CREATE EVERYONE CAN CREATE is a partnership between DFSS, CHA, CPS, Apple, the Chicago Lighthouse, and SGA Youth and Family Services. This program provides youth with the opportunity to elevate their imaginations and engage with art in ways previously inaccessible to them using Apple’s Everyone Can Create suite of software programs.

Watch COVID-19 PSA Videos from DFSS Photography for All Program

2020 Capstone Project Winners • Unition Petitions • BEAT Street • Gentrification Education • Chicago COVID Companion App Program Showcase 2020 ECC Community Program Partners: A Knock at Midnight, Asian Human Services, Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, Catholic Charities, Central States SER, Phalanx Family Services, Westside Health Authority


“I have been a part of this program for 3 years and every year there is something that has kept me coming back. I think that it is the excitement of building something on your own and learning how computer systems work that peaks my interest. ECC is one program that has a good foundation of employers and mentors and that is why I choose to continue doing it for the summer because it has good value to it.” - Everyone Can Code Youth Participant

“The program impacted my life because I realized I could communicate more and talk more within groups. I also learned how to do more of graffiti and learn more about hip hop.” - We Are Hip Hop Youth Participant

“The Photography program helped me share my story and tell different stories that others may not see as a story or such interesting but the views and angles I get and show makes them see the story differently and it's nice to know I can change how others see a story.” - Photography for All Youth Participant


EVERYONE CAN CODE TOP 4 APPS Unition Adrienne Reilly Anton Shuster

BEAT STREET Sal Abuali Jorge Angel Jonathan E. Natali Lampa

GENTRIFICATION EDUCATION APP Jaqueline Aguado Jose Solario Vincas Raciunas

Chicago Covid Companion App Ali Darawsha


Impact Area: Mentoring & Leadership SGA YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES: Career Pathways ●

Worked with the Workforce Funders Alliance to provide youth voice for their career pathways website


Assisted over 8,000 One Summer Chicago youth with financial literacy workshops and signing up for direct deposit and savings accounts

CENTER FOR COMPANIES THAT CARE: Career Awareness Bootcamp ●

Planned a virtual career fair and created PSAs to encourage young people to vote 31

Impact Area: Mentoring & Leadership GIRLS IN THE GAME: Teen Squad ●

Participated in health, sports, and leadership workshops and led similar workshops for younger girls Spoke with working professionals to learn about their field and career pathways


Supported CYSC programming, including “My CHI. My Future”. platform clean up and meeting facilitation


Acted as virtual camp counselors, leading STEAM activities and mentoring younger middle school students Activities included storytelling, coding, design thinking, and more

This is a tough summer for everyone, through this internship, I learned that sharing and discussing anything with a group helps to find different solutions and to think about problems differently. - CCC Corps Member 32

Impact Area: Community Culture

MIKVA CHALLENGE: Youth Councils ●


Informed friends and family about the importance of the 2020 Census Created eight digital content pieces to reach people with disabilities

Served as policy experts and advocates to help inform policy decisions in a variety of areas Councils included: Youth Safety Council, CPS Student Advisory Council, Juvenile Justice Council, CHA Youth Council, and Teen Health Council

CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY: Summer Learning & Engagement Interns ● ●

Supported library programming and projects, in addition to developing leadership skills Developed projects to improve their community and city, including presentations on racial justice, education, homelessness, and more



“This program allowed me to further my understanding and passion for reducing stigma towards homeless individuals and providing easily accessible resources to them. The capstone project gave me the opportunity to potentially partner with CPL and see my project come to life, with care kits being made in libraries and guest speakers explaining their experience with homelessness and spreading awareness. I was also able to make a website showcasing my ideas, of which was presented at the capstone presentation. - Chicago Youth Service Corps Member


2020 Chicago Youth Service Corps Program Leadership Team Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Lisa Morrison Butler, Commissioner Angela R. Rudolph, Deputy Commissioner, Youth Services Division Lisa Davis Fobs, Director One Summer Chicago Evelyn Benitez, Youth Services Coordinator Charisma Cannon, Corporate Partnership Manager Sahrish Saleem Russell, One Summer Chicago Summer Fellow

Program Partners Civic Consulting Alliance Slalom Consulting Mayoral Fellows

One Summer Chicago Interns

David Collier-King

Demi Collins

Danielle Maranion

Natalie Lampa 35