Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chicago Youth Centers - ABC Youth Center

As the coordinator for Tutor/Mentor Connection, which is centered around networking and cooperating between programs, I'm always curious how smaller groups of tutoring and mentoring programs interact - whether if they're in the same neighborhood or part of a larger organization such as Boys and Girls Club or Chicago Youth Centers, whose ABC Youth Center in North Lawndale Chris Warren and I visited yesterday.

The ABC Youth Center offers a variety of programs - from Head Start to pre-schoolers to programs that prepare students for college. We spoke to Jason Bremer, who is the director of the teen program. The teen program runs from 4-8pm every week day and students have to fulfill a variety of criteria in order to continue to participate. The group takes field trips to museums, college and even the other Chicago Youth Centers just to expose the students to other parts of the city. They also offer a number of workshops on resume-building, how to dress for success, and financial aid opportunities. They offer different activities such as a video club, a spoken word club, a photography club, and much more.

One of the most exciting things that the ABC Youth Center kids do is to go to Camp Rosenthal in Michigan to get out into nature and meet other kids from all over the country. It's a great opportunity for the students to be able to try archery, canoeing and simply to see stars in the night sky - something they wouldn't get to experience in their own neighborhood.

ABC Youth Center uses volunteers from a variety of universities throughout Chicago and organizations such as United Way. However, I have to say how impressed that the ABC Youth Center has such a dedicated and enthusiastic leader in Mr. Bremer. I can't wait to see all of his plans fulfilled from having a theater club to planting a community garden. Thanks to him for a great visit!

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