Objectives

One project at a time, 7 Million Strides takes aim at strengthening a city through it's youth.

Projects focus on the most at-risk neighborhoods who are not in the bandwidth of many of the city's youth organizations due to liability and logistics concerns.

Through current and future partnerships with like-minded entities, we hope to help those between the ages of 7-24 who are homeless or unaccompanied, jobless, or frequenters of the juvenile justice system.

In the long term our efforts will rise to the policy level with interest in welfare reformation and decriminalization of street drugs.

 

Project 1

CERTIFIED JOB TRAINING and Apprenticeship placement for 250 at-risk youth

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$8,005 RAISED BY 77 DONORS

K.O.B. youth visited with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg who came to speak about how we can all work together to change the dynamics of our communities!

K.O.B. youth visited with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg who came to speak about how we can all work together to change the dynamics of our communities!

 

Program Overview

We have realized that the young people we service need careers, not just jobs!  

In collaboration with Blue 1647 / Strides For Peace / Joan & Ray Kroc Center the Kids Off the Block "T.E.C. Center". (Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Career Center) will officially launch in September 2017 helping foster community transformation in the South Side. The Center will provide book instruction as well as hands-on training in web design/coding, entrepreneurial workshops, music programs, and construction training. Youth who complete the program will receive a certificate of completion. They will then me be mentored through our partnered job and apprenticeship opportunities. 

In November 2016 the program completed a successful trial run in preparation for a series of 10 week courses. We anticipate servicing 250 youth/young adults ages 15-24 per year.  

The program will also include wraparound services for youth in hardship situations and serve as a safe haven for those who do not feel comfortable in traditional youth programs. 

 

Community Support

YMCA Metro Chicago, Chicago Police Dept, Lloyd Agencies, Salvation Army, The Kleo Center, Department of Human Services

 

Why?

  • “The High Costs for Out of School and Jobless Youth in Chicago and Cook County,”
  • Other youth organizations do not have the bandwidth
    • In Humboldt Park, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, North Lawndale and South Lawndale on the West Side, 40 percent of this age group was unemployed. On the South Side, in Greater Grand Crossing, Englewood, West Englewood and Chicago Lawn, that number soared to nearly 49 percent
  • Our people are leaving
    • Chicago was the only major city in the country to lose population last year. According to the U.S. Census, 8,638 Chicagoan's left — nearly twice as many as the year before. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Jobless Youth cost themselves but also our city
    •  The approximately 21,500 16- to 24-year-old's who are both out of school and out of work in Chicago cost our state and federal coffers and estimated $9.5 billion in potential tax dollars. (Alternative Schools Network via Citylab)
  • Dead end jobs do nothing
    • More than 70 percent of retail jobs held by early 20’s youth in 2015 paid less than $20,000. That compares with 61 percent of professional and related services jobs. Concentrating on high growth industries. 

 

Program Features

  • Business Advancement: Monthly series with experts who share their insider perspective on cutting-edge knowledge, tools or methods. Each month we bring in an industry thought leader to break down emerging technologies and trends in a hands on workshop or 1-on-1 office hour meetings.
  • Music Program: Teaching participants music production, contracts, vocal training, imaging, and optional participation in workshops from industry professionals.

  • Technology & Graphic Design: Creation of web and mobile apps for (Google Android, iPhone, iPad etc.), accompanying business plans, accrual of college credits and case studies on their resumes and portfolios because of hands-on tangible skills gained through internship placements.

  • Careers in Construction by Cisco: This is a presentation providing information on the unionized construction industry such as application availability, the skills necessary to succeed in an apprenticeship program, construction videos and other important information.

 

Personal Involvement 

Yes. I plan to personally mentor and recruit a small task force of other volunteers to complete the funnel between training certification and job placement. 


Future Projects

Project 2

200 Beds for Homeless Youth

 

The Homeless Coalition estimates there are more than 11,000 homeless youths age 14 to 21 in Chicago over the course of a year. But there are not enough shelter beds.  Since mid-2013, there are only about 580 youth shelter beds across Illinois: 374 youth beds in Chicago, about 115 in the suburbs, and about 90 beds downstate, per Chicago and state officials. (Chicago Homeless Coalition)


Existing Projects

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bridging the divide

Bridging the Divide is a program that was created by the YMCA Youth Safety and Violence Prevention Team and the Chicago Police Department that is designed to build relationships and increase understanding between youth, law enforcement officials, and other community members by offering opportunities for dialogue through the use of various community-building activities.

All Department members will positively engage members of the community throughout their tour of duty to reduce violence and overall crime.


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Campaigning for Change 

Campaigning for Change is an initiative designed by 7 Million Strides to make a future impact on policy by gathering a wealth of information and ideas from hundreds of public figures and invested city citizens across the country.

Their suggestions and opinions on inner city issues and topics such as the decriminalization of drugs and reformation of welfare will be documented and submitted to powers on policy and funding in Chicago.