Albany Park Neighborhood Council

Youth Investment

YOUTH-LED SOCIAL CHANGE

APNC is a co-convener of the LIFE Campaign (Leaders Investing for Equality) which is organizing for increased youth employment opportunities and teen programming opportunities at the city and state levels.

Organizing for Increased Youth Employment Opportunities

Through numerous actions including a sit-in at the Governor's office, youth leaders have successfully pushed for the creation of summer jobs for youth across the state despite ongoing budget cuts to crucial services.

Additionally, youth leaders secured a policy change making it possible for 14- and 15-year-olds to be recipients of a portion of the summer jobs. Initial policy stated that youth had to be 16 and over. However, since the ages of 14 and 15 are a critical time when young people are recruited into gangs, students felt that employment opportunities needed to be extended to younger youth. These short term accomplishments are part of longer term organizing efforts to ensure the creation of a permanent line item in the state budget for youth employment opportunities so that young people do not have to organize for jobs year after year.

APNC youth leaders have also been working nationally to address the issue of youth employment. This May APNC youth leaders joined 1,000 others from across the country for a rally at the Department of Labor calling for increased federal investment in youth employment and the creation of a Congressional Youth Caucus which would specifically work to address the needs of youth. As a result of these organizing efforts, the formation of the Congressional Caucus on Engaging, Educating and Employing America’s Youth was announced. Youth leaders are now organizing to develop a National Grassroots Youth Caucus that would inform the work of this Congressional Caucus.

Organizing for Increased Programs for Teenagers

APNC youth leaders are also kicking off efforts to organize at the city level for increased investment in teen programs. Through the LIFE Campaign youth leaders recently released a report outlining the findings and recommendations developed from 6 months of youth-led research. This report was entitled “Our Lives on the Line: Youth-led Solutions to Violence in Chicago Neighborhoods." As a result of their findings, youth leaders from across the city developed five key recommendations for the City of Chicago, which they are taking action on through their current campaign:

  1. City efforts to increase police presence in communities with high crime rates must go along with equal efforts to increase after school programs in those communities
  2. Local police districts must establish clear expectations and guidelines for police-community relations with input from both youth and adult community members, and those guidelines must be publicly accessible in multiple languages to the community
  3. The City of Chicago should establish a taskforce composed of community organizations, representative of the city’s diversity, which will work with young people in creating annual recommendations to the Mayor on how to best provide and increase crucial services for young people ages 14-19
  4. Park Districts should eliminate or waive fees for low-income youth and improve the way community youth are informed about available programs through local schools and institutions
  5. Criteria for after school programs such as After School Matters and sports must be open to students of all academic standings and should specifically target at-risk youth

 

Please contact APNC to get involved in our organizing efforts!