Mayor Daley announces city’s “Safe Summer”

Richard Daley

“Keeping our children safe is Chicago’s challenge and our shared responsibility. Every community and religious group, every business and every parent must also keep doing their part and provide the safe havens and positive alternatives for our young people,” he said.

Overall, the city has increased the number of young people to be served by these programs to about 280,000 this summer, an increase of about 15,000 from last summer.

“And I want to make this important point to every Chicagoan: we have thousands of openings in these summer programs right now,” the Mayor said.

“I’m asking every resident of the city to help fill these empty slots. Talk to your children. Talk to your friends. Talk to your church and community groups. Find out what’s available and help register young people in these programs,” he said.

Daley was joined by heads of City departments and sister agencies who described the range of summer programs that provide education, recreation and jobs for Chicago’s youth.

The Mayor highlighted programs being offered for the first time this year. They include:

“Freshman Connection,” a Chicago Public Schools program which will help 18,500 8th graders make the transition to high school. The program features academic instruction in the morning and recreation activities in the afternoon at no cost to the students. It is held at the students’ destination high school, so it will give them a chance to become familiar with their new school and their new classmates. This program also includes 850 paid youth leadership positions.

CPS will offer a new Bilingual Bridge Program for English Language Learners in grades 3, 6 and 8.

The Department of Children and Youth Services and the Chicago Housing Authority will create a School and Career Readiness Program that will serve 150 young people under 15.

CYS and City Colleges will partner to create the Manufacturing Readiness Program that will provide both classroom work and 50 summer jobs in the manufacturing industry.

CYS and the Mikva Challenge will partner to create two youth councils that are focused on public policy. One will focus on safety and violence, the other on health.

CYS, CAPS and Clear Channel Radio will organize “Chicago Voices Against Violence.”

In addition, the Park District will serve more than 90,000 young people in programs this summer and will allocate an additional $500,000 to expand the NeighborSports program to serve a total of 5,500 teenagers – 1,500 more than last summer.

For the first time, weekend NeighborSports will be offered until 10 p.m. at 20 sites in high crime neighborhoods. And the Park District also will keep 17 swimming pools open until 9 p.m.

After School Matters will offer 11,500 summer opportunities in its arts, science, sports, technology and communications programs, including new arts-based programs in three neighborhood parks and at Millennium Park — up from 7,500 last summer.

About 6,100 of these After School Matters opportunities will be paid apprenticeships or internships, compared with about 3,100 last summer.

More than 45,000 young people are expected to take part in the Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, and more than 3,700 to take part in programs sponsored by the Chicago Housing Authority.

“When a young person reaches a certain age, though, a summer job becomes important. It puts money in his or her pocket and offers them an alternative to gangs, guns and drugs,” Daley said.

Three weeks ago, Daley announced the city will spend an additional $1.5 million dollars this year for the Department of Children and Youth Services to provide 1,000 more summer employment opportunities for young people. The money will support partnerships with the Schools, the Park District, After School Matters and leading corporations.

“Before those jobs were added, we had already planned to place about 18,000 young people in public and private sector jobs through our Summer Jobs Program. And we’ve created several new jobs programs,” Daley said.

Those new programs include:

The CTA will partner with CYS to hire 200 young people to work as part of their rail car appearance program.
CYS will partner with the CHA to provide job readiness training to 100 CHA teens.
The Police Department and CYS will create summer jobs for youth that have been part of the Juvenile Intervention Support Center.
CYS will partner with CleanSlate Chicago to provide training and summer jobs beautifying our neighborhoods for 28 young people.
And the city will continue its successful “Englewood Initiative” program that will provide more than 100 young people in that community with summer jobs, Daley said.
“But government can’t do this alone. Most jobs are in the private sector and today I want to challenge our business leaders to once again to strengthen their efforts to provide jobs for young people,” Daley said. They can do this by supporting OUR program and by hiring our young people themselves. We need everyone’s help to keep our kids occupied in a positive way this summer.”

(A complete listing of “Safe Summer” opportunities can be found at