Youth Organizing

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NWSHC youth organizing works with young adults to provide them with financial education, connecting them with community leaders and increasing their awareness of their community. Our goal is to empower youth through civic engagement programs in order to effectively work with local politicians and stakeholders to improve the quality of life of the youth in Belmont Cragin. Developing out of the Belmont Cragin Quality of Life Plan, our Youth Organizing engages with youth from all over Belmont Cragin, empowering the youth of our community to take action on the issues that affect their daily lives. Working with organizations like Mikva Challenge, After School Matters, and LISC Chicago, we seek to increase the resources and engagement of Belmont Cragin’s future leaders.

For more information about youth organizing contact Spencer Bronson at sbronson@nwshc.org.

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Belmont Cragin Youth Task Force

In February 2016, the Northwest Side Housing Center partnered with Mikva Challenge through the Belmont Cragin Quality of Life Plan. Recruiting students from Prosser, Foreman, and Steinmetz high schools to form the first Belmont Cragin Youth Taskforce. The Task Force consists of dedicated students who meet to discuss issues affecting Belmont Cragin and their local high schools. The Youth Task Force works alongside Mikva Challenge and has developed a survey for other students, and created a tool kit about the data they collected to present to local Alderman, Commissioner’s office, Parents for Peace and Justice, 25th district community liaison, and local Pastors in Belmont Cragin.

The Youth Task Force is continuing their initiatives in the fall with Alderman Gilbert Villegas with the Participatory Budget and issues of Safety in the neighborhood.

Belmont Cragin Youth Leadership Council

Beginning in June 2016, we partnered with After School Matters to form the Belmont Cragin Youth Leadership Council, a six week program designed to research the critical needs of youth programming in Belmont Cragin. Through this program, our youth leaders have surveyed the neighborhood and will create a final list of recommended programs that After School Matters may provide at their new program site.

The Council has undergone training from Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute alumni, Alyssa Merea and Tomas Uriostegui about public speaking, resume building, and networking; Qoc’avib Revolorio from Latino Policy Forum, to learn about mission statements, resume building, public speaking, and networking through interactive workshops; Lorena Gonzalez from the Center of Economic Progress about Credit 101; M.J. Wrobel who held a LGBTQAI Inclusivity & Sensitivity Workshop; Ivelisse Santiago and Marcy Huttas held a Door Knocking 101 workshop and how to enter data into a database about vacant homes in the MMRP program; Esther Pacheco who held a informational workshop about the Posse Scholarship from After School Matters.

This program will continue from 2016-2017.

Financial Leadership Program

With an office located in Steinmetz College Prep, our Youth Organizer, Spencer Bronson, works intentionally with Steinmetz Juniors and Seniors to develop their financial knowledge and skills while also incorporating issues that are important to Chicago youth. Alongside the financial based curriculum, Spencer provides a safe, brave space to discuss violence in the community, school to prison pipeline, and talk about race and ethnicity in Chicago.

Guest speakers have included Lorena Gonzalez from the Center of Economic Progress to hold a workshop about Budgeting 101, Ross Martinez with B.96/Khits to discuss violence in the community, Stephanie Herrera and her LGBTQAI organization to discuss issues affecting the LGBTQAI community by holding an information workshop, and Juan Campuzano who discussed the Peace Hub conference about youth action towards violence in Chicago.

In the end, the goal is to create action plans for student’s financial futures that speak to their specific experiences. A holistic approach providing real resources.