CHICAGO — The city will hire 20,000 Chicago youth this summer, including teens and young adults who will help with the city’s coronavirus recovery efforts, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.
The city’s One Summer Chicago initiative provides paid job and life skills training to Chicago youth through a number of programs. New this year is the Chicago Youth Service Corps, which will see 2,000 young people build a youth-led COVID-19 public information campaign, make phone wellbeing checks on older residents and craft cloth face masks.
The One Summer Chicago programs is open to youth and young adults ages 14-24 and will run July 6-Aug. 14. People who are interested can apply online.
The Chicago Youth Service Corps “will channel the passion of 2,000 of our city’s young people to supporting our response to COVID-19 with their own talent, energy and ideas,” Lightfoot said at a press conference. And the programs overall will ensure “none of [the city’s young people] are left behind, but that they have the support and foundation they need to see and seize their future and create a roadmap for how we get there.”
Also new this year, One Summer Chicago partner agencies will host online professional development groups to offer resources and guidance for young people who want to pursue careers in fields like coding, tech, health care and media.
The programs are meant to help young people find hobbies, learn, get job experience and start to build career paths, Lightfoot said.
The Chicago Youth Service Corps will also allow young people to feel better by giving back — something they’re eager to do amid the pandemic, said Lisa Morrison Butler, commissioner of the Department of Family and Support Services.
“There were no proms this year. There were no in-person graduations, and a lot of rites of passage have had to be forsaken …,” Morrison Butler said during the press conference. “There are hosts of young people that are really looking forward to contributing in a real and significant way to make their communities better as a result of the pandemic.”
The Chicago Park District is also welcoming children back to day camp, said Chicago parks CEO Mike Kelly. Day camp will run July 6-Aug. 14, though families can also register for a two-week extended camp that will run Aug. 17-28 if needed.
Camp will be changed from how it usually is, but kids will still get free snacks and lunches and will participate in activities like journal writing, science and arts and modified sports, Kelly said.
The Park District is already at 80 percent capacity, but people can register online.
“As always, we will not turn any child away for an inability to pay,” Kelly said. “We have financial assistance. We have scholarship opportunities. Please do not let money be an obstacle to putting your child into one of our parks.”
The Citi Foundation is continuing to support One Summer Chicago for a seventh year, with funding that has totaled over $6 million.
Since 2011, more than 224,000 youth have participated in the One Summer Chicago program.
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