Chicago mayor announces $600K in grants to support youth programs

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced on Tuesday a significant investment aimed at keeping teens out of trouble this summer by pumping $600,000 into local neighborhoods.

The funds have been distributed to over 60 youth-serving organizations across nearly 20 neighborhoods on the South and West sides, areas often affected by crime, poverty, and food deserts.

The money, sourced from the American Rescue Plan, was allocated in the form of micro-grants. The selected programs will serve children as young as six and adults up to 24, with a requirement that 50% of participants come from underrepresented populations, including those with disabilities, individuals experiencing homelessness, those in the foster care system, and those on parole or probation.

Mayor Johnson emphasized that the initiative aims to provide these young people with opportunities for employment and personal development during the summer months.

Among the organizations benefiting from the grants is the Young Men's Educational Network (YMEN), which focuses on teaching various skills through urban gardening projects in North Lawndale.

"We are going to hire 20 additional young people in North Lawndale because of this micro-grant," said Michael Trout, Executive Director of YMEN.

The grants are part of a broader effort to provide support and resources to vulnerable youth in Chicago, offering them a leg up in society through employment and skill-building opportunities.