Don't like to read?
The CYSC Civic Engagement program offers teens and young adults the opportunity to engage with and uplift their community. Those involved are young people who want to make a difference in Chicago.
The youth are learning the necessary skills to make a change in their own community, explained the group’s mentor, Syliva Johnson. In their meetings, they learn leadership skills and the importance of community engagement. Additionally, unpack the different aspects of Chicago’s political realm, what it takes to be an Alderman, how to effectively communicate with the police department, and more.
CYSC (Civic Youth Service Corps) includes three components: Civic Engagement, Entrepreneur, and Journalism.
The Civic Engagement group’s Capstone Project is geared toward teaching the youth to think positively and be more active in their community. One of the outreach components is creating and distributing cards that offer encouragement and support with messages similar to the one Jamie shared: “Positive energy attracts positive energy.” The team has also created flyers listing Chicago’s warming centers:
So people can know where they are located and which ones offer meals as well.
The Civic Engagement team held a free Thanksgiving dinner on November 20, where they not only fed community members but their guests were gifted hygiene products, among other things.
To help fight the upcoming cold weather, they are holding a coat drive on December 18.
Jamie joined the program to better communicate with her peers and be more understanding.
Another member, Precious, says she likes to help people and get together more with people her age.
Jaylin’s goal is to help his community and reach out in any way he can.
The members representing their team say they have become more appreciative and grateful through their involvement in the Civic Engagement program.
COVID-19 heavily affected the teens as they worked through school and this program. The introduction of online Zoom learning has brought obstacles to the member’s education. Staying focused is sometimes a challenge for them as they find it easy to get distracted by what is happening at home.
Having internet connection issues sometimes makes it difficult for their meetings to run smoothly. However, the team is focused on their objective, and they pay attention when important topics are being discussed.
Written by Chiagozie Onyewuchi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Interview: Nov. 19, 2021; Sylvia Johnson, Jamie, Precious, and Jaylin
Images Courtesy of TNS Photography – Used With Permission