What Do Our Children Want To Be When They Grow Up?

overcoming the aspiration gap

The answers are universally bold and imaginative:

A Doctor! An Explorer! A Time-Traveling Astronaut!

Their answers reveal their ability to dream. As they grow, their teachers and parents encourage those early interests. That budding astronaut heads off to space camp, and grows up to study engineering, work with a renewable energy firm, and dabble in science fiction. For many children, their dreams can become reality.

However, for the 200,000 Chicago children living in poverty, their dreams may never be realized. They are just as curious and imaginative, but their aspirations are often undermined by limited resources and greater exposure to violence. A sense of hopelessness sets in at an early age. Fortunately, Chicago Youth Centers (CYC) provides a path out of poverty and violence, offering a ray of hope to many of these children.

For these youth, CYC is the place where they can aspire, dream, and achieve. We surround children ages 3-18 with the social capital they need—innovative programming, creative and safe learning spaces, and supportive families and mentors—so they will find and stay on a path to success, and ultimately break the generational cycles of poverty and violence. In 2014, CYC initiated two pilot programs to strengthen our impact. The results were inspiring: CYC children performed better in school, attended classes more frequently, were more motivated to succeed, made concrete plans for the future, and were empowered to dream. You can read more about our CYC pilot programs and our 2015 outcomes here. 

We believe in a Chicago where every child has the same access to resources, opportunity, and possibility. Will you help us make CYC's vision a reality?

Donate Now

By making a gift to CYC today, you ensure that more of Chicago’s budding astronauts and crayon artists grow up to be engineers and designers. You ensure that their future is driven not by poverty, but by possibility.

Thank you for making Chicago Youth Centers the place where possibility lives.