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Throughout Chicago, hundreds of thousands of high school students are at risk of dropping out of school and engaging in unsafe activities. The city’s epidemic of gun violence has made national headlines in recent years. In 2016, more than 750 people were killed, resulting in the most violent year Chicago has seen in nearly two decades.
buildOn engages youth through programs in ten high schools, many of them situated in Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, such as Englewood, Garfield Park, and Austin. Students in these programs are striving to revive their troubled communities by advocating against violence in their communities, volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, preparing meals for homebound seniors, restoring local parks and mentoring the next generation of students.
“buildOn has given me a chance to embrace who I am. It has filled me with compassion and empathy for others. It has focused my energy on being in the service of those around me.”
Sheyla Ocampo, buildOn Chicago Alum
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“Not only am I an advocate for anti-violence in my school and to my peers, but I am an agent of change in my community. Communities can not change without the people inside of them lifting from within.”
Michael Johnson, Orr Academy
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“buildOn means family to me. buildOn means spreading joy. I feel really happy when I’m walking around my community and someone stops to say hi. It brightens my day to see someone who I know I’ve made an impact on.”
Yoalix Melendez, Benito Juarez Community Academy
Learn more about Yoalix