If only we had something like this in every neighbourhood across the globe, we could solve the problem of disengaged youth.
For one organisation is gifting a lifeline to underprivileged kids to widen their perspectives and help them see that they can achieve anything they want to regardless of background.
My Block, My Hood, My City not only provides disadvantaged youth with an awareness of the world beyond their front door but also takes them on trips to explore different opportunities.
Notably, recent expeditions have included a visit to a glassmaking factory to see the incredible craftsmanship up-close and even a trip to United Airlines to see their CEO give a motivational talk.
The My Block, My Hood, My City crew also believe in young people learning from others their own age and host youth-led tours whereby teens can get a summer job, put real money in their pockets, and showcase the hidden gems of the North Lawndale, Chicago community to their peers.
With their motto ‘explore, experience, evolve’, the team aim to unite education and life lessons by using the fields of STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics], culture, volunteering, culinary arts, and entrepreneurism to teach their teens about core values and hope.
By helping young people immerse themselves in new experiences, continuously soaking up new knowledge and expanding their network, the My Block, My Hood, My City masterminds believe we can create long-lasting change to help teens step outside their comfort zone.
They champion the idea that exposure is equal to education, it is an olive branch needed by so many who have barely left their block or experienced life outside of their neighbourhood.
Just by going a little further afield, even next door in their own city, teens can open their eyes to what Chicago has to offer them and experience a different view that will light a fire in their belly.
Speaking about the mission, founder Jahmal Cole revealed why he believes exposure is key.
Jahmal said: “We just expose them to different professions, so they’ll have more options to choose from, so they won’t choose violence.
“Kids I work with; they order their food everyday through three-inch bulletproof glass windows. Helicopters fly over their house at night. This is their reality.
“I take those kids, and I show them the world doesn’t end at the corner of their block.”
We can’t wait to see how the kids who complete the programme progress in years to come.
For more info, click here: My Block, My Hood, My City