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Chicago Mayor Launches ‘Summer For Change’ Program For At-Risk Teens Vulnerable To Gun Violence

As a preventative measure against rampant gun violence in the city, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans to mentor 400 at-risk teens across Chicago this summer. 

On Wednesday, the mayor held a press conference at Percy Julian High School, unveiling the new ‘Summer For Change’ initiative. 

In addition to mentoring, the six-week program will offer field trips, specific mental health resources for those who have witnessed violence, free lunch, and a $200-per-week stipends for active participants, WGNTV reports.

CEO of Chicago Public Schools Janice Jackson said the program targets eight “option schools” that have become an alternative for those who aren’t performing well. Students at these schools are “either exposed or, in some cases, perpetrators of violence.”

According to Mayor Lightfoot, the $1.4 million program will be funded by the city, Chicago Public Schools and donations.

“There’s a hunger out there for our young people to be connected with positive, healthy experiences. I think we’re gonna exceed the 400, and we’ll work to make sure that we accommodate them,” Lightfoot said.

“We just want to give our young people opportunities to connect up with good, safe alternatives. We’re gonna put a little money in their pocket. We’re gonna show them parts of the city that they maybe haven’t seen. And really create a plan and nurture that seed of hope and optimism that is so critically important to make sure that our young people are safe.”

Lori Lightfoot Program
(Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

About Retonjah Burdette

Retonjah Burdette is a publicist and published content curator from Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving her Bachelor’s in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University in 2017, Burdette then went on to get field experience with one of the top entertainment PR firms in Atlanta. Since the start of her career, Burdette has worked with a number of actors, authors, entrepreneurs and independent artists. She has secured placements on media outlets such as TV One’s Sister Circle, Good Day Atlanta on FOX, V-103, CBS 46, Kontrol Magazine, KISS 104.1 and Rolling Out to name a few. In addition to her growth in PR, she is currently a writer for Baller Alert, a top platform for news and entertainment. In hopes of bringing the visions of others to life, she launched Girl Avant-Garde in 2019, a creative agency specializing in innovative content, branding and PR in entertainment. Her overall goal is to have autonomy over her creative thought process and to teach branding to new entrepreneurs and others pursuing a career in the public eye.

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