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White House Creating Opportunities To Elevate Boys and Young Men of Color



 Chicago, IL (February 27, 2014) — At 15 years old, Richlyn Whittaker is a respected high school football player – both on the field and off. However, Richlyn wouldn’t have made it to high school on time if it wasn’t for Elev8, a program that engages students and their parents in after-school activities.

Photo: Norma Sanders

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Richlyn grew up with his single mother, Lynda. After seeing Richlyn struggle in a few of the elementary and middle schools in the community, Lynda enrolled Richlyn into Perspectives Calumet Academy in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood where he quickly jumped into making friends and participating in five different Elev8 after-school programs.

 Just in the two years of Richlyn’s involvement in the Elev8 program, he evolved from a quiet boy focused mostly on football and friends into a peacemaker among his peers and a national youth advocate. He has also sharpened his time-management skills, academic focus and understanding of the wider world.

 But despite the best efforts of some of Richlyn’s Elev8 teachers and friends, he did not graduate with his peers. Luckily, the Elev8-funded summer school was there to help him catch up and start his freshman year of high school on time. For Tenisha Jones, Elev8 Director at Perspectives-Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corp., Richlyn’s story is a reminder that all kids need Elev8-style supports. “I think any of our kids can go astray,” she said. “That’s why Elev8 is a gift to our community and to our kids.”

 Many of Elev8’s programs not only keep kids off dangerous streets in the off hours, it extends classroom learning with more than 80% of Elev8 youth saying that staff challenge them to do their best.

 Today, like many of his high school football teammates, Richlyn says he wants to go to college on a football scholarship and play in the NFL. But he follows it up with, “If I don’t get that, I’m trying for all A’s so I can still win a scholarship to college.”

See full story regarding My Borhter's Keeper White House Initiative at My Brother's Keeper.

 Elev8 education initiative is designed to ensure that middle school students succeed in school and their communities by providing them with multiple supports, including: comprehensive on-site school-based health services; before and after-school, and summer learning opportunities; and effective mentoring by caring adults. In addition, the initiative will ensure that middle school students and their families benefit from available public programs, including tax credits and health care coverage. Elev8 is funded with a major grant from Atlantic Philanthropies. The five school Elev8 network in Chicago is managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC/Chicago) with the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC) leading the effort at Perspectives Charter School-Calumet Campus (PCS)with healthcare provided by ACCESS Community Health Network at PMA.

About the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation                                                      The Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC) works to foster and promote revitalization of the low-to-moderate income communities of Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing and West Chatham.

Contact:Tenisha Jones, Education DirectorGreater Auburn-Gresham Development CorporationPhone: (773) 483-3696Email:                                           


Keywords: #YMOC, Elev8, My Brothers Keepers, Young Men of Color

Posted in Auburn Gresham in the News, Community Highlights, All news


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