Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC)

Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC) -Chicago, IL

  The Southwest Youth Collaborative (SYC) has touched the lives of many people in different ways, from helping a young person get to college, to developing the creative and artistic skills of 6 year olds commissioned to work on a community mural. Cultivating critical minds and nurturing the creativity of young people is of the utmost importance. Their mission is to unleash the potential of youth from diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds to become actively contributing members of society through initiatives that focus on positive youth development. Programs work to build self-esteem, personal and social growth, cooperation, leadership, cross-cultural understanding, and community awareness. Leadership Development efforts work to build youth and community power in decision-making processes that affect children, youth and families.

This Chicago based initiative focuses on: expanded access to healthy food and physical education and recreation for young people detained in Juvenile Detention; analysis and advocacy on detention center junk food company contracts; development of reporting formats, monitoring and evaluation tools; and preparation of relevant training curricula and training materials. As a Communities Creating Healthy Environments grantee, SYC aims to: collect extensive surveys of youth detained in these facilities conducted by trained youth organizers; conduct community focus groups; provide at least three youth organizer trainings to build capacity for youth led advocacy on childhood obesity; establish a Youth Accountability Council; and offer model policies for healthy food and recreation access in juvenile detention centers.