Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced a two-year, $10 million investment in the city's summer employment violence prevention program by former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Mark and Kimbra Walter.
The gift from Inner City Youth Empowerment LLC, in which Johnson and the Walters are partners, will triple the size of the One Summer Chicago Plus program and provide a total of five thousand employment opportunities for at-risk Chicago youth. Launched by Emanuel in 2012, the program connects youth at higher risk for involvement with the juvenile justice system with a 25-hour-per-week summer job, a mentor, cognitive behavioral therapy, and social skills-building sessions. The new funds also will support the efforts of community partners working to ensure the quality of the program as it expands.
A recently published study showed that participation in the program led to significantly reduced violence and juvenile delinquency among at-risk youth. "As a result of the research findings, we felt compelled to help bring this opportunity to a greater number of kids who can benefit," said Mark Walter. "The impact on these young people and the community is both real and tangible. We are excited to partner with Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago on a program with such demonstrable, proven results."
"We are proud to partner on an initiative that has proven to change the trajectory of at risk kids' lives," said Johnson. "Providing disadvantaged kids with alternatives is a step in the right direction toward helping them reach their full potential and curb violence in our neighborhoods."