The Cities Project
The Cities Project connects university students with Chicago Public School (CPS) students living in low-income neighborhoods, in which only half graduate from high school within four years. The program is designed to benefit both the CPS students and the college students by preparing CPS students for college and by educating college students about inequality in our city and ways they can make a difference.
Our work began in 1996 when Kathryn Grant, collaborators, and students began research on the impact of stress on urban youth. We found that individually-based coping strategies (e.g., actively doing something to try to change the problem) were not effective for urban youth exposed to severe and chronic stress, unless youth were supported by adults and connected to protective settings (e.g., positive community organizations).
This research lead to the development of two intervention programs that not only teach research-based strategies for managing stress but also connect youth with supportive adults and protective settings.
Our intervention programs, Cities Mentor Project and Mother-Daughter Project, have impacted more than 500 children and college students. In the future, we hope to expand across and beyond Chicago.
"I definitely think when you’re in a high stress environment and situation, mentorship can sometimes be the only light at the end of the tunnel because they are constantly encouraging you and telling you that something better is on the way and there are ways to overcome everything. If you don’t have a mentor, you might feel like 'This is it, this is my life and everything’s hard and everyone around me seems to be struggling'...so just to have someone [is helpful]."
Chantelle Miller / School Supervisor / August 2018
Our intervention programs cost $1,000 per child each year. As of today, we can only afford to serve 36 students each year. The ultimate goal is to offer every Chicago Public School student access to our supportive community. Each dollar that is donated helps grow this organization and raise the graduation rate of CPS students.
Community support strengthens our service efforts and allows us to support more Chicago Public School Students! If your business is interested in sponsoring us, click below to learn more.
Volunteer positions on The Cities Project provide experience and leadership opportunities for those interested in research, activism, clinical, community, and communications fields. Contact us to find out more about how you can get involved!