As an organization dedicated to rigorous evaluation and measurement, Get IN Chicago spends a great deal of time tracking long-term outcomes of our groups, schools, and neighborhoods.  We devise strategies to help our grantees reach greater numbers each year and look for trends showing large-scale impact.  We are committed to determining what works.

But we also know that while we crunch the numbers, our grantees are making enormous strides.  The time, conversations, and guidance that they provide to our youth and parents can change the course of a life.  This support, which our grantees give throughmentoring, teaching, tutoring, therapy, and more, might not always be easily measurable – but it is always invaluable.

Throughout the year, Get IN Chicago asks grantees to send us updates about the young men, women, and parents in our funded programs. In the spirit of the holidays, we hope to share a few of these snapshots over the next few weeks.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of our program participants – and thanking the workers who make these successes possible each and every day!

bam common

Participants in Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. program had the opportunity to meet Common at Chicago Ideas Week (photo via Youth Guidance)

Youth Guidance – B.A.M.
Core Programming – CBT

Get IN Chicago expanded its grant for Youth Guidance‘s Becoming A Man (B.A.M.) program to reach 600 young men throughout Austin, Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, and Roseland this school year.  The B.A.M. program combines weekly group counseling sessions and check-ins with full-time counselors on each school campus , complemented by sports-based activities to support social-emotional learning skills.  Get IN Chicago currently funds B.A.M. at Douglass, Austin Campuses, Orr Academy, Harlan, Fenger, and Harper high schools.

This past spring, 32 B.A.M. seniors graduated from Little Village Lawndale High School (LVLHS.) One of these graduates, Ric*, credits B.A.M. with helping him graduate on time.

Ric had been involved in B.A.M. since 8th grade, and during his time at LVLHS, developed a strong bond with his B.A.M. counselor. But leading up to his senior year, Ric had never completed a semester without failing a course.

Through weekly B.A.M. circles and frequent individual sessions with his B.A.M. counselor, Ric began to confront the factors that contributed to his poor performance in school: truancy, a negative attitude, destructive relationships at home and in school, and behavior problems. Through his work in B.A.M., Ric began to internalize program values such as self-determination and integrity, to regulate his emotions, and to develop positive relationships with his peers and teachers.

During the fall semester of his senior year, Ric completed his first semester of school without failing a course. His increased commitment to education manifested through strong school attendance (Ric was never late for class during the spring semester) and resulted in the school’s recognition of his improved performance. In Fall 2015, Ric plans to attend Howard Washington College in Chicago.

*name changed

douglas family event

A recent event at Douglass Academy brought together B.A.M. participants and family members (photo via Youth Guidance)