CYSC Capstone Project Preludes Future of Chicago’s Young Leaders

Courtesy of David Loran Jr

What Is CYSC? Who Represents CYSC?

CYSC (Chicago Youth Service Corps) is a culmination of young leaders, who aspire to make a change in the community in which they reside. This would not be made possible if it were not for the partners who believe in the mission. Also, for the young leaders themselves, who do what they can to make an impact in their community. Whether it be, writing articles about their community, or gathering several young leaders together to create their own organization, for one common goal: Making a Change.

Michael Jackson once said in his song “Heal the World,” “There are people dying… If you care enough for the living… Make a better place for you and for me.” These young leaders are the full embodiment of this phrase, and live up to this phrase each and every day, as they advocate for change in their communities.

Overview Of The CYSC Capstone Project Event

As a result of these young leaders doing their best to uphold the mission of CYSC, an event was hosted at Malcolm X College, to commemorate their work over the span of the year 2022. Many partners of the CYSC showed up to this event, expressing their gratitude for the hard work and dedication these young leaders put into advocating for Chicago.

A beautiful opening from Brandon Knazze, who served as Commissioner of the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) begins the event. Deputy Mayor Jaye Stapleton, who serves as Chicago’s Deputy Mayor for Educational and Human Services, afterward delivers her beautiful speech, in which she mentions, “Where we can celebrate our work together, to build a more equitable, inclusive, and prosperous Chicago.” Three to four young leaders from each program had a chance to speak about how they contribute to the CYSC mission.

With The Voices

With The Voices were the first group of young leaders to present their topic. They introduced the topic of healthy eating and the fact that many families struggle every day to put healthy food on the table. Mentioned as well, was the fact that many families live a mile or more away from their nearest supermarket, therefore having to rely on corner stores for their daily meals. This leads to higher obesity rates, higher diabetes rates, and a higher chance of heart disease. Therefore, advocating for these families who constantly wonder if there will be healthy food on the table, is highly necessary.

The Southside Advocates

The Southside Advocates were the second group of young leaders to present their topic. Mental health is an issue that many teens and adults struggle with, especially after coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are not many resources that are available to adults and teens in regard to mental health, therefore many resort to hiding it. Depression and anxiety arise from hiding these feelings. That is why The Southside Advocates speak about resources, where people can talk about their mental health, and also where they can receive help and healing as a result.

Courtesy of David Loran Jr


MapsCorps was the third group of young leaders to present their topic. They presented two diagrams in which each represented two different scenarios. The first graph they showcased documented the number of violent crimes that occurred throughout Chicago. A legend guided viewers as to how bad crime was throughout the city.

Red signified that the crime rate was quite high in that region, and almost all of Chicago was red. They then pointed to the next diagram which showed poverty rates all across South Shore Chicago. The diagram showed that 40% of the population of South Shore Chicago receives less than 25K in income. This heavily impacts many families, as less than 25K certainly does not suffice as enough to live.

Aspira’s YouthTalk

Aspira’s YouthTalk was the fourth group of young leaders to present their topic. They raised concerns about the number of times young people do not speak up about issues. Some of the issues mentioned are not limited to LGBTQ+ rights, Human Trafficking, and Police Brutality. The less that young people speak about this issue, the more this will occur. Therefore, this program is especially needed so that way this does not occur any much longer.

Chicago Youth Service Corp – Central State

Chicago Youth Service Corp – Central State was the fifth group of young leaders to present their topic. CYSC Central State expressed the lack of resources that many small businesses have. Typically when it comes to branding or putting their name out there. There are many businesses, as they mentioned, such as Uber Eats, Door-dash, or Yelp, that have already been given the resources to become bigger businesses.

This is why CYSC Central State, created an Instagram page to shout out to smaller businesses. Due to this, these smaller businesses are prospering each day, all thanks to this group who prioritize smaller businesses, and want to see them succeed.

Asian Human Services’ YouthTalk

Asian Human Services’ YouthTalk was the Sixth and final group of young leaders to present their topic. AHS spoke about Sex Education, and how to de-disparage the topic of Sex Education and Reproductive Health. A lot of people do not shed enough light on how important this topic is and judge it based on how it sounds at first.

There are also a lot of schools that do not teach this topic to the best of their ability, therefore many children are not fully informed on this subject. Therefore, the fact that there are advocates for this subject, and the fact that they are making sure that young teens get the information that is needed, is very important, especially in today’s age.

Showcasing In Its Entirety

This entire showcasing shows that there is still hope for the next generations. It shows that there is unity between younger teens and adults and that these young teens will do everything in their power to advocate for their communities. Being a part of any of these programs truly shows one’s commitment, love, and passion for the CYSC mission.

Many of the young teens that are a part of these CYSC programs, see how important it is for others to receive the help and care that they need. Thanks to these programs, Chicago will continue to evolve and continue to be better as the years progress.

Written by David Loran Jr


Michael Jackson – Heal The World

Images Courtesy of David Loran Jr

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