CampusLife

Community Engagement & Service

The Effects of Poverty on Chicago Inner-City Youth

The Trip
This trip will explore both the factors that contribute to poverty and the magnitude of its adverse effects on youth in areas of education, health, housing, and behavior. In doing so we will also uncover the initiatives organizations are doing to fight poverty in Chicago. With over 30% of its youth living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011American Community Survey, Chicago was ranked with the third highest extreme poverty rate.

Historically, Chicago experienced significant economic loss following the Second World War with intense decentralization of the industry. The steady increase in impoverishment, along with the historic disadvantages in Chicago, there is a great opportunity for this Alternative Break trip to truly explore the effects of poverty on inner-city youth. Additionally, it is through the observation and engagement with various community partners who work to support, empower, and advocate for the youth that we will gain a better understanding of the issues that certain populations face as a result of living in impoverished and underserved communities.

As a means of further understanding the strain of lack of resources, participants will be encouraged to take part in the Food Stamp Challenge for the duration of the trip, a representation of the reality that many Americans face daily. To document our experience and be able to evaluate our time in Chicago upon return we will put together a video blog of our daily challenges and reflections. It is our hope that by the conclusion of the trip those participants would not have only gained a better understanding of what it means to live in poverty, but also that they be motivated to work towards alleviating social and economic inequalities through direct service, activism, and policy change for urban-city youth nationwide.


About the Student Trip Leaders

Diana Williams is a junior double majoring in Public Health and Sociology. She first gained her passion for community service when she started volunteering at her church’s food pantry during high school. What started as a requirement turned into a passion after continuing her work in the community upon coming to DC. This is her first Alternative Break trip, though she has held several leadership positions in the Center for Community Engagement & Service, including with DC Reads and the Freshmen Service Experience. She is excited for the great service opportunities to come.

Daa’iyah (Dye) White is a junior majoring in Political Science. While politics is her major focus, she has always understood the importance and value of giving back to one’s community. With that in mind, she looks forward to being able to drive policy change that will positively affect the communities in which she is apart of. Also her first Alternative Break trip; Daa’iyah is so excited to go to Chicago during spring break.
 

Tentative Itinerary (subject to change)

Day 1
Depart Washington, D.C.
Arrive and Explore Historic Chicago

Day 2
Breakfast  
Work at Chicago Food Bank
Lunch
Work at World Vision
Dinner
Video Diary project & Group Reflection

Both the work with the Chicago Food Bank and World Vision will address the hunger issue experienced by many impoverished youth.

Day 3
Breakfast
Work at World Vision
Lunch
Visit the Peace Corner
Dinner
Community Panel
Video Diary project & Group Reflection

The Peace Corner opportunity will utilize our skills to either serve as role model, tutor, computer instructor, or just a means of friendship to impact the lives of young children in the Chicago area.

Day 4
Breakfast  
Work at World Vision
Lunch  
Video Diary project & Group Reflection
Dinner  
Work at Peace Corner

Day 5
Breakfast
Volunteer at YMCA of Chicago
Lunch
Afternoon exploring Chicago, Visit the SkyDeck
Dinner
Video Diary project & Group Reflection

The work we do with the YMCA of Chicago, specifically the Street Intervention Program, will allow us to hear from youth directly affected by the effects of poverty that lead them to commit crimes. Once again the Lift-Chicago volunteer work will address prevention and support of those managing the effects of poverty through the safe housing program, better school placement initiatives, and more.

Day 6
Breakfast  
Volunteer at Chicago Area Food Project
Lunch
Video Diary project & Group Reflection
Dinner

The Chicago Area Project will give trip members the chance to work with the youth programs meant to strengthen the neighborhood by helping children. Volunteers will serve in a number of capacities ranging from mentors, program/activity supervisors, homework helpers, activity leaders and more. The work we will complete at the St. Thomas of Canterbury Soup Kitchen will assist with preparing food, setting up tables and chairs, serving the meal, and cleaning up; as well as work in the Food Pantry in which volunteers will help distribute food previously packaged to the public. Thus further assisting with the food insecurity issue impoverished youth face.

Day 7
Breakfast  
Volunteer at Word of Truth
Lunch
Final Planning for Post Trip Activism
Dinner

The Word of Truth Soup Kitchen will not only allow us to again distribute food but also experience another community dealing with food insecurity as it is on a different side of town and served a predominantly Spanish-speaking demographic.


Day 8
Depart Chicago

Resources

Location:  Chicago, Illinois

Date of Trip:  Sunday, March 9, 2014 – Sunday, March 16, 2014

Email the Student Trip Leaders:  Diana Williams and Daa’iyah White

Staff Advisor:

Cost: $860

Cost Includes: airfare, transportation, room and board, meals, and all activities.