City Incite

City Incite, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization located on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. The mission of City Incite is to bring awareness to social and economic inequalities and work towards creating solutions. We focus on improving the lives of young people by helping them develop career skills while training them in the areas of construction, hospitality, and entrepreneurship and encouraging them to stay in school. We believe that your foundation’s interests in education and youth correlate with the goals of City Incite. 

Mission Statement

City Incite is a nonprofit organization that incites people from all walks of life to actively work together to help enrich the lives of others. City Incite implements fundamental programming and creates engaging events that spark an open dialogue and raises awareness about various social and economic inequalities in order to organically create positive changes in the world.

City Incite works closely with inner city youth that face economic inequalities throughout the city of Chicago. We work with them to coordinate empowering projects that will impact their community. It is important for the youth to know that they have a voice and we are counting on them to be our future leaders.

Organization History

City Incite has a partnership with After school matters for City Incite’s B.U.I.L.D program. The project period serves 30 high-risk / high need youth ages 17 to 24, mostly African American. The demographics of students who participate have high poverty rates, fewer economic opportunities, live in blighted communities with abandoned homes, and have limited access to schools that are under-performing. Gang and community violence is very high.  We empower young people while providing them the opportunity to build themselves and their communities up. We equip youth with skills needed to achieve gainful employment in a variety of industries and trades including: construction, technology, business, retail, travel, and hospitality. City Incite’s B.U.I.L.D. program (Building Up Important Lives and Dreams) takes a proven approach to economic empowerment through career training and personal development. We see the vast potential that exists within the youth. These young people often choose the wrong life path due to lack of self-esteem, skills, experience, and knowledge. Most do not know where to begin or if they are capable of achieving more. Our programs help participants gain the vital life skills and hard skills needed to begin leading a successful and prosperous life. We also have an additional active partnership with Metropolitan Family Services running a Youth Build (YB) Program, which was the model for the B.U.I.L.D. program, that currently serves 60 students and is funded by the Department of Labor.

Organizational Goals

  • Providing in-depth training that can immediately result in meaningful employment.
  • Helping students re-enter the educational sector (high school or college).
  • Helping youth complete their high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Improving the communication, presentation, and service skills of our youth.
  • Developing globally competent students for success beyond high school.
  • Beautifying and rejuvenating depressed low-income Chicagoland neighborhoods.
  • Working to increase the percentage of women and minorities in skilled trades.
  • Exposing urban youth to the opportunities that exist in the world of entrepreneurship.
  • Changing the negative image of young minorities in Chicago by giving them the opportunity to develop skills that will transform them into leaders and help make them employable.
  • Increasing workforce diversity by training and placing skilled and talented workers into opportunities with our corporate and business partners.
  • Creating safer communities.
  • We achieve these goals by offering programs both in and out of schools to youth in under-resourced communities.
  • City Incite helps our often misguided youth understand that all dreams are important and can be accomplished, especially theirs.  
  • We work to expose the greatness that exists deep within. They have the opportunity to do great things and avoid becoming statistics in this cruel world.
  • We show them the way and we B.U.I.LD. together.

Leadership

Aleta Garrett, M.A.: Aleta serves as the President for City Incite. Aleta is responsible for program development, recruitment, event planning, and agency advancement. She has a background in Nonprofit development and has worked with Nonprofits such as Better Boys Foundation and Chicago Cares. She is dedicated to City Incite reaching underserved areas and youth who deserve the best education and resources Chicago has to offer.

Elsie Jones- M.Ed.: Elsie has been a teacher with Chicago Public Schools for over 20 years. Her experience with teaching youth has been predominantly with underserved communities. She is responsible for City Incite’s College Readiness Programming. Her successful experience includes helping inner city youth with college acceptance and as an AVID coordinator.

Antonio Artis: Antonio is a retired Chicago Police Officer with over 40 years of experience working with youth in some of the toughest Chicago neighborhoods as a baseball coach. He is responsible for City Incite’s mentoring programming. Antonio has years of experience in some of Chicago’s toughest streets, and as a former police officer he knows the best way to deal with peer pressure kids receive every day. He is also the Founder of his own Nonprofit, Universal Youth, which reaches kids through sports and academics.

Joseph Harvey: Joseph is the Director of Technology and a Program Instructor for City Incite. He is responsible for the programs involving coding, website development, business training, and financial literacy. He is also an alum of i.c.stars, a Nonprofit committed to serving adults in the inner city that are interested in learning new business and technology skills. His experience at i.c.stars has inspired immersive culture youth programming at City Incite.

Problem

The City of Chicago is like a “Tale of Two Cities.”  One of the most staggering disparities is directly associated with the contrasting unemployment rates between the different racial groups. Studies also show an undeniable correlation between poverty and crime. According to the U.S. Department of Justice: 

“Persons in poor households at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) had more than double the rate of violent victimization as persons in high-income households.” “Persons in poor households had a higher rate of violence involving a firearm compared to persons above the FPL.”

We believe that to combat these stats and create sustainable change – a disruption has to take place.

Leaders have to be developed. These 4 elements are critical to that development…

Hope

There is a scarcity of hope in many neighborhoods across America.  In Chicago in particular, many of our citizens are simply doing whatever it takes to “make it.” This “just get by” mentality has been passed down for generations and has become the norm.  Too often this way of thinking replaces hopefulness which is a vital resource needed for overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. Our job is to provide hope to youth and adults.  Currently we focus the majority of our efforts on depressed neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago.

Skills

Soft Skills – Hard Skills – Middle Skills

Many people believe that the skills gap in America is a big reason for high unemployment rates and lack of opportunities for lower income individuals.  While schools do what they can to prepare youth for college and career life, they have standards and curriculum that must be adhered to. City Incite works with schools and partner organizations to provide supplemental programming for students to help boost their skills in technology, business, critical thinking, public speaking, and many other areas.

Knowledge

Our surveys have shown that many students become disengaged with school because they do not think the content is relevant to their lives. If knowledge is the key to success, how can our youth be successful without it? As educators, we are challenged to innovate and explore ways to engage students and encourage them to take ownership of their progress. There are many ways to gain knowledge. City Incite infuses logic, creativity, and innovative thinking into our program development process. We also focus on taking time to help youth connect what they are learning to how it will help them in the future.

Opportunity

Opportunity – (noun) A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. We regularly remind both youth and adults that, “Life is a combination of adversity and opportunity” When you are not taught to seek out and identify opportunity; all you can really see is the adversity that you are forced to endure. We help teach people to seek out and even create their own opportunities. When we believe in ourselves and have hope that we can succeed and mix that with skills and knowledge, we can then create opportunity for ourselves and others.

Program

The program for which City Incite is seeking funding, Building Up Important Lives and Dreams Youth Opportunity Construction Training Program (B.U.I.L.D.), focuses on low-income male and female high school students and youth, training them after school and during the summer in trades and workplace skills that can lead to employment. Certified instructors and industry professionals train young people in the basics of construction. Participants learn about:

  • worksite safety principles and policies, 
  • proper use of hand tools and power tools, 
  • construction math, 
  • proper gear, clothing, and safety equipment, 
  • proper material handling procedures, 
  • construction documents and drawings, 
  • jobs and roles in the construction industry, 
  • and pathways to specialized training and gainful employment. 

Participants have the opportunity to work on local job sites, rehabilitating properties in their own communities, rejuvenating low-income Chicago neighborhoods and creating safer communities by reducing the number of unoccupied structures. Students also can earn their OSHA 10 certification along with their NCCER. Participants who successfully complete the program are given placement opportunities with corporate and business partners. 

Evaluation and Outcomes

The BUILD program at City Incite’s commitment is to education and employment training. BUILD trains at-risk and low-income youth in the building trades and general workplace skills while encouraging them to graduate from high school or obtain their GED. Participants learn construction trade skills or hospitality industry skills and find employment or go on to further education. During their time in the program, they will improve their communities while gaining valuable real-world experience and workplace skills.  In short, we help provide students and workers with the skills needed to succeed and move forward in today’s workplace.”

BUILD participants will achieve several outcomes: 

  • participants will achieve high school graduation or GED.  
  • participants will have new or updated resumes.
  • participants will report learning new skills that will help them become better employees. 
  • participants will recognize that they can make a positive change in their community by building on the entrepreneurial skills learned in the program.
  • participants will gain job or college placement.
  • participants will participate in 20 hours of service to help improve their local communities.
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