Youth Leadership Council

What is the Youth Leadership Council?
Talented, committed, and inspiring youth between the ages of 12 and 17 participate in the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) – an intensive program in civic engagement and social justice. Participants are trained on leadership, community development, and self-empowerment, with the goal of creating an independent team that votes on and leads its own projects in the community.

What does the Youth Leadership Council Do?
With guidance, the Youth Leadership Council discusses problems in the community, and thinks out solutions to fix each problem. Teens work together to implement their vision of a solution. They may team up with community organizations, government figures, the police, and schools to create positive solutions to problems that they encounter in their everyday lives. While the youth have the final say in the project they choose to implement in the community, some examples may include:

  • Organizing community events against violence and bullying
  • Advocating for a community center, summer jobs/internships, and educational supports
  • Supporting alternatives to detentions and suspensions, such as peace circles
  • Leading anti-violence workshops in their school, community center, or church
  • Hosting public meetings between police and students/residents to improve mutual trust and communication

Why join the Youth Leadership Council?
The YLC addresses issues directly, empowers youth to plan and execute their own initiatives, and supports them with the mentoring, leadership tools, and civic engagement skills. In addition, all Youth Leadership Council participants will experience the following direct benefits:

  • Meet like-minded students who have a VOICE in the community
  • Build leadership & problem-solving skills
  • Earn credit for community service hours
  • Build your resume and/or college application
  • Create programs in the community that YOUTH want to see

For more information, or to join the Youth Leadership Council, please contact ASE at 773-221-8908.

Right photo credit: Julia Hunter,

“I’ve never been apart of a mural making project, it made me feel like my voice mattered. We got to draw out what other people think about Southsiders and got to create a real representation of who we really are.”

-Dejarae Keenan, YLC leader & Baker College Prep student


Safe Zone

The Alliance of the SouthEast and partners are establishing a safe zone, or neutral zone, on 91st St between Houston and Burley, and on Burley between 89th and 92nd Streets.

The goal is to provide a safe place for children to attend school and for families to use the services on 91st Street, including the library, the YMCA, Metropolitan Family Services, and attend church. The safe zone, or neutral zone, is a zone that is free from violence from 9am-9pm.

There are nine community partners that have agreed to be Safe Havens, places where people can go if they feel threatened. The organization is committed to providing reasonable assistance to persons in distress (which may include calling police or emergency services). Safe Havens are designated with a sign in the window designating them as a safe haven, and has a picture of a street light (shown below).

Safe Haven signsafe passage sign

Ways that you can get involved:

  • Place a Safe Haven (businesses) or a Safe Passage (residents) flier in your window and call police if a child takes shelter or requests assistance.
  • Report any violence to the police. If possible, please give your information. You can make a report ANONYMOUSLY by:
    1. Calling 911 (You can request to be anonymous)
    2. Texting the word “CPD” followed by a video or your description of the crime and person committing the crime to CRIMES (274637), OR
    3. Reporting a crime online to: Community Policing E-tip:
      1. Drug activity
      2. Gang-related activity
      3. Other major crimes
  • Create a phone list/email list with your neighbors to receive neighborhood alerts and to let neighbors know about recent activity.
  • Attend meetings regarding neighborhood safety.

Community Cookout
ASE held our first Community Cookout in July 2013, celebrating the creation of a safe zone along 91st Street and along Burley St. Over 300 people attended the event, including neighborhood residents and their families and local organizations. We had games for both kids and adults, a fire engine tour for kids, and served hamburgers and hot dogs. It was one of the few times neighbors have sat on their porches.

We held our 2nd Community Block Party in 2014 on 91st and Houston, with 400+ people attending.

Kids in line for sack races

Kids waiting in line to get faces painted at the community cookout, celebrating the safe zone.

Sack races

Sack races at the community cookout.