Project RISE

“Chicago’s problems with youth unemployment have stood out because of severe racial disparities that are starker than in cities like New York City and Los Angeles…”

– Chicago Tribune, January 2017

Project RISE works with youth, volunteers, and community partners to create a safe space for experiential learning in the area of job readiness. The program works to overcoming biases and barriers that impede the workplace—deepening understanding of how to leverage youths’ strengths and build relationships across ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds.

About the Program

Maku and Antwon in the Sol Cafe kitchen.

Project RISE engages youth 14-18 years of age, through year-round school support, skills training, community service, and a workplace program, designed to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for youth and families of the Rogers Park community. 

Family Matters believes that focusing on at-promise youth is a future-oriented approach as this group represents those who will be carrying on the Rogers Park community legacy.

Project RISE offers a holistic, multi-pronged solution to the complex issue of youth marginalization.

The academic and economic potential of inner-city youth has been largely unrecognized and untapped. Marginalization has an impact on an individual’s ability to participate in social, academic, economic, cultural, and political spheres of society. It occurs regardless of the individual’s merit, talent, or failure because the individual is a member of a target group. 

Join us in changing that…

Through the program, youth receive:
  • Year-round leadership training, community service opportunities, and financial literacy workshops. 
  • Guidance in career options and job-seeking strategies.
  • Resume building skills and interview preparation.
  • One-on-one tutor-mentoring.
  • Intensive, week-long orientation on workplace etiquette and professional acumen.
  • Paid six-week internship experience.
Youth leave the program with:
  • A positive outlook for the future and a greater sense of hope.
  • Mentoring support to guide them in understanding and managing emotions and behavior in order to achieve at work and in life.
  • Financial resources that have an added benefit of becoming a poverty-reduction strategy in the community. 

“Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of Family Matters’ Project RISE Internship Program this summer. It was a great learning experience for the cafe and our entire team. Savion is a wonderful young teen to work with. He was timely, friendly to all, completed all tasks asked of him, and took initiative when and where needed.” 

– Roseanna, former manager of Charmers Cafe

“Every day I learn something new. Communication with my fellow workers is so important. I learned what it means to be responsible.” 

– Savion, 14, Participant

What You Can Do

Gifts of any size make a critical difference. Your donation provides:

$25 – Notebooks and pens for youth

$50 – Food and supplies for orientation

$100 – CTA train pass for one youth during internship

$200 – One youth’s orientation stipend 

$500 – One youth’s full internship 

Other ways to become involved:
  • Volunteer and share about your career as a guest speaker at Family Matters.
  • Become or refer an internship site.
  • Connect Family Matters to donation matching or grant funding opportunities through your company. 

Visit our website for a full list of volunteer opportunities available.

Contact Information

For information about becoming an internship site or a volunteer, or the Project RISE program:
Chris Spence, Director of Youth Engagement and Teen Boys Program
773-465-6011 x122

To share funding ideas or opportunities:
Amanda ReuterDirector of Development
773-465-601 x124