Chicago is a city of many neighborhoods, 77 to be exact.  Youth who live in those that are tarnished by the ills of poverty and therefore are also areas of low opportunity suffer a substantial impact to their social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and behavioral development.

Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) endeavors to serve the comprehensive needs of each youth with an asset-based approach that intends to mitigate risks while building strengths.  How do we do it?  By making a long-term investment for a long-term impact.  This investment begins as early as birth and lasts until age 25, when we expect our young adults to have successfully completed their post-secondary plans and be well on their way to establishing a life sustaining career.

Founded in 1984 by Northwestern University medical students, what started as the Cabrini Green Youth Program has grown into an organization serving youth and families in at least 30 of the city’s 50 wards.  What is more, CYP has expanded its reach during this time of COVID-19 response and recovery with the implementation of a virtual program platform.  With this platform CYP supports ongoing student engagement amid changing safety guidelines, while also providing volunteers the opportunity to continue to support, and families the chance to engage in new and exciting ways.

Chicago Youth Programs believes in the pursuit of equity and access on behalf of each of our youth.  We are reminded everyday how vital it is for young people of color to be allowed to participate and have learned that this participation must come in the form of equitable access to:  Quality education, comprehensive healthcare, skill development, and career opportunity. To that end, our program model reflects what 3 ½ decades has taught us: Poverty impacts the whole child, so we purpose to serve the whole child.

is the year CYP began serving youth
youth served annually
high school graduation and post-secondary matriculation rate in 2020


The Mission of Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) is to improve the health and life opportunities of at-risk youth using a comprehensive approach aimed at developing their capabilities.

Learn about our program model through the path of one youth

Marquita's Program Journey

CYP volunteers are the pillar of our program model


Giving Tuesday

November 15th, 2022|

This Giving Tuesday help support CYP families. Our goal for each child is to complete a higher education degree, providing the opportunity to escape poverty and avoid all the health risks associate with living in poverty.

  • CYP Open House

2022 Open House

August 25th, 2022|

JOIN US – SEPTEMBER 9, 2022 from 6-7:30pm for updates about our organization, detail about programming, and more.

Former CYP teen teen speaks to federal lawmakers

June 16th, 2022|

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago teen is among several people telling federal lawmakers about their experiences with gun violence as they search for ways to stop it. The first to testify was a 19-year-old from Chicago's West Side.

External Engagement

Bring your world into ours, to make a world of difference




The 2021 theme, Hope To Soar, recognizes the potential that ALL youth possess. It also demonstrates our belief that despite the challenges of where they grow up, they are destined for greatness. A special thanks to Sterling Bay and One Two PRU for their continued partnership.


As long as poverty, injustice, and inequity persist, none of us can truly rest

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