For more than 25 years, After School Matters has provided life-changing out-of-school opportunities for teens in Chicago’s most under-resourced and under-served communities. All of our programs share the common goal of helping our teens reach their full potential by providing opportunities to learn directly from positive role models who are professionals in their fields.
At After School Matters, we advocate on behalf of Chicago’s most vulnerable teens by highlighting the importance of quality enrichment programming during out-of-school time, and pursuing a strength-based approach to youth development. Our goal is to prepare our young people for success during their high school years and beyond. In order to continue our work of providing more than 23,000 opportunities to Chicago’s teens across three program sessions each year, we must ensure sustained public funding and support. If you believe, like we do, that our teens represent our future, we encourage you to advocate for Chicago’s youth and voice your support for continued After School Matters program opportunities to your elected representatives.
“My program is a better way to keep you out of trouble. With all the violence in Chicago, After School Matters is something to keep you out of the streets.”
— Debrya, 18, Englewood
1. Click here to find your city & state legislator.
2. Use the below sample script to tell your legislator what After School Matters means to you.
Advocating for our teens means, first and foremost, highlighting their amazing accomplishments. Therefore, After School Matters programs continually engage with elected officials and community leaders to showcase our teen’s efforts and hard work, and to celebrate the positive impact that they have on Chicago communities.
Illinois State Representative Theresa Mah visited the first ever ChiTeens Hack at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy on May 6, 2017. A collaboration between After School Matters and the Adler Planetarium, the one-day event brought together more than 90 Chicago high school teens, 14 community organizations, and 22 mentors for a STEM workshop, exploring and creating different tools in science and technology to solve civic problems. Thank you, Representative Mah for taking the time to talk to the group, meet with individual teens and discuss the importance of STEM!
In April 2017, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza participated in a bread-baking tutorial with our Advanced Culinary Arts program from the East Side neighborhood led by chefs from The Intergalactic Bakers Federation. Comptroller Mendoza joined 30 teens and four chefs in the pastry kitchen of the Palmer House Hilton to learn techniques for baking, flouring and kneading bread. Thank you, Comptroller Mendoza for telling our teens that they matter!
In partnership with Alderman Edward Burke (Ward 14), three teens from the After School Matters Drawing and Painting–Experimental Surfaces program painted a larger-than-life fire hydrant commemorating the three Chicago Firemen who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 2011. It was presented to Mayor Emanuel in December, and is now on display at City Hall.
Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter (IL 3rd District) visited After School Matters’ video and music production program TechKno Camp in Grand Boulevard for an immersive tour. Read more about this experience here.
Local Aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended and spoke at the public announcement of After School Matters’ new facility in Belmont Cragin, expressing their support and excitement for the future of teens in the neighborhood.
If you are interested in becoming an active advocate for After School Matters, please enter the following information: