Achievers Program


The Achievers Program is one of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s youth development programs that encourages interaction between youth and adult role models and the exploration of higher education and career options. Founded in 1971 at the Harlem New York Branch YMCA, this nationwide program fosters the academic, personal and career development of African-American and Latino youth enrolled in the 7th – 12th grades.

The Achievers Program has six goals and objectives:

  • To expose youth to diverse career options;
  • To help youth develop a positive sense of self and build character;
  • To raise the academic standards of youth;
  • To provide youth with role models whose success and knowledge will inspire them to set and reach their goals;
  • To create channels for continuing community involvement by business and industry;
  • To recognize and promote excellence.

The Achievers Program gives youth the chance to develop the career development and life-planning skills that are essential for future success, adults the opportunity to serve as role models for future leaders, and companies the opportunity to support urban youth and enhance their corporate image while investing in the youth of today and building tomorrow’s workforce.

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The Achievers are in session from October through June. Personal development and recreational workshops are held after-school at participating YMCAs. Career sessions are conducted Saturday mornings at a University campus.

In these workshops, teens have the opportunity to learn more about careers in business/finance, communications, law and government, education, health sciences, social services, arts/entertainment, computer science, engineering and vocational and military fields.

Youth also explore issues relating to goal setting, self-esteem, resume writing, drug and alcohol awareness, conflict resolution, effective communication, and much, much, more! In addition, program participants partake in bi-annual worksite visits and annual college tours and job shadow days. Youth enrolled in the Achievers have the opportunity to earn up to 40 service learning hours.


For more information

LaDawn Norwood
Association Director of Teen Programs
773-947-0700 ext. 2559




Volunteer Information

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