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  • YMCA's Urban Warriors Pilot Program
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The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago gives more than 227,000 individuals and families the support to help them learn, grow, and thrive. Our 27 centers, five resident camps, and dozens of extension sites promote academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, and fitness and healthy living through a variety of programs and services. Our impact is felt every day when an individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child, and when a community comes together for the common good.

Recent Press Releases


Boeing Announces $100,000 Grant to Support YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Urban Warriors Program

November 20, 2018 — Renewed grant will support veteran-led mentoring program for Chicago youth from 10 under-resourced communities.

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Kelly Hall YMCA Future Leaders Luncheon Raises More Than $160,000

November 19, 2018 — For the second year in a row, the Kelly Hall Future Leaders Luncheon raised more than $160,000 to benefit youth and families in the West Humboldt Park community.

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The Y. So Much More Recognition Dinner Raises More Than $1 Million for the 5th Consecutive Year

November 01, 2018 — More than 400 enthusiastic supporters came together for the fifth annual The Y. So Much More™ Recognition Dinner on October 25, raising more than $1.3 million for Chicago children and families - a record-breaking year.

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YMCA’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention to Serve Two Additional Chicago Communities

October 04, 2018 — New partnership will offer mental health services to youth, families, staff, and volunteers.

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McCormick YMCA Aquatic Center Now Open

July 03, 2018 — New state-of-the-art facility offers year-round pool facilities and swim programs for residents of Humboldt Park, Hermosa, Logan Square, Wicker Park.

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Recent News & Articles


August 24, 2016

Peace march held in memory of Urban Warrior Abner Garcia

About 125 people attended a peace march held for slain Urban Warrior Abner Garcia, who dedicated his life to ending violence.

August 17, 2016

Urban Warrior vet Abner Garcia slain in random act of violence

Urban Warriors mentor Abner Garcia, dedicated to helping end youth violence, was slain August 15 in a random act of violence.

Thanks to Back 2 School Illinois, Y Kids Have School Supplies—and Fun

August 11, 2016

Thanks to Back 2 School Illinois, Y Kids Have School Supplies—and Fun

Back 2 School Illinois Distribution Day is a fun annual event where hundreds of children play games and receive free school-supply kits.

Eddie Bocanegra speaks to WTTW Chicago Tonight about the “code of silence”

June 28, 2016

Eddie Bocanegra speaks to WTTW Chicago Tonight about the “code of silence”

WTTW Chicago Tonight correspondent Brandis Friedman talked with Eddie Bocanegra, executive director of the Youth Safety & Violence Prevention initiative, about the code of silence that's often pervasive on the streets of Chicago.

WCIU You & Me This Morning shares the Y’s Pool Do’s And Don’ts

June 07, 2016

WCIU You & Me This Morning shares the Y’s Pool Do’s And Don’ts

The U's Jeanne and Melissa talk pool safety with Kyle Kamman, YMCA of Metro Chicago Senior Director of Aquatics

May 02, 2016

‘There’s a story behind why we shoot’

Two graduates of the Y's Urban Warriors mentoring program talk about why they picked up a gun and how that decision changed their lives. (WBEZ)

Meet Crystal Elliott O’Connor, Director of the Y’s Early Childhood Demonstration Center

March 15, 2016

Meet Crystal Elliott O’Connor, Director of the Y’s Early Childhood Demonstration Center

Early childhood education veteran Crystal Elliott O'Connor is heading up the YMCA of Metro Chicago's new, cutting-edge Early Childhood Demonstration Center

CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood features YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Urban Warriors

March 13, 2016

CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood features YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Urban Warriors

The Y?s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) Urban Warriors program was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.

Vocalo’s The Barber Shop Show talks with the Y’s Story Squad about community violence

February 02, 2016

Vocalo’s The Barber Shop Show talks with the Y’s Story Squad about community violence

Story Squad participants Brian, Daniel, Jaime and Kevon joined WBEZ's Richard Steele on The Barber Shop Show to share their personal audio stories and how self-expression helps them to reconnect with their families and strengthen their communities.

NPR’s All Things Considered draws national attention to Urban Warriors

January 26, 2016

NPR’s All Things Considered draws national attention to Urban Warriors

Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered, visited the Kelly Hall YMCA to share how military veterans and Y outreach workers are building stable communities for young people in Chicago?s most underserved neighborhoods through Urban Warriors.

November 09, 2015

YMCA of Metro Chicago applauds Governor Rauner and legislative leaders support of CCAP

Working families who rely on the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to help support and improve the quality of life for their families are well-served by the compromise reached between Governor Rauner and legislative leaders.

The Y. So Much More™ 2015 Recognition Dinner raises $1 million for children and families

November 02, 2015

The Y. So Much More™ 2015 Recognition Dinner raises $1 million for children and families

More than 450 attendees came together on Oct. 29 to support the YMCA of Metro Chicago's mission throughout our world-class city and suburbs.

Governor Rauner’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Convenes at YSVP Headquarters

September 11, 2015

Governor Rauner’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Convenes at YSVP Headquarters

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago hosted Governor Bruce Rauner?s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform at the Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) headquarters in Little Village Sept. 8.

For troubled youths, veterans offer shoulders to lean on

July 21, 2015

For troubled youths, veterans offer shoulders to lean on

On Saturday, July 18, more than 100 YMCA supporters gathered at La Villita Community Church to celebrate 29 youth and 10 veterans at the Urban Warriors Recognition Ceremony.

July 14, 2015

8 Frantic Hours in Chicago on Fourth of July

Hundreds Protest Budget Cuts Outside Thompson Center

July 02, 2015

Hundreds Protest Budget Cuts Outside Thompson Center

CBS 2's Jim Williams and WBBM 780?s Bernie Tafoya spoke with Dawana Williamson, Senior Vice President, Youth Development, YMCA of Metro Chicago, and the Preston family about the impact of the budget cuts on children and families.

YMCA of Metro Chicago Rallies for Families Impacted by Government Shutdown

June 30, 2015

YMCA of Metro Chicago Rallies for Families Impacted by Government Shutdown

The YMCA urges supporters to join community organizations at a rally on July 1, 2015, to show legislators that CCAP and Teen REACH are crucial.

How the YMCA Helped Shape America

June 09, 2015

How the YMCA Helped Shape America

NPR highlights how the YMCA helped shape America?from launching the first basketball teams and group swim lessons in the U.S. to popularizing exercise classes and creating the oldest summer camp still in operation.

YMCA featured in WTTW’s “Violence in Chicago: Responding with Faith”

June 03, 2015

YMCA featured in WTTW’s “Violence in Chicago: Responding with Faith”

Ryan Lugalia-Hollon and Izrah Hurd were interviewed for WTTW's "Violence in Chicago: Responding with Faith," an hour-long documentary produced by the Chicago Sunday Evening Club.

Urban Warriors featured in The University of Chicago Magazine

May 26, 2015

Urban Warriors featured in The University of Chicago Magazine

The University of Chicago magazine interviewed Eddie Bocanegra and Ryan Lugalia-Hollon about Urban Warriors.

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