Inner City Youth and Adult Foundation, Inc.
(Not for Profit 501C3 tax exempt Organization)
National and State Historical Landmark Site
(Former Home of the Commuter Rail Station)
4500 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60653
Inner City Youth Foundation, Inc. a not for profit 501C3 organization, incorporated in 1977. ICYF was formulated and funded out of a for profit business. It was formulated to provide recreational activities for anti-social youth in order to counteract anti-social behavior in the community.
Basketball and softball tournaments were initiated consisting of 16 teams from various Chicago Housing Authority complexes to eliminate turf wars/violence in the community. This resulted in building relationships between the various groups by engaging them constructive and competitive activities.
Coming out of a for profit business, we immediately notice a change and a drop in sales resulting from un-employment. In 1993, the Chicago Urban League offered us space and we began placing youth on jobs. During this period we worked with TASC at the Cook County Day Reporting Center to prevent overcrowding and later with HRDI providing Rights of Passage classes to non violent offenders.
Also, In 1983 we were invited to be a guest speaker at the Stateville prison by Mr. Stewart the Chief Librarian at the prison. Mr. Stewart was always working to establish better relations between Inmates at the maximum security facility. Our Foundation became partners with Mr. Stewart in these efforts to create a less hostile prison environment. In the early years we worked with the C Number population, which were those inmates that had no outdates, meaning they were serving indiscriminant sentencing. We work several years on this issue and eventually got 90% of this three hundred member population released. We worked along side Mike Mahoney of the John Howard association and Seth Donnelly of Amnesty International.
Our organization wrote a chapter on re-integration to society in Dr. Maisha Bennett’s book
on needed prison reforms. We worked along side Dr. Bennett, Ma Houston, Mother York,
Rev. Sinclair, Dr. Margret Burroughs and members of the Nation of islam.
We began teaching our Rights of Passage Program on the first day that the Cook County Day Reporting Center’s inception, we had many years of success at the DRC while visiting and lecturing in most of the state prisons. We were invited by Director Odie Washington to be his guest at the U.S. Department of Justice National Conference in Dallas Texas in 1996. We helped to Design and formulate the national boot camp concept at this conference along with David Weinstein who now works at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
We now do transitional housing for the Illinois department of corrections where we employ all our skills in the re-integration process for ex- offenders. We also do job placement for the federal bureau of prisons.
We offer veteran services to homeless veterans at our facility and attempt to provide valuable
referrals to all walk in veterans whatever the needs may be. Our director is an honorably discharged veteran with a strong sense of commitment to veteran services and is an active member of leaving no veteran behind.
In 1995, we purchased the Swift Mansion from the Chicago Urban League. The Swift Mansion is a National and State Historical Landmark Building with architectural significance, now open to the public and it is the former home of the commuter rail station.
During the following years, we worked with TASC, HRDI and Haymarket to provide various services to the community. We continued to provide services to the youth by engaging them in Employment, Reading to build projects, Field Trips, HIV Awareness and many other activities (see attached).
In 1997, we began advocating improving the educational system due to the high dropout and incarceration rate. We wrote a High school Reconstitution Plan and a Drop out Prevention and Re-enrollment plan that we continue initiate and advocate today.
In 2000, we changed the name to Inner City Youth and Adult Foundation because we now realized that we were not only serving children but the children we had been serving had become adults.
In 2006, we received a re-habilitation grant from the Department of Economic Development to provide some badly needed renovation to the Swift Mansion, this created jobs to our youth and adults. We currently provide tours and other community activities in the building
In 2009, we began providing transitional living and life skills for the Illinois Correctional Facility ex offenders, what we now call new citizens. We are currently providing those services.
During the month of October, we will be hosting Open House Chicago with the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
We have requested a meeting with the Mayor and the new CEO to discuss curriculum changes in Chicago Public Schools,
We have requested a meeting with our County President to discuss reducing the budget at the Cook County Day Reporting Center.
We are currently advocating for employment for non violent ex-offenders with CTA. These non-violent ex offenders refuse to be locked in a life of crime.