It’s not official yet, but it appears that a three-year federal grant in the amount of $500,000 is headed to a group of youth-oriented organizations in Evanston to finance projects to deal with violence involving young people.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who represents Evanston in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Seth Green, executive director of the Youth Organizations Umbrella (YOU), made the tentative announcement at a special “public conversation” at the McGaw YMCA’s Children’s Center Auditorium Monday night.

About 200 persons filled the auditorium for the event, co-sponsored by the YMCA, YWCA Evanston/North Shore, YOU, the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, the Youth Job Center of Evanston, and Family Focus.

A panel consisting of parents, students, coaches, and youth advocates gave testimonials prompted by the shooting death last week of Dajae Coleman, a freshman at Evanston Township High School.

Panel of Evanston youth and adults mull the impact of the Dajae Coleman murder.

The panel, as well as members of the audience, expressed their feelings about the impact the shooting has had on their lives and productive ways that the community can work together to lessen the atmosphere of violence surrounding Evanston’s youth in the future.

But many of the programs suggested would require substantial funds for such activities as mentoring and job training.

As a member of the audience who identified himself as an Evanston business owner expressed it: “Just as the city looks at its roads and sewers—its infrastructure—so should we regard our young people as an important element of the infrastructure of our community.”

Moderator Seth Green of the Youth Organizations Umbrella

YOU Executive Director Seth Green, who moderated the discussion, said after the meeting that YOU had applied for the federal grant, from the Department of Housing and Human Services, as the lead agency on behalf of several groups who provide services to the youth of Evanston.

He said one of the primary objects of the grant would be youths aged 19 and above, many of whom are high school dropouts, who live in the community but have moved up from Chicago where they have not been recipients of services from the local school districts.

Rep. Schakowsky said that the funding, presumably released in Washington Friday, is earmarked primarily for “street outreach.”

Green urged his audience to participate in Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl’s community meeting on anti-violence initiatives Tuesday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center located at 1655 Foster St.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

Join the Conversation


  1. Tax cuts to disappear, so there’s more money to spend

    Its starting to appear tax cuts will disappear come January 1st, the average family could pay $3,500  more in federal taxes.  Where will the economy go after this?  What effect will this have on the poorest areas of this community?

    One person stated the city should look at Youths like the roads and sewers and invest in them, thats a troubling thought given the city's lack of investament in roads and sewer work. and the mess the entire program is in. Millions not spent but misused for other purposes.

    More money to be spent on what? Talking to people?  More staff? 

    I always find it interesting, that the politicians and others say its the people from Chicago,  ( not Evanston residents that are the problem )

    He said one of the primary objects of the grant would be youths aged 19 and above, many of whom are high school dropouts, who live in the community but have moved up from Chicago where they have not been recipients of services from the local school districts.  

    Maybe I missed something but wasn't the  accused shooter in the recent murder, a ETHS graduate?


  2. Just throw more money at failed not for profit programs?

    So let me get this straight, Jan Schakowsky and her jan fans have a meeting at the Y to discuss the recent violence in the City of Evanston. The facilitor of the meeting is Seth Green who is the Executive Director of the Y.O.U. not for profit. Based on the Y.O.U. web site the Y.O.U. program has been running in Evanston for 40 years and "touched the lives of 15,000 with afterschool enrichment and mentoring to clinical counseling and crisis intervention – to ensure that out-of-school time is safe, healthy, and fun."  Jan then announces a $500,000.00 grant to be awarded and Green states "one of the primary objects of the grant would be youths aged 19 and above, many of whom are high school dropouts, who live in the community but have moved up from Chicago where they have not been recipients of services from the local school districts."

    What a crock!

    Y.O.U. currently has representives in both ETHS and grade schools in Evanston what have they done? How do they measure success? It would appear from rising violence in Evanston primarily around ETHS and committed by Evanston residents that attended Evanston public schools that the program that Y.O.U. offers is a failure.  The organization should be reviewed before any further taxpayer money is given to it. $500,000.00 for what?

    I also find it interesting that the Y.O.U. board of directors reads like the campaign committee for our illustrious mayor.

    Time for a real plan Mayor, your public forums, failed not for profit social services don't work.

    1. Making a difference

      1)      Y.O.U. does make a profound difference in the lives of the youth we serve and we have a comprehensive evaluation system in place to measure this success.  Through our close partnership with ETHS and four District 65 schools, we know that 72% of youth in our mentorship and afterschool programs have increased their GPAs, 84% have gained skills that make them less likely to join gangs, and 92% have improved their social skills.

      These numbers are substantiated by powerful testimonials we have received from parents, teachers, community partners (such as the Evanston Police Department) and the youth themselves, as well as the wonderful accomplishments of recent Y.O.U./ETHS graduates — including two on last night’s panel — who are already active in making Evanston a better community for all.

      2)      While Y.O.U. serves 700 youth and reaches 2,500 family members each year, unfortunately we cannot reach every youth in need, especially as the poverty rate in Evanston has increased substantially in recent years.   The new Street Outreach Program will help us and our three community partners reach more Evanston youth, especially those who may be unaware of existing programs or reluctant to receive services in traditional locations.

      1. Figures

        GPA up – ok measurable, I'll give you that. Nice work.

        "84% have gained skills that make them less likely to join gangs" and "92% have improved their social skills"

        84% have skills that make them "less" likely to join a gang!  92% have "improved" social skills! How could anyone even come up with a number like that?

        "These numbers are substantiated by powerful testimonials"

        Numbers are not substantiated through testimonial, only audit.  Wall Street has proven this.

        Maybe Y.O.U. should publish the methodology used for the "comprehensive evaluation system" that is in place.  Might be published and I just didn't find it on the Y.O.U. web site.

        The numbers you quote seem quite subjective with exception to the GPA number, and with all the success Y.O.U. is claiming why is violent crime on the increase in Evanston?  The poverty level has not increased that much in Evanston based on census.  Maybe more students in Evanston public schools that are served by the Y.O.U. program have slipped through the cracks. Or maybe it's that 16% served by the program that don't have the skills to make them "less" likely to join a gang.

        The $500,000.00 should go to the EPD.

        1. GPA and real knowledge

          One reason people—those who hire—question the schools is we all know about grade inflation and in some schools teachers just pass students out to get them out of the way or to keep parents and school officials happy.

          This is one reason standard testing has been used so much.  We can't trust what the schools produce in grades.   I don't maintain that the Bell Curve needs to be used, but we know that many 'A's are what a 'B' or even 'C+' was 30-40 years ago.

          This is true of colleges as well as high schools.  Why is a Harvard looked on so highly [deserved or not]—because of reputation.  Many state and even private schools are not looked on that highly both because of the quality of teaching [not always poor or even below 'named' schools] and grade inflation.  Even in schools like NU a substantial number of students are in music, speech, drama and journalism—not exactly a classical liberal arts education—and so employers have to ask for more proof of actual learning.  NU gets high rankings for the undergrad program but if you subtract the music, speech, etc. to get to a good education–you have to wonder what the ranking would be—it does have a number of good or very good liberal arts, STEM and engineering programs but who writes about them.

          Even recommendations have come to mean little unless the student has worked with the professor on research—-frankly most references are not worth much even from top academics unless there is a real connection—too easy to just write them and for fear of charges they are unwilling to say anything bad.

          Again that is why standard tests are used so much.

    2. Actually, it didn’t happen

      Actually, it didn't happen that way.  Wish you could have been there.

  3. $500K

    my son [13] had a stellar idea, why not build a police out post in the vacinity of church & dodge?  this way the "front line" will get to know their neighbors better, serve as a 24/hr deterant and not have to offer tax payers money, oh i mean "incentives" for officers to live here.    i realize the $$ above is "earmarked" …please if its important enough the COE will make it happen. 

    i wonder the outcome of the old post at darrow & lyons, or what about reports on howard street?

  4. Ponzi

    Do you ever do anything but criticize?  I don't recall ever reading a single word of yours that wasn't vituperative or mean or that was constructive in addressing how to use our community's assets to address its challenges.  Because some children are engaged in violence, all nonprofits are failures?  What do you do to actually contribute to solutions in our community?  Stop whining and start actually contributing to the future of this community.

    1. Solutions

      The issue of the city, addressing the crime problem here is more complex, than operating the city.  The problem  whether you like it or not, the city is not running many of its major operations well.

      I suspect you like many others have not looked at the budget or their operations or their capital projects. Is it mean to suggest staff wasted 1.4 million dollars of taxpayer money when it screw up the yard waste sticker program?

      You want more funds for social services at almost every meeting this council is approving contracts for consultants and grants of free money on wasted activities.  You must approve of the "Home" funds being used on the Wine and Cheese Bar, – I thought those funds were for affordable housing and not bar fixtures?

      The poor here, will have increasing trouble, to survive in Evanston as the council keeps on wasting money, I sorry I am so mean, I suppose you agree with the fact the council took $200,000 from the township to pay for social services that the city once funded but those programs have nothing to do with the clients the township serves.

      The correct solutions come when you do thing correctly, not partially or for political reasons and in an ethical manner.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *