"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Summer Kickback Series 2022

Courtesy of Jim, The Photographer (Flickr CC0)

The Summer Kickback for youth series is back in 2022. It is a free teen-focused initiative that helps connect youth with engaging and safe spaces throughout 15 communities on the South and West sides of Chicago. The summer fun begins on Friday nights, starting July 8 through August 12, from 5 to 9 p.m., in all 15 communities. New this year are nine Low-Key Kickbacks that will be hosted on Saturday nights, July 23 through September 10, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Each Summer Kickback event will include a smoothie bar, e-gaming, a DJ, and additional activities. Teens design the Friday night events for teens.

The Low-Key series will bring entertainment such as sporting events, prominent Chicago DJs, a selfie station, steppers and breakers, art activations, free COVID-19 vaccination sites, food, and other activities.

The Low-Key Summer Kickback series dates and locations:

  • July 23 in Grand Crossing Park.
  • July 30 in Franklin Park.
  • August 6 in Ogden Park.
  • August 16 in Humboldt Park.
  • August 20 in West Pullman Park.
  • August 27 in Abbot Park.
  • September 3 in Garfield Park.
  • September 10 in Foster Park.
  • September 10 in Cornell Square Park.
Image Courtesy of Oliver Quinlan (Flickr CC0)

“Our youth deserve the opportunities to learn, share, and create,” said David Rojas, founder of The Alliance 98. With support from the Mayor’s Office, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Park Foundation, and local community partners. The Alliance 98 team has administered career readiness programming for youth through the Kickback series. Through Kickback programming, youth participants have dived deeper into exploring the strengths and assets of their intersectional identities.

Young adults are discovering what it means to be their authentic selves and how one can bring that into the workplace. This summer, young adults will learn how to help develop projects, have job opportunities, and build new positive relationships with mentors, sponsors, and advocates. The Alliance 98 team is proud to be a collaborating partner in this transformative work.

As they are excited to continue supporting these community organizations to hire teens to plan the events, Willa Lang, Executive Director at the Chicago Parks Foundation, wants these events to empower teens to use their voices to design the best possible outcomes and events for their peers. They are proud to support this effort that also supplements family incomes, especially during the hard times of COVID.

They return as the event is sponsored for its second year of the Chicago Summer Kick-back to support activities. It will be held across 15 neighborhoods for teens, planned and led by teenagers, said Sarah Glavin, Head of Community Engagement at Amazon.

Guided by a strong community of partner organizations, the teens are employed to share many different ideas, develop fun and practical activities, and host events that bring friends and families together in a safe environment. This approach builds valuable skills and ensures that the programs are composed of what the community and teens want to see in their neighborhoods.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot co-hosts the Summer Kickback Series along with First Lady Amy Eshleman, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Library, the Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC), the Chicago Parks Foundation, the Department of Family and Support Services, the Chicago Department of Public Health, Amazon, and 15 community-based organizations across the city.

  • The Project Exploration – Located in Austin
  • CHI-RISE –  Located in Auburn Gresham
  • New Eclipse Community Alliance – Located in Back of the Yards
  • Agape – Located in Chicago Lawn
  • Community Assistance Programs – Located in  Englewood
  • Breakthrough – Located in East Garfield Park
  • The BASE Chicago – Located in West Garfield Park
  • BUILD Inc. – Located in Humboldt Park
  • Gary Comer Youth Center – Located in Greater Grand Crossing
  • The Alliance 98 – Located in Little Village
  • Firehouse Community Arts Center – Located in North Lawndale
  • Girls Inc. of Chicago – Located in Roseland
  • Lost Boyz Inc. – Located in South Shore
  • Teamwork Englewood – Located in West Englewood
  • Phalanx Family Services – Located in West Pullman

Anyone looking for something fun to do should check out one or all of this year’s Summer Kickback events.

Written by Zaylah De La Torre
Edited by Sheena Robertson


The Official Website of the Chicago Park District: Summer Kickback Series
City of Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot, City Departments, And Amazon Announce the 2022 Summer Kickback Series with Added Saturday Night Events

Featured Image Courtesy of Jim, The Photographer‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Insert Image Courtesy of Oliver Quinlan‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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