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    Connecting, inspiring and empowering Chicago's future leaders

    The Chicago Ideas Youth Program seeks to serve and empower the next generation of changemakers in our city. Now entering its 6th year, the goal of CI Youth is to provide a platform where Chicago high school students can seek out new opportunities, internalize a leadership mentality, and gain exposure to ideas that will spark their desire and enlarge their capacity to change the world around them. Programmatically, CI Youth operates on two levels: an intensive, two year long ambassador program that serves a cohort of 35, and a city-wide initiative that serves 1,900 Chicago teenagers through events-based programming.

    Speaker Connects

    These events directly connect the youth with Chicago Ideas Week speakers, providing students with opportunities for deeper engagement, knowledge and interaction.

    Professional Events

    Chicago Ideas Youth have the opportunity to attend three professional events over the course of the year. At all of our events, students engage with a panel, have multiple one-on-one mentoring interactions, and participate in open networking all with our diverse community of professionals.

    Youth Ambassador Program

    The Chicago Ideas Youth Ambassador program provides 35 high school students from underrepresented communities in Chicago direct access to Chicago Ideas Week programming, a year-long event schedule of behind the-scenes access to companies and organizations, and a direct pipeline to our globally recognized speakers for more intimate small group interactions.

    Ideas Day

    Ideas Day is a unique, youth-driven initiative designed to bring action-driven events to students in their communities. By putting the Chicago Ideas programming model into the hands of Chicago high school students, these students in turn create impactful programs for their peers, and hone their leadership, professional, and problem-solving skills, all the while exposing their classmates to transformational ideas around the themes that matter most to them.

    Train to Become a Chaperone!

    Get a preview of Chicago Ideas Week 2018 and prepare your students! We’ll be hosting chaperone training events to prep you for Chicago Ideas Week in October. You’ll not only leave excited about this year’s programs, you’ll receive a “How To Prep Kids for Ideas Week” toolkit. There will be two dates: August 23 and September 7

    More Than Just Events

    Members of the Chicago Ideas Youth program are mentored and celebrated. We recently gathered at Nike Chicago to recognize our 2017 Youth Ambassadors.
    Read More

    Wear your support on your wrist

    Wear it and share it! Support the Chicago Ideas Youth Program by purchasing our one-of-a-kind bracelet
    Support Chicago Ideas Youth

    Chicago Ideas Youth Partners

    Chicago Ideas Youth would not be possible without our Sponsors, Partner Organizations and generous Lab Hosts.

    Chicago Ideas Youth Lab Hosts

    Thank you to all of our Lab hosts for providing our students incredible behind the scenes access:

    • A Day in the Cook County Government
    • Cooking with Lifeway Kefir at The Chopping Block
    • Designing your Career with IIT Architecture Chicago
    • Emergency Games with CTA
    • Engage in Commuity Centered Design with CannonDesign and Civic Consulting Alliance
    • Flying Through O'Hare
    • Food as Medicine with North Lawndale Youth Farm
    • Inspiration, Imagination, Innovation: Real World Enginnering for Tomorrow's Innovators
    • Learn How to Develop Video Games with Iron Galaxy Studios
    • Managing Your Future: Building Innovative Solutions
    • Mobile Photography with Elise Swopes
    • Record a Track with the Chicago Recording Company
    • School of Rock's Instant Rock Lab
    • See Google as a Playground
    • The YOU Show with Comedy Sportz
    • Visual Note-Taking with Ink Factory
    • Wellness 101

    Sponsor Support

    Chicago Ideas Youth program is proudly supported by the following companies and organizations who share our commitment to supporting youth in Chicago:

    Join today and experience Chicago Ideas year round

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