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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 7th year, the goal of Chicago Ideas 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.

    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.

    Chicago Ideas Youth Resources

    Chicago Ideas Youth is committed to empowering youth across the city of Chicago. As we activate our students, we are also committed to creating resources that make those activation models replicable and available to educators, youth partners, and individuals across the non-profit sector. Explore and download our reports, curriculum, and facilitator guides below.

    Youth Perspectives

    For the past year, our Chicago Ideas Youth Ambassadors have explored the ethical terrain of our digital world. Here's what they have to say about the way tech influences their lives.
    Read More

    Sponsor Support

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

    • Ring Family Foundation

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