A new approach to anti-violence created by youth

Despite hopelessness youth become empowered entrepreneurs

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PACTING P.O.W.E.R. YOUTH that will launch a pop-up business on Saturday, July 22 at 10 a.m. are photographed in front of the location.

Many young people living in economically disadvantaged communities feel the solution to the violence and economic inequalities will not come in their lifetime. Some that participated in the marches and rallies hoping to realize an immediate change now have redirected their efforts to creating their own solutions.

To provide youth and young adults, ages 16-24 years old with an alternative to selling “loose squares” (cigarettes) and other activities to make money, PACTing P.O.W.E.R. (People Organizing and Winning Everything Right), a diverse youth-led project of the Monroe Foundation, will launch YOUTHBOOM!

YOUTHBOOM is a “pop-up” youth apparel community venture housed inside of a “Boom Box” on the Englewood Plaza at 63rd and Halsted that will hold a launch opening event on Saturday, July 22, at 10 a.m.

The Boom Box is a stand-alone structure next to the U.S. Bank at 815 W. 63rd Street in Chicago used by different organizations for events. It’s about the size of a kiosk you might find in a mall and enables people to hold limited presentations in front of a structure. The “pop-up” concept has unlimited possibilities like restaurants, museums, and concerts. In this case, it is the perfect way for the youth in this program to launch their business without the overhead of renting a location.

The public is invited to meet the organizers of YOUTHBOOM! and make a contribution to their community venture and receive a choice of a PACTing P.O.W.E.R. or YOUTHBOOM! “T” shirt.

Ashley Talifero, a youth leader with PACTing P.O.W.E.R. stated, “We believe that the best anti-violence program is the ability to make legitimate money from our talents.” The goal of the project is to enable youth to make money from the sale of their logo—message branded apparel during the summer.

The Monroe Foundation has been around 22 years engaging the people most affected by issues in the community so that they can create viable solutions to the underlying causes. To launch the programs the Monroe Foundation then secures funding from corporate and philanthropy partners.

Otis Monroe, founder of the Monroe Foundation believes “Black kids that are coming from generational hopelessness don’t need to hear you don’t qualify, you don’t meet the background, you don’t look right, you didn’t test high enough and any number of other negative excuses, etc. In other words, “Your past is a barrier,” whereas PACTing P.O.W.E.R. says, “yes” regardless of their past or current situation.

YOUTHBOOM! is supported by a grant and contributions from the Chicago Community Trust, Marquette Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Byline Bank, PNC Bank and US Bank.

For more information, contact Otis Monroe, CEO of the Monroe Foundation at (773) 315-9720.

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