On Tuesday, August 31, 2016, African-American youth in care from two community partners, Daniel K. Nellum Youth Services and AYO Group Home, met with staff from the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) for a day of mentoring at the CFD Public Education building in Chicago. The event was part of the “Real Talk” series made possible through DCFS’ Office of Community Resources and the DCFS African American Advisory Council. “Real Talk” introduces African-American male youth in care to African-American male professionals to learn about various professions and talk about life skills.
“We are grateful to the Chicago Fire Department for taking the time to speak to our young men in care,” said Jataun Rollins, DCFS Director of Community Resources. “We need more African-American men to speak to our youth and share their personal and professional stories of success. Our youth in care deserve the same opportunities other youth have. Men of color in technical professions are vital participants in demonstrating what opportunities youth can achieve through dedication and hard work. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you come from, what really matters is where you are going, finding your purpose, developing a plan and keeping it in perspective.”
Youth witnessed simulated drills that CFD recruits go through and learned what they have to do to prepare to become a firefighter. The youth also received guidance on how they can move beyond their present circumstances in any field they choose. In addition, DJ Jamal Styles of Chicago’s Power 92 Radio (92.3 FM) made a guest appearance and spent time with the youth offering some insight on the music industry.
For more information about the DCFS “Real Talk” mentoring series or to host a youth group, contact Jataun Rollins, DCFS Director of Community Resources, at 312-919-0289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.