Community / Organization

Universidad Popular

Universidad Popular (UP), founded in 1972 as the Latin Center, is a non-profit organization focused on promoting community empowerment through participatory learning. For this reason, Universidad Popular works with, by, and for the people to develop, implement, and evaluate programs that meet the needs of the community. Current programs include Adult and Family Literacy, Computer Literacy, Health Literacy, Yoga and Zumba, Financial Literacy, and the Youth Program - UPtoYouth. UPtoYouth is a free after-school and summer program available to Little Village youth ages 11-17. UPtoYouth offers participants positive out-of-school and summer learning environments where youth develop skills through peer-to-peer and experiential learning. Program staff act as facilitators of youth-led initiatives that address the need for more civic engagement, good health habits, creative problem-solving strategies, and academic engagement. UPtoYouth also engages youth in neighborhood exploration via their biking and running initiatives, We Bike Juntos and We Run Juntos. We Bike Juntos intends for youth to learn and implement bike safety while exploring Chicago’s cultural and physical landscape, in addition, advocacy for safer and bike-friendly streets is organically incorporated. We Run Juntos addresses overall youth wellness (physical, emotional, and mental) through year-round training. Youth have opportunities to put their skills to the test by participating in races throughout Chicago. Furthermore, the coming year will see UPtoYouth launch a girls’ coding program, We Code Juntos, which seeks to spark STEM career interests and develop STEM proficiencies among teens by teaching them how to build circuits and program tiny computers known as microcontrollers.