News / Insights

CLX Powers Summer Digital Learning Opportunities for Chicago Youth

  • Sana Jafri

The Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX)—a nonprofit that supports remaking learning for the digital age—today announced 11 new grants totaling nearly $100,000 that support summer digital learning opportunities for predominantly African, LatinX, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) middle-school and high-school aged-youth in Chicago.

Learning doesn’t stop once school is out for the summer. It’s a critical time to engage youth to develop their passions and cultivate new skills for the future, said Executive Director, Maria Hibbs.

Research shows summer gaps in opportunity and achievement can be compounded for youth who come from historically disinvested communities. They not only struggle with basic needs like food and safety, but also lose valuable time to learn and develop meaningful relationships. Out-of-school (OST) and summer learning opportunities can mitigate these outcomes and provide safe supportive environments, cultivate academic gains, and provide new experiences and opportunities for youth to explore and grow.

With collaborative grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and the Mozilla Foundation, CLX provides its network of over 200 youth-serving organizations resources to conduct research and development (R&D) and innovate their own programs to create hands-on summer learning that leverage technology for Chicago youth.

CLX recognizes that learning happens in an ecosystem and works with a network of organizations to power summer digital learning opportunities for Chicago youth. As such, Nerdy Media will create a program, in which youth from Woodlawn and Washington Heights create real-world podcasts and listening sessions for their community. ChickTech will create an open-source hybrid (i.e. online and in-person) learning program for 50 girls to create technology passion projects and develop leadership skills.

A full list of 2019 CLX supported awardees are listed below:

  1. Nerdy Media will receive $15,000 for the “StoryArts Youth-Produced Podcast”. This program is designed to support youth through storytelling by creating a real-world podcast season and community listening sessions. Partners: StoryArts and Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
  2. ChickTech will receive $15,000 for the “220 ChickTech Youth Leaders Program” project so that 50 youth can participate in a learning program designed to empower students through technology projects, leadership, and social entrepreneurship. Partner: 220 Leadership
  3. Community TV Network (CTVN) will receive $15,000 for “#FramingSouthShore Community Archive Ambassadors” in which participants will level-up from an introductory program and learn to be archivists. Partner: Sisters in Cinema
  4. National Museum of Mexican Art, Yollocalli Arts Reach will receive $13,990 for the “La Mesita Phase 2 - Teens Teach Teens” program, which will provide new media and journalism workshops for LatinX youth. 826CHI teens will conduct a writing workshop for the Yollocalli teens and Yollocalli teens will produce a DIY video broadcasting workshop for the 826CHI teens. Partner: 826CHI
  5. Universidad Popular will receive $7,500 for “We Code Juntos”; 30 youth will learn how to drag and drop website building in order to create an online portfolio. Youth will then transition to creating Arduino software and circuits. Partner: Chicago Public Library Toman Branch
  6. Chicago Youth Centers (CYC) will receive $5,000 for the “Making the Future of Fashion” program for youth from ages 11-15 to express themselves through fashion design with a technological twist in which youth will develop garments, jewelry, and accessories. Partner: N/A
  7. University of Chicago Ci3 will receive $5,000 for the “Adolescent X Podcast” project in which participants will work together with stakeholders to gain an understanding of important issues related to youth sexual and reproductive health. Partner: N/A
  8. Gary Comer Youth Center (GCYC) will receive $5,000 for “GCYC Documentary Pathfinders” project in which youth from Auburn Gresham and Greater Grand Crossing will learn songwriting, sound, engineering, video production, and entrepreneurship skills by creating a documentary. Partner: N/A
  9. Shine On, Chicago! will receive $4,950 for “Public Arts Documentation Project” in which teens will build their digital design careers. Partner: Chicago Public Arts Group
  10. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will receive $5,000 to pilot “TEENS Exhibit Design & Interpretation Team (TEENS-EDIT)” program. The program will give teens the opportunity to re-envision a permanent exhibit component with the Nature Museum’s Education and Museum Experience departments. Partner: N/A
  11. We All Code will receive $5,000 to create a new “JavaScript2 Class” that will provide opportunities for youth to level-up from introductory coding programs. Partner: N/A

No one organization alone can prepare youth for an increasingly networked age. For that reason, Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) has worked over the past nine years to diligently build connections with educators and over 200 youth-serving organizations to enhance learning through different areas, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM), Arts, Maker, and Youth Voice. Learn more and join us via