The Youth Development Services department provides activities that support young people to improve their academic achievement and life skills development. The program partners with neighborhood public schools and operates the following programs.

Program Highlights

Contact: Robert Conlon, Director (773) 381-3652,
or by email:

WIOA Career and Employment Exploration is a youth employment and college readiness program for youth ages 16 to 21. We provide paid and unpaid work experiences, drop-out prevention activities, alternative secondary school offerings, occupational skills training, leadership development, adult mentoring and counseling.  Through the mentoring and leadership of our staff the students are able to stay motivated to graduate high school, succeed in the workplace, and prepare a post-high school plan for college or permanent employment. Our hardworking and highly motivated youth participate in workplace skills-building activities and trainings, internships, leadership development, and college exploration and application assistance.

HARP (Howard Area Reading Program)  serves approximately 40 Gale Academy students who are performing significantly below their grade level peers in reading and who been recommended for literacy intervention. This 30-year-old program offers one-to-one tutoring and is held at the Good News Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays for second graders and on Mondays and Wednesdays for third and fourth graders. The instructional framework is based on the National Louis University clinic model. Program training and on site monitoring is conducted by National Louis trained supervisors.

The SHARP (Seeing a Healthy Active Rogers Park) program is a multi-pronged and collaborative approach aimed at preventing the overweight and obesity epidemic among the Rogers Park community by enabling participants to make informed healthy decisions.  SHARP provides engaging activities to 210 low-income youth and adults, within two focus areas: Nutrition Education and Physical Fitness. A Registered Dietitian (RD) spreads the healthy living message through creative, age-appropriate workshops in Howard Area Community Center’s Youth Services and four after-school programs.

Howard Area After School at Gale (Greensleeves and 21st Century) serves 4th & 5th grade youth. This program focuses on academic support, social/emotional skills building, particularly peaceful conflict resolution and youth leadership and health and fitness. They use a variety of visual, written, and dance arts as a model for which to increase literacy learning and physical fitness. Their Youth Leadership Council serves as an opportunity for personal growth and empowerment which enable youth to learn skills that will help them develop into successful, healthy adults.

The HACCClubhouse Network Arts and Technology Center provides a creative and safe after-school learning environment where young people (ages 14-18) from under-served communities work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.  The Computer Clubhouse provides opportunities for youth to exchange multicultural information with other teens worldwide. Youth are introduced to computer technologies relevant to 21st century careers in a global arena. We encourage youth to work on projects related to their own interests and aim to create a sense of community where young people work together with support and inspiration from adult mentors. Areas of Development may include:  Graphic Arts, Web Design, Video Production, Music Engineering, Robotics, 3-D Design and Animation.

Summer Programs

Since 2001, the Youth Department has offered a summer camp program for 80-100 youth (3rd-8th grades) at Gale Academy, providing students with engaging academic and enrichment activities during the months that they are not in school. Camp runs for six weeks on a full-day schedule and offers recreation, arts, and social-skills building activities for youth from Gale and surrounding Rogers Park schools. The camp also provides work experience for up to 20 high school students who are able to participate in the summer camp as mentors and counselors-in-training.

Youth Arts & Technology Center

1527 W. Morse Avenue (directions here)
(773) 381-3652

For locations and contact information for all of our programs, visit the Contact page.

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