Young Men’s Education Network
Established in 1996, YMEN addresses the academic and social needs that cripple the futures of many young people in North Lawndale, particularly young men ages 10 to 18.
YMEN offers 1,200 hours of student engagement and youth leadership programming which includes classes in STEM and the arts, individual and group mentoring, tutorial services, career-based and entrepreneurial education, family supportive services, and service learning to more than 300 students, during both in-school and in after-school programs.
YMEN’s has an open-door policy for all community youth and serves as an “extended family” while living out its holistic mission: “To prepare young men and young women in North Lawndale for leadership by helping them grow in their faith and character, develop a love for learning, and use their talents to serve the broader community and strengthen our families.”
Strong youth. Strong families. Strong community. Strong future.
YMEN’s enthusiastic staff live in North Lawndale and provide access in helping youth address challenges and obstacles that stand in the way of their personal success. As a result, students in YMEN are 10-times more likely to finish college than those without such investment. YMEN’s impact is significant in helping 90% of its youth graduate high school and supporting 75% of these students as they continue in higher education.
A researcher from the University of Illinois at Chicago said YMEN is “a key answer to the struggle facing urban youth…YMEN is one of the most effective youth development organizations in Chicago, if not the country, and a powerful alternative to gang membership & school dropout.”