The Youth Peace Building and Justice Program in Chicago engages young adults, ages 16-20, in the development of educational and economic opportunities that benefit themselves and their communities. This program gives youth concrete alternatives to community violence and military involvement.
Forty students at two public high schools are learning artesian craftwork as an employment opportunity. Students make mosaics, jewelry, or other crafts and earn money for themselves; they also share half the proceeds with a community fund as part of a social enterprise model.
Five college students interning at AFSC mentor the high school students and elementary school students interested in mosaic crafts. The college students are forming themselves into a college work cooperative. Undocumented immigrant youth are a special focus of the program, and AFSC trains college interns to assist others with Deferred Action (DACA) applications.