Historically, children from lower socio-economic backgrounds have less opportunities than their counterparts. There’s no question about that. However, just because something is true, doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed. All it takes is a little opportunity, some dedication, and great talent.
Founded in 1981 in New York City, the All Stars Project is a nonprofit “dedicated to promoting human development through the use of an innovative performance-based model.” The program creates educational and performing arts activities for thousands of young people with the goal of opening more doors for their future.
In 2007, the All Stars Project brought its vision and mission here to the Windy City, under the guidance of Executive Director, David Cherry. Cherry has worked in Chicago communities for over 16 years, and has a deep passion for assisting the youth who come through All Stars. Chicago’s first All Stars Talent Show was held in March 2007. Since that initial show, over 1000 young people from across the city have had the opportunity to showcase their performing prowess.
Last Wednesday, I was invited to attend a benefit luncheon at the Metropolitan Club of Chicago and enjoyed an afternoon of learning more about the organization and its programs in Chicago. At each of our tables sat a youth host who’d previously participated in the Developmental School for Youth program. Being the curious young lady that I am, I asked her to tell me about her experiences within the program. She enthusiastically described workshops including resume building, training on business attire, and public speaking. These workshops were often developed and facilitated with the assistance of Chicago professionals volunteering their skills.
As the luncheon went on, I was very impressed by the way that members of Chicago’s business community have rallied around the All Stars to invest in the future of these deserving students. In addition to financial support, companies such as MetLife and Dun and Bradstreet, will provide summer internships for a dose of real-world experience. In college, I had the opportunity to intern in Corporate America and I can’t stress how important it was to me, both at that moment and even now.
“I can honestly say that I learned a lot during the program,” my table host told me. What’s beautiful is that this statement isn’t just limited to her experience. According to Cherry, one of the great things about All Stars is that they’ve created programs that the students “actually want to participate in.”
I would love for you guys to check out the All Stars Project, especially the talent show! During the luncheon, two of the cutest young ladies performed on stage, and they were good! The next shows will be held in August on the South Side of Chicago. To find out more, please visit www.allstars.org/chicago.html!