In early October, Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially announced the launch of the first phase of his new three-year plan to provide more than 7,000 at-risk youth with high-quality mentoring. With a joint investment by the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the Becoming a Man (BAM)® program is expanding this fall to serve 1,300 additional students, bringing the total of young men served to 4,080 across 65 schools this year.
“To support our children in being successful in school and in life, we must all play a role,” stated Mayor Emanuel. “I want to thank our partners for stepping up to get us closer toward the finish line in this important initiative that will make a difference in the lives of thousands of young people from across the city—marking a better future for all.”
“The incredible philanthropic support we are receiving from Exelon, Peoples Gas, Get IN Chicago, Jimmy John’s owner, Jimmy John Liautaud, and Bank of America will increase our ability to deliver BAM mentoring across Chicago,” said A.J. Watson, Director of BAM. “For years, Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago have stood beside mentoring services and the research that proves that adolescence is not too late to help course correct the life trajectory of at-risk youth.” Our sincere thanks to the Mayor and all of our supporters for their generous contributions to help us expand BAM’s reach and impact.
“At Exelon, we are investing to empower young people and create opportunity,” said Chris Crane, president and CEO of Exelon. “Programs like BAM prove that with investment and support, our kids can reject violence and instead step forward into bold and promising futures.”
“At Get IN Chicago, we fund and study community-based programs that reach acutely high-risk youth most in danger of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence,” said Toni Irving, Executive Director at Get IN Chicago. “We’ve found over the last two years through measurement and reporting that mentoring programs have an invaluable impact on almost all aspects of a young person’s life. Strengthening our city’s corps of mentors, therapists and service providers through programs like BAM, particularly in the community where many of these acutely high-risk kids are, is key to giving our youth the support they deserve.”
“Bank of America is committed to helping communities thrive and that includes investing in our youth to help them overcome obstacles, focus on their education and build pathways to their economic success. We proudly join with the Mayor and all of Chicago to come together to invest in young adults to prepare them to succeed in school and in life,” said Paul Lambert, Bank of America Chicago Market President.
“Peoples Gas is deeply committed to Chicago and excited about this new partnership with BAM, to help expand its mentoring program to reach at-risk young Chicago males,” said Charles Matthews, president and CEO of Peoples Gas. “We are very impressed with BAM’s success at teaching values and life skills and confident this program will have a significant impact on the young men in our community.”
Jimmy John Liautaud, owner and founder of Jimmy John’s Sandwiches says, “I credit much of my success to my mentor, Jim Lyons, who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He stood by me when my high school was ready to expel me. Jim listened to me and we grew to trust each other. He encouraged me and I started to believe that I could do whatever I wanted which helped me graduate from high school. That allowed me to move on to become a good friend, father, and husband, as well as a successful entrepreneur. That’s why I’m supporting Mayor Emanuel’s initiative to reach young individuals who need someone to believe in and trust so they can also become the best version of themselves.”