Meet Jalen Word One Summer Chicago participant. One Summer Chicago is a summer youth work program for youth ages 14 through 24 that allows the youth to get employed and working throughout the hot summer months in Chicago. The program was started by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and is open to residents of Chicago.

A couple of weeks ago, I went and joined my fellow communications intern David M. at a church in Englewood with other youth with the One Summer Chicago program. They were working on a garden to fix it up and look better for the neighborhood community.  David and I spent some time at the worksite talking with 14-15 year olds, about why did they join One Summer Chicago, what is there plans when the program ends, and about their life in Chicago. Here’s the story of Jalen W.

Jalen is enrolled in the One Summer Chicago Garden job run by a youth services program mentor at Children’s Home & Aid.  Jalen seemed like a really focused and smart young individual as he always keeps his prayers and hopes running for his hometown,  Chicago.

He is looking forward to continuing his education in therapy as he goes onto college in the future. The way that co-workers or friends/family would describe Jalen is as very helpful. Jalen is very passionate about his talking skills towards others. He really likes to talk to others like if they were having problems or just need someone to vent to.  Jalen is always and will always be there for them no matter who it may be, he is there to help.  Jalen also likes playing basketball and is looking forward to pursuing that even more as he goes into high school.

During his free-time Jalen likes to play the biggest game streaming over the U.S right now which is Fortnite. If he had the time to do so Jalen would like to play as much Fortnite as he could to get better at the game.  It was very fun meeting with Jalen and I’m looking forward to seeing him again one day.

David T is a communications intern at Children’s Home & Aid and will be a senior in high school this fall at Perspectives Charters School in Chicago. He is a member of his high school football team football and hopes to continue his football dream and career throughout college.

David T. and David M. are working together on a series of stories about the participants in One Summer Chicago. This is the first in a seven-part series.