Meet William, a 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 they joined One Summer Chicago, what are their plans when the program ends, and about their life in Chicago. Here’s the story of William.

William is enrolled in the One Summer Chicago Garden Job run by a youth services program Mentor at Children’s Home & Aid. William seemed like a great, focused and determined individual, despite all of the challenges, hard decision making and problem-solving he has gone through. William had a lot of people come in and out of his life, but one person he appreciates the most for being there for him is his father. Williams father made the biggest impact on his life, from showing him right from wrong to teaching him how to always keep a working job, and to be responsible of his younger siblings at all times. This is what they call balanced manhood.

Due to the strong leadership of his father, William surely got interested in One Summer Chicago, where he is looking forward to learning new skills throughout the summer. William enjoys working to fix up his neighborhood with his mentor, Terry. He feels as if this was a great thing for him as it keeps him away from trouble and keeps him away from making bad decisions.

Now that William makes basketball a strong part of his life and enjoys his schedule of working and playing basketball daily. One thing that William will always want people to remember about him is how much of a good person he is towards others and really anybody who comes into his life that is on the same mission he is on.

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 second in a seven-part series