As a teenager growing up in Englewood, Avery Sterling often believed he had no future and that no one cared. A few years ago, Avery came to Children’s Home + Aid and with the guidance of a mentor, he got a job through the One Summer Chicago program. Today, Avery is employed full-time with Children’s Home + Aid as a Youth Advocate/Mentor.

On Tuesday, Avery joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the National Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. as part of a summer youth employment panel. Avery received a standing ovation after delivering a powerful and personal speech on how One Summer Chicago changed his life. He also provided recommendations to other U.S. mayors on how they can implement successful summer youth employment programs.

Avery Sterling

Through his work at Children’s Home + Aid, Avery now mentors other young men, helping them to develop solid foundations for their futures. Speaking about his experience with One Summer Chicago, Avery noted, “That effort is going to make a difference in the next life. Someone reached out and grabbed my hand, but I’ve got another one. I can’t help but reach back and grab someone else’s hand.” In addition to his role as a mentor, Avery sits on the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Panel and has spoke on juvenile justice reform issues throughout the country.

Avery is a shining example of everything that is best about our agency and how changing one life can change entire communities. We are incredibly proud of our staff and our mentors, and are honored to play a role in creating brighter futures for all the youth we serve.