Mentoring urban youth to make a difference


To the Editor:

Numerous inner-city youths have had their lives changed by taking part in the Urban Alliance and the Obama Youth Job Corps, with the help of adults who volunteer to assist them.

The partnership of the Alliance and the Job Corps educates, creates self-awareness, and provides youth with access to economic opportunity and higher education.

On Nov. 15, I had the honor, for a second year, of being a College and Scholarship Essay Day mentor. Several hundred Alliance and Job Corps youth and adult mentors participated in this year’s Essay Day. We gathered in a giant, nondescript showroom at the Merchandise Mart to review and improve the students’ written scholarship and college essays.

We spent two hours editing essay content and delivery techniques while discussing the many challenges of college and the workplace. We used internet resources to find and add exciting and useful facts to their essays. We worked on using previous negative life experiences as incentives to focus their future goals and empower them to excel in college and employment.

The students asked many questions about how my college mentors positively changed my life.  Finally, students proudly orally presented their corrected essays, practicing eye contact, speaking in a steady voice,  and using gestures as they presented their final essay.

This Urban Alliance experience is a tangible way to give back and positively improve the life of our urban youth.

The Urban Alliance and the Obama Youth Job Corps are looking for more mentors and job partners. You, too, can have an opportunity to positively impact the life of an urban youth and help them to succeed.

Contact person is Katie Miles at 312-496- 3300 or email at

As an Urban Alliance volunteer, you will gain as much as you give back.

Louise McCurry