Exelon is committing $3 million over three years to fund an expansion of Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (BAM) program and hopes to serve 4,080 male Chicago Public Schools students this year.
The expansion aims to grow the program by 30 percent each year. Expanding this and other mentoring programs supports Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s three-year goal to reach 7,200 at-risk young men through high-quality mentoring opportunities to help them graduate high school.
“At Exelon, we believe that empowering young people is the key to creating opportunity and building stronger communities,” Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane said. “Programs like BAM prove that with investment and support, our kids can reject violence and instead step forward into bold and promising futures.”
BAM is a school-based group counseling program that teaches young men how to slow down their thinking, consider the perspectives of others and identify and evaluate consequences before acting upon their thoughts. The program integrates cognitive behavioral therapy and youth engagement, with a foundation of core values such as integrity, accountability, respect for women and visionary goal-setting.
“Important investments in mentoring that have the power to turn young people’s lives around cannot wait for the next budget season,” Emanuel said. “I want to thank our partners at Exelon for stepping up in support of our plan to expand critical mentoring services to youth who need it most. Not only will their support help to make a difference in the lives of thousands of young people across the city, but it will contribute to a better future for our city overall.”
A recent University of Chicago Crime Lab study also found that BAM helped cut back violent crime arrests by 50 percent and reduced total arrests by 35 percent.
“Exelon has been a strong supporter of Youth Guidance’s mission to help youth overcome obstacles for many years, and through Exelon’s generous leadership gift to expand our BAM program across Chicago, over 400 Chicago youth will have a caring, skilled BAM counselor guiding and supporting them for each of the next three years,” Youth Guidance CEO Michelle Adler Morrison said. “The impact of Exelon’s support for the youth we serve and their communities will reverberate across Chicago.”