COVID-19 Updates & News
Building Closure Information
In accordance with guidelines from the City of Chicago and the Mayor's Office to reduce community spread of COVID-19, the Gary Comer Youth Center building will be closed until further notice. We will continue to provide programs and services virtually via our website and other web-based applications. For additional information, please contact the Membership Team. ACCESS Health at GCYC will be closed until further notice. Please visit the Access Brandon Family Health Center at 2822 East 83rd Street or call 773.721.7600 for further assistance. For the most recent news and information, please visit the City of Chicago's COVID-19 Site.
For additional resources and updates, sign up for the Chicago COVID-19 Community Newsletter.
Stay connected with Comer through Virtual Programs
We may not be able to all be together but GCYC’s passion for connecting with our youth members and community is still strong. In addition to daily communication, we are in full swing finalizing spring programs, planning projects and field trips for the GCYC Summer Camp, and already looking into how we can boost up fall programming with exciting new class offerings and field trip opportunities. Our instructors are innovating to bring education and experiences in this new online-learning world.
Members, you can join your favorite instructors for fun activities and DIY projects from home! Please visit the calendar for program days and times.
Cooking at Home with the Culinary Team!
Little Bites (3rd-5th)
- Chef Jon and Chef Gina
- Mondays & Wednesdays
- 10 - 11 AM
Comer Cooking Club (6th-8th)
- Chef Jon and Chef Gina
- Tuesdays & Thursdays
- 10 - 11 AM
Snack & Share (3rd-5th)
- Chef Jon
- 12-1 PM
Please visit the Culinary Page for additional cooking demos and fun videos with recipes and more!
Remington Price Culinary Manager
Jon Bates Assistant Culinary Manager
Gina Bates Culinary Instructor
At-Home DIY Art Projects
Are you a member of a Teen Employment Program at GCYC?
Please visit Summer 2020 Youth Employment for updated information on opportunities.
Members of GCYC ASM programs should be receiving emails with updates and information on instruction and program content. Teen Employment members who do not have direct deposit in place will have stipends mailed to their location. Unsure if your most updated address is on file? Reach out to our Teen Employment Team to verify:
Fredricka Holloway Associate Director of Youth Opportunities
Chris Krypel Teen Focus Coordinator
What are our 3rd-8th Grade Program Instructors up to?
Each day our instructors are communicating with our youth members through online engagement, providing videos and tutorials such as fitness classes, at-home DIY projects, game creations, and gaming tournaments. Our continued goal will always be to provide our youth members with opportunities to get active, get creative, and have a sense of community while learning at home.
Want to see what these videos and projects are all about? Reach out to our program instructors for lessons and fun, at home learning opportunities!
Game Creations & Gaming Tournaments
Alex Guzinski Lead Technology Coordinator
At-Home DIY Projects
Daria Amerik Lead Visual Arts Coordinator
Fitness Classes & At-Home Workout Plans
Arthur Engleton Lead Sports & Recreation Coordinator
What is the Urban Ag Team up to?
Our Urban Agriculture Team has been in the garden each day, continuing to harvest spring crops such as lettuce, spinach, arugula, and kale. In turn, these crops are distributed to our community restaurant partners who are working hard to provide nutritious items and meals to families and community. Marji also learned today that a very generous funder will be providing stipends to our Comer Crops and Green Teens to help them navigate these times. Great news!
April is Earth Month! Interested in some indoor gardening activities or ways to celebrate this wonderful planet? Reach out to our Urban Ag Team for some fun ideas on how to stay involved!
Marji Hess Director of Urban Agriculture
Bill Ladd-Cawthorne Urban Agriculture Manager
What is the College Team up to?
The GCYC Academic and Mentoring team will be working to stay in constant contact with our youth members to provide help and resources to make sure schoolwork is staying on track. Through online resources such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams Video Chat, the College Team is able to engage with our members on a daily basis as well as provide one-on-one counseling sessions to best serve students in the interim. We will continue to ensure student needs are being met, they feel safe and secure, and that academically they are able to achieve growth and success.
Questions on schoolwork? Interested in further resources for online learning? Reach out to our College and Mentoring Team!
Will Irvin Associate Director of College Preparations
Are you a parent of a GCYC Youth Member and have questions or concerns?
To learn more, get involved, and become a more effective advocate, please explore the resources below:
• Learn more about how to support Community Bond Funds across the state – which advance social justice and community health, given COVID-19. Here is the link to The Chicago Community Bond Fund.
• For allies and institutions, support Crossroads and their anti-racism work, with chapters across Illinois.
• Learn more about how to help Chicago Youth: My Block, My Hood, My City.
Mental Health Resources
Finally, as a reminder, we all need help and support right now. If you need someone to talk to please utilize the resources you have available to you which are listed below:
• Connect to a NAMI Chicago Helpline mental health counselor by calling 311 or directly at 833-626-4244
• Connect to Bright Star Community Outreach's trauma counseling helpline at 833-TURN-123
• Connect to free teletherapy services at Chicago Department of Public Health Mental Health Centers by calling 312-747-1020.
• Crisis Text Line which serves anyone, in any type of crisis, 24-hours a day. Instructions: Text HOME to: 741741 to access a trained crisis counselor.
• Use Call4Calm by texting "TALK" to 552020 or "HABLAR" to the same number
• Utilize our EAP Services for staff members through Unum for free unlimited help by the phone by calling 1-800-854-1446
Nearest Food Pantries
This list was supplied by the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Martin Temple Community Ftn
- 6930 S. Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
- Contact: Victoria Williams
- Hours: Monday 11:30am-1:30pm
- Serves Cook County
- 331 E. 71st St, Chicago, IL 60619
- 773.224.1022 ext 214
- Contact: Rev. Matthew O’Donnell
- Hours: Wednesday 10:00am-12:00pm
- Serves zipcodes 60619 & 60637
Inner-City Missions Network
- 7445 S. South Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60619
- Contact: Rene White
- Pantry Hours: Thursday 1:00pm-3:00pm
- Serves zip codes 60617, 60619, 60637, 60649
Edward G. Irvin Foundation
- 500 E. 67th St, Chicago, IL 60637
- Contact: James McMurray
- Hours: Every 4th Saturday 12:00pm-2:00pm
- Serves Cook County
Chicago Public Schools
CPS is continuing to make healthy meals available for students by providing 3-day meal packages at all CPS schools (except for Vaughn Occupational High School and Sheridan Math and Science Academy). Revere Elementary School (1010 E. 72nd St, Chicago, IL 60619) is the closest CPS school to GCYC, and serves meals from 8am-11am.
For SNAP, WIC or Medicaid benefits assistance, call 773.843.5419
Support Services for Youth & Families
To Our GCYC Families, Parents & Caregivers,
We know that these uncertain times can be both frightening and challenging for youth, caregivers, and families. We recognize the impact the closure of the Youth Center will have on our members. We continue to be committed to the mental health and well-being of our youth and families. If you are in need of assistance in supporting your child during this difficult time or are in need of support yourself, you will find resources listed below to assist you.
Office of Student Health & Wellness
- CPS Command Center at 773.553.KIDS (5437).
Information on locating medical care for those affected by Coronavirus
- Providing free 24/7 services via text for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis of any kind or in need of support due to the anxiety around Coronavirus.
TURN Center Trauma Counseling
- 833.TURN.123 (8876)
- M, W, F 9am-6pm
- free counseling via phone for youth 12 and above and adults
Calm - An app for meditation to promote sleep and calming thoughts.
Breathe - An app to utilize breathing techniques to promote calming and mood balance.
MoodKit - Therapy tools housed in an app on your phone.
If you have any questions on mental health resources or services for your family or child please reach out to Perry Roof, Youth Counseling Manager via e-mail or call 773.358.4060.
How to Protect Yourself and Prepare for the Coronavirus
Here’s what you can do:
- If you feel sick, stay home
- Wash your hands. With soap. Then wash them again.
- Stay informed
- With children, keep calm, carry on and get the flu shot
- Don’t stockpile masks
- Do stock up on groceries, medicine and resources. Don't Hoard.
- Slow down the community spread of the COVID-19 virus. Learn more about social distancing guidelines
Aid for Students
Students, their parents, or graduates can apply for the COVIS-19 Student Relief Fund to receive $200 in cash assistance to help cover essential needs such as groceries, health supplies, and other necessities.
There are so many free resources to explore while youth and families are sheltering at home. Check them out here!
Sustain Our Mission
During this unprecedented time, we cannot predict the future, but we can invest in it. If you are able, please consider making an online or in-kind donation to help sustain our mission.