Comer Education Campus is anchored by Gary Comer Youth Center, Gary Comer Middle School, and Gary Comer College Prep.
Youth Programs

GCYC Youth Opportunities 2020 Spring Showcase


Even with the impacts of Covid-19, our GCYC teens found creative ways to stay engaged in our youth employment programs

Our annual Youth Employment Spring Showcase has typically allowed youth to demonstrate and display their work. Since our spring 2020 programs turned virtual, we hope you will enjoy checking out their work here.

ASM SYGS Sound Engineering

SYGS Sound Engineering Covid-19 Interview Project: Teens in the sound program were put to the task to create interview questions that cover their thoughts and ideas about the Covid-19 experience of a friend or family member. After creating the questions, teens recorded the interview with their audio devices/phones. Once the audio was captured the teens edited and added background sound EFX’s. The teens came up with the idea that each of their background environment sounds should be places they are not allowed to go during this time of sheltering in. These projects show the viewpoints of our teens and families of Chicago.

The SYGS AUDIO group created a personal statement piece which explains who they are where they from and what they imagine. They created the statements, recorded each other and edited the audio while adding effects of their choice to their individual statement to add to their feelings.


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ASM The Art Apprenticeship

Art History Remixed 

The Arts Apprenticeship's latest project not only explores famous works of art and art history but also challenges them to recreate the works with art supplies or with photography methods. The rule for this art challenge was, that they could only use objects/supplies at home to remake the works of art. 


ASM Peacemakers

“Stress Relief in the Time of COVID-19,” a publication compiled by the teens of the Peacemakers program at Gary Comer Youth Center. What a great way to adapt the Peacemakers culminating project to our socially distant times! Download the PDF.

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Green Teens

Green Teens visited the Garfield Park Conservatory and looked at different plants while on a scavenger hunt.

"The Valentine's Day Sale involved us ordering flowers for the week of Valentine’s Day and selling them to people around the youth center and school. The best part was seeing all the flowers. I was the sales person, I would go out to get people to buy the flowers and it actually worked because we sold a lot of flowers, " explained London Douglas.

The Green Teen Interns started plants to be transplanted into the perennial flower berm, a place in the garden were native flowers can attract pollinators. 

The Green Teen Apprentices conditioned and arranged the centerpieces for the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast of Champions

Green Teens helped to extract and bottle the honey that was harvested from the farm's bees. 

Every week, the Green Teens would get a culinary lesson from Chef Jon. We learned proper knife skills and how to make salsa with homemade chips, tzatziki sauce, salad, red beans and rice, spicy kale, chai tea, corn cakes, and potato salad. Often we got to use produce grown here on campus. 

Green Teens participated in Generations for Peace where we got to know each other better through games and discussions and think of ways to bring peace and resolve conflicts in our communities. 

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Garfield Park Conservatory, February, 2020.

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Sanaa Ragsdale (in the teal hoodie) teaches a volunteer how to harvest curly kale during Chicago Ideas Week.


Youth Advisory Council

The goal of the Youth Advisory Board is to be the voice between the youth of Gary Comer Youth Center and the staff of GCYC during decisions about programming and operations of the Center. So far we have gotten feedback from the youth through video interviews and in person meetings. We learned about programs that the youth would like to see at GCYC like Cosmetology. We have also come up with proposals to give to the GCYC Board for our new programs we would like to see. We have also partnered with GCYC Kitchen Staff to talk to the youth about better healthy meal choices and ways to incorporate better mental and physical health programs at GCYC.



Culinary Team

Our Culinary team has released this video where our veteran Teen Culinary Apprentice, Faith Johnson, takes you step-by-step through her Creamy Shrimp Pasta recipe!



High School Smarts

High School Smarts Entrepreneurship program is where teens have the opportunity to explore creating their own business by developing their own ideas into a business plan and presenting it in a pitch competition. This year's youth have been working on various business ideas in areas including: technology, foster care, Youtube content creators, and more. They have also had the benefit of working with mentors from DePaul's Coleman School of Entrepreneurship, as well as field trips to business incubators 1871 and Tech Nexxus.


Free Spirit Media

Free Spirit South presents a sample of the work we covered during the program. Before the COVID-19 crisis, we intended on creating self-portraits and creative music videos. In preparation for those projects, we did a variety of lighting and cinematography workshops, as seen in this clip of our work. After the shelter-in-place order occurred, we pivoted and began creating media that discusses youth reactions to this pandemic. In total, we created Vlogs, social media posts and even started a podcast. We hope you enjoy!