A group of Chicago teens are spending their summer building and designing signs for their neighborhood block clubs. Traditional block clubs are groups of people who have homes and families on any given block in the city and have organized to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. While students plan to cover the span of the city, they’ve started with the South Side neighborhoods of Englewood and Chatham.
Through the support of this six-week program taught by University of Chicago instructors, the students are hoping the signs will bring a new appearance to their local neighborhood.
The project is part of an initiative called “One Block at A Time,” which aims to seek change through communities one block at a time.
According to DNA Info, the students have been learning about carpentry, font sizes, drawing and design studio skills, said Gabriel Moreno, an instructor who teaches the class year-round.
But none of this would be possible without its organizers. Jahmal Cole, the founder of My Block, My Hood, My City played a crucial role in gathering the block club presidents to support the apprenticeship program.
“All of the ideas are coming from the students, so we talk to them and lead them through the process,” he said, adding that “they are in charge.” “It’s great to teach young people how to take the raw imagination they have and give them skills and the process to produce and put their imagination into the world.”
What makes this program unique, is that it’s run primarily by students. Sixteen-year-old Jamila came up with the idea to paint a sign for her local block club located at 76th and Indiana, while 15-year-old Malik Clay has been meeting with clients and designing the building signs.
It’s a great way to keep the kids busy during the summertime, while also helping beautify some of the communities that often go overlooked in funding and resources.
Take a look at some of the signs the students have created below.