What Is YMEN?

YMEN logo white copy
YMEN is the 501(c)3 nonprofit umbrella that PEARL falls under.  It is a youth leadership development organization nestled in the heart of North Lawndale. We serve youth ages 11-24, but primarily 6th-12th grade youth. We employ a group mentoring model that encourages relationship building on a student-student level, as well as a student-mentor level. We begin by promising a 5-year commitment to any young person who walks through our doors. By concentrating on building a positive relationship with a young person, we are able to call them to task in understanding their past, their current circumstances, and their future life trajectory.

Our model encourages:

-Academic enrichment
-Shared community resources
-Parent engagement
-Exposure trips (domestically and internationally)
-Job readiness
-Character building
-Legacy (Indigenous Leadership)

We have seen numerous student and organizational successes:

-Our YMEN college graduation rate is 11x higher than CPS for African American males.
-Our students have been to numerous countries to serve others, including Uganda, Ghana, and Haiti. They have also worked with numerous American Indian tribes throughout the Continental US.
-YMEN has provided over $100,000 in scholarship funds to our students.
-In 15 years of operation in North Lawndale, we have never had a student die as a result of violence.