Founded at All Saints' Episcopal Church and now living in the diocesan offices, CROSSwalk is an effort of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago to engage people of faith and community organizations in addressing the escalating violence against youth in Chicago.
CROSSwalk began as a four-mile procession across the city during the Christian Holy Week in April 2012. The procession brought together 1,500 people from across Chicagoland to remember the more than 800 young people who have been killed since 2008. We held a second procession in March 2013, remembering the youth who had died in the previous year.
We are now moving into a phase of direct action, focusing on providing jobs for at-risk youth and educating communities about the complex issue of gun violence. We will continue to build relationships between people of faith from all walks of life; stand with youth, families and communities affected by violence; and create a world where youth have opportunities and hope for the future.
CROSSwalk to work 2016
In the summer of 2015 we connected 15 young people, ages 16-19, to full and part-time jobs for 8-10 weeks. For 2016 we plan to continue to build on that model and hope to offer even more jobs. View our CROSSwalk to Work summary here.
Once again, we are partnering with Youth Guidance, a program supported by Episcopal Charities and Community Services, among others, to identify “job ready” 16-19 year olds looking for summer work. These young people are part of Youth Guidance’s Youth Workforce Development program, and they are eager to learn and gain work experience. The jobs are appropriate for interns or lower-skilled, entry-level people. Youth Guidance will provide support for the youth during the summer. Since many are new to the workplace, the youth will also need some on-site supervision and direction.
Employing youth from areas of concentrated poverty is an investment in them and in the healing of our communities. It is only one part of a solution to a complex problem but jobs can create a sense of pride and a hope for the future for youth living amidst communities who experience frequent gun violence.
There are two main ways that people and organizations can participate in CROSSwalk to Work. First, people are offering jobs, either full-time or part-time, taking an opportunity to mentor a young person and to help them gain experience in the workplace. Second, people are funding these jobs, which cost approximately $3,500 for each full-time job. This figure is based on a 40-hour work week for 8-10 weeks at $10 per hour and covers both wages and transportation. View our CROSSwalk to Work Summary and if you have any questions or are interested in participating, please Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows for more information.