The Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC) is a community-based organization working in five neighborhoods in Chicago: West Lawn, Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, West Elsdon, and West Englewood. SWYC was formed in 1992 in order to build cross-cultural understanding among diverse communities, build a collaborative network of quality, affordable, and innovative youth services, develop youth leadership in our communities, build the capacity of our communities to address their own needs, and build youth involvement in youth and community issues. We believe that every child has the right to access resources she or he needs to become a responsible adult, furthermore, we realize that the values of our country--democracy, equity, justice and equality–flourish when young people experience them directly and help establish them in our communities. SWYC builds power and self-determination among low-income youth and families of color, and it also seeks to create a leadership and power base for disenfranchised young people and their families so that they can exercise their rights by shaping institutional and policy decisions that affect their lives.
In order to make this a reality, SWYC has created a unique model of organizing that develops intergenerational, multi-racial and gender balanced leadership for social justice as well as institutional change that addresses the root causes of the issues affecting youth and families. This model employs a strong youth-led component that puts young people in the forefront of analysis, decision-making, and organizing. SWYC’s goals are to advance activities, programs, and policy changes that lead to positive youth and family development through self-transformation. Moreover, we seek to educate the community about causes, conditions, and issues that lead to the criminalization of low-income youth of color and their communities. In addition, we help to empower youth and families by creating tools, mechanisms, and opportunities for them to participate in decisions that impact their lives.
6400 S. Kedzie