Better Makers: Believe in Kids Dinner Raises $520,000 for Chicago Youth Centers

Better Makers: Believe in Kids Dinner Raises $520,000 for Chicago Youth Centers

Serving 1,400 children and families in seven centers and numerous partner sites, Chicago Youth Centers (CYC) provides innovative early childhood and youth development programs for Chicago’s underserved youth. CYC has and continues to change the course of many lives and communities throughout the years. Last year, 100 percent of CYC seniors graduated from high school and are currently enrolled in college or are employed.

Chicago Youth Centers held their annual fundraising event, Believe in Kids Dinner, which celebrates CYC alumni, families, staff, and supporters while raising critical funds for Chicago’s largest private youth organization.

More than 300 attendees gathered at the Ritz-Carlton for the May 17 dinner. Themed Igniting the Spark, the event raised almost $520,000 for the organization.

Emceed by Clarence Hogan, the program included several awards and a keynote speech by Charles Dismuke, a CYC alumnus and Nike Community Ambassador. Maurice Walls, a senior at North Lawndale College Prep who will attend Michigan State University in the fall, received the Epstein Scholarship Award of $5,000, complete with a laptop. The annual Epstein-Donnelley Spirit of Youth Award was presented to Wanda Doucet, esteemed member of the CYC team for 43 years.

This year’s event was sponsored by Wintrust and chaired by Anne Doherty of Acxiom, Jeff Heh of GTCR, and Judy Macior of Experian.

Chicago Youth Centers: Maurice Walls
Epstein Scholarship winner Maurice Walls (Photo by Greg Inda.)
Chicago Youth Centers: Kevin Cherep
CYC President and CEO Kevin Cherep (Photo by Greg Inda.)
Chicago Youth Centers: Victoria Soto and Anne Doherty
CYC kid inventor Victoria Soto and Event Chair Anne Doherty (Photo by Greg Inda.)
Chicago Youth Centers: Clarence Hogan, Wanda Doucet, and Kevin Cherep
Clarence Hogan, award winner Wanda Doucet, and CYC CEO Kevin Cherep (Photo by Greg Inda.)
Chicago Youth Centers
Select CYC students and advisors. CYC invests in youth in underserved communities to help them discover and realize their full potential by equalizing access to the tools, experiences, and resources needed for youth ages 3-18 to persist academically and develop socially and emotionally (Photo by Greg Inda.)
Impact: A CYC student works with a mentor on a robotics project. Through CYC programming, youth gain exposure to different STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) opportunities, thus equalizing access to resources that their peers in more affluent communities might already have (Photo courtesy of Chicago Youth Centers.)


More from Make It Better: 

Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.