The Young People’s Project’s work began in Chicago during the Summer of 2002 through a grant by Bank One and After School Matters (ASM). Our initial efforts involved training Bank One students to do Math Literacy Work. Based on the success of the initial pilot this work became housed within ASM as an incubator program.

Since its inception, YPP Chicago has trained over 750 high school and 50 college students to conduct math literacy workshops and organize community events for math literacy for students, parents and community member of all ages. These events and workshops involve over 1000 participants annually and are hosted at schools, parks, churches, colleges, community centers and a number of community based organizations.



The College Math Literacy Workers engage MLWs in experiences that improve confidence through action. MLWs explore experienced based math problems to become confident about themselves and their work by clearly and confidently presenting the solutions in front of others; articulating the mission and purpose of the work as it relates to Common Core Standards; showing initiative in group planning by coming up with ideas; being proactive about leading workshops; engaging/participating in different roles as math instructors; and taking initiative and being responsible for their own work and of others (team).

Program Highlights and Outcomes

This Chicago site has a higher average in daily attendance (101.1%) and a higher retention rate compared to the average of all ASM programs. Throughout the past two years, in partnership with ASM, YPP has made great strides to increase college thinking and enrollment rates. A high majority of the teens (90.6%) have disclosed that they have gained profound academic and career related skills. MLWs continue to participate and lead math activities and social justice workshops. This year, the MLWs will receive professional training in YPP’s Flagway activity and facilitate it for 4th-6thgraders. The social justice activities that students participate in generally involve leadership, disparities, and global crises in-depth thinking and discussions.

In addition to the math curriculum, MLWs are also engaged in college-related workshops in which they explore career pathways and develop their thoughts about college. In partnership with DePaul University, selected MLWs are given the opportunity interview for a STEM camp at the university. InSTEM (Inspiring STEM in Girls) is a three-week program that builds on the fundamentals of the Young People’s Project (YPP) for mathematics literacy. The purpose of the InSTEM program is to provide middle school girls, in low-income Chicago Public Schools (CPS), unique opportunities to engage in STEM activities. These experiences include real-world investigations, problem solving, and technology integrations, all designed to enhance students’ mathematics and science content knowledge and promote students’ interest and confidence in advanced education and STEM careers. In order to qualify for the STEM program, MLWs must demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow.

Many MLWs have expressed great interest in continuing their education and networking with YPP and ASM staff. CMLWs have strengthened their peer-to-peer relationships and remained connected with all of the MLWs they have worked with during this past year. Conversations range from job searches to monthly updates. YPP Chicago’s current focus is on the growth and improvement of teen performance and skills gained to reach their individual goals. MLWs continuously initiate meetings with their CMLWs to discuss their resume, job searches, and skill building.


YPP Chicago
Charlenne Deleon-Cuevas, Director