The National Public Housing Museum's Youth Advisory Council (YAC) serves thirteen in-school youth, ages 14-21, who are current Chicago public housing residents. The youth represent communities across Chicago, including Dearborn Homes, Trumbull Park Homes, State way Gardens,  and Harold Ickes Homes. The youth of the YAC are an integral part of the Museum and an essential part of the mission of the Museum to support and foster the communities of Chicago.



Savannah Wright, the Secretary of the YAC, and an NPHM intern, put together the slideshow below about her memories of Stateway Gardens for the American Insitute of Architects (AIA) tour and for a visit she, Salyndrea Jones, YAC President and NPHM intern, and Camille Acker, Programs and Development Associate made to Columbia College for their high school journalism program, Summerlinks.



We wanted to feature a mentoring organization that has special meaning to new intern and President of the Museum's Youth Advisory Council, Salyndrea Jones. In the historic Bronzeville neighborhood, Passages Girls in Action Mentoring Program helps girls from ages 13-17 "identify their talents and abilities" and "develop their leadership skills." Salyndrea  is a mentor in Passages: "Being a part of Passages Girls in Action Mentoring Program and now a mentor has taught me many things. I heard about this program through my older cousin Sakkina Bishop, who was the president of the program in 2007. I later became the president in 2010. Taking on that responsibility was a great experience. I was a junior in high school and I knew I was a leader but this was my moment to showcase what I could do. As president, my leadership skills improved and helped me realize my potential to be the be a leader in other organizations, such as president of the National Public Housing Museum Youth Council and head of marketing/social media  for The Black Film Society at Columbia College Chicago."

At last week's meeting of the Youth Advisory Council, the youth welcomed a guest speaker, Sandra Sosa, who weaves ancestral teachings/practices and rites of passage methods together with the Advancing Youth Development (AYD) core competencies. In the last 12 years, she has worked with Youth Struggling for Survival (YSS), Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC), Indigenous/Native Arts & Sciences of Chikomostok Academy (INASCA), and Chicago Area Project (CAP) to help create safe spaces for communities.

Sandra has worked with the Museum before as a part of our Creating the Inclusive City event, conversation about creating change in communities despite the challenges of disinvestment in public programs. Sandra explained her approach to her youth work, one that helps young people understand themselves through a single image. She showed an image of a humble person moving forward in life by helping others. These are qualities we as people need to incorporate in our every day life.

Sandra opened up the youth meeting with a Native American ritual and showed a different way hearing from everyone in the group through a talking circle. Talking circles are used in many different cultures around the world, as a method of mediation and communication.  This is something that our youth will like to add as a ritual to our meetings. This would be added to our youth meeting because it gives us a clearer thinking path. And the beginning of the meeting most of the youth was a bit confused  but as she explained her reasons behind why she opened up the meeting with a ritual, everyone then begin to understand.