REAL is a Chicago-based, youth-centered program designed to assist children and adolescents in developing critical thinking and effective communication skills needed for life-long learning and success both in and out of school. REAL understands the importance of helping young people find a voice and perceiving themselves, as well as others, as fully human with an innate ability to be viable change agents in their respective communities and in their own lives.

REAL engages students in becoming more self-aware, in the course of helping them gain insight into how social, political, and economic dynamics shape the world around them. The importance of sharing with others in a mutually responsible atmosphere is an attempt to consciously embody in each student those elements that are necessary for a healthy individual.

REAL offers young people a safe space, within the school environment, to interpret and express who they are by way of arts-based projects, critical literacy activities, and life-skills curriculum. Through dialogue and artistic expression, students become more aware of how to identify and confront personal and social challenges. In the words of one of our student founders, “REAL is a medium of expression for the previously unexpressed.”

All content (c) 2005 REAL Youth Program, Inc.