YJC held its gala on April 26 at Soldier Field.                Photo from Youth Job Center

The Youth Job Center launched its annual gala at Soldier Field April 26, with a sold out crowd of 450. 

Guests enjoyed illuminated views of the football field as they gathered to celebrate and support the YJC, raising nearly $250,000 that go directly to fund its services and programs.

The atmosphere was markedly upbeat, with both guests and board members reporting that it was YJC’s most enjoyable and collaborative event yet.  The event included a silent auction, featuring 110 donated items from YJC’s board, community members, and local vendors, and a live auction providing guests the opportunity to bid on premier items as well as donate funds directly to specific youth services.

The highlights of the program were three YJC clients who shared their stories of how the agency has profoundly impacted their lives. 

The first client speaker, Sharay Shines, participated in a program funded by the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and now has an internship with Irmco Manufacturing. 

The second client speaker, Lisa Franklin, is in the YJC’s WILL program.  WILL (Women Invested in Learning and Livelihoods) helps young women move from low-wage jobs to living wage positions.  As a result of the program, Ms. Franklin now has an administrative position with DeGrand & Wolfe Law firm in Chicago. 

The final speaker was Evanston Township High School senior Salvador Garcia, who now holds two part-time after-school jobs and plans to attend Oakton Community College in the fall.