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For Immediate Release

Contact: Marilyn Katz
mkatz@mkcpr.com 312-822-0505

Chicago City of Learning Launches 1000s of Free Programs for Chicago Youth to Learn and Earn

CHICAGO (April 9, 2014)— This summer youth between 4 and 24 will have thousands of opportunities to gain skills and earn recognition while they engage in their favorite summer activities through Chicago City of Learning (CCOL.) The initiative brings together more than 100 Chicago organizations offering free summer programs to the city’s youth and provides digital badges to those who participate and gain skills through them.

Chicago City of Learning is an outgrowth of the 2013 Chicago Summer of Learning, a collaboration of the MacArthur Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, DePaul University’s Digital Youth Network and the City of Chicago. Last year 200,000 youth participated and were awarded 100,000 digital badges. This year more than 100 museums, theatres, universities and youth serving public and community organizations are participating and offering more than 1000 programs, workshops and online learning opportunities – ranging from the performing arts and story-telling to design and making and from sports and wellness to community action.

Announced this Wednesday as the centerpiece of Mayor Emanuel’s 2014 “Summer of Learning and Earning” and through information provided to every Chicago student through their schools, Chicago City of Learning also has spring programs and activities that families can access immediately.

From April 12 through May 10 the city’s libraries, park district and dozens of museums and community organizations will participate in Mayor Emanuel’s Spring Adventure – offering activities for youth 4 – 24 both online and at sites throughout the city.

On May 10 Chicago City of Learning will hold its second Destination: Chicago event, a city-wide festival of making and doing, where youth can create everything from 3-d printed objects to videos and apps, sample hundreds of summer programs and sign up onsite for the summer activities in which they wish to participate. The event will run from 11am to 4pm at Jones College Prep, located at 700 South State Street.

All information for the spring and summer programs is online, as is an Exploration Ticket which allows youth to document their participation in spring activities. Those who fill out the ticket and turn it in on May 10 will be eligible to win everything from tickets to sporting events to an iPad Mini through raffles to be held at Destination: Chicago.

"City of Learning turns our City into a campus with robust learning opportunities that challenge our children and help them explore new interests," Mayor Emanuel said.

“The Chicago City of Learning initiative enables youth to take advantage of the rich learning opportunities that the city has to offer, creating new pathways both in and out of the classroom,” said Nichole Pinkard, DYN Founder and associate professor in DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media. “The CCOL model helps young people build a deep set of skills and knowledge in their areas of interest, enabling them to unlock opportunities for further learning, internships, and jobs.”

For interviews or to arrange post-event news coverage, please contact MK Communications at 312-822-0505. For more information on Chicago City of Learning and Destination: Chicago, please visit www.ChicagoCityofLearning.org.