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YAR at the Chicago Area Project’s commitment to the importance of youth voices is reflected in the composition of the YAR governing board, which is largely made of youth between the ages of 14-25. The YAR grant decisions were made by the governing board. Youth and adult board members work I partnership to make all funding decisions.

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Drill thus presents a chicken-and-egg conundrum. On the one hand it is a reflection of the harsh social environment its artists are forced to inhabit. This is plagued by a bleak, race-to-the-bottom mentality that requires carrying a weapon and dealing drugs to feel secure. Plus, any drill crew requires videographers, social media marketers, managers, producers, as well as authentic MCs, to ensure content can hold the attention spans of fans ready to click “Up next” on YouTube. Behind the scenes, the music therefore demands a creative adaptiveness and technological savviness, and it has quickly become a commercially viable, DIY route out of poverty for the people making it.


Groups of UK drill artists tend to form out of young people living in the same housing estates, with territorial wars that exist simultaneously on the microphone, in the comments of YouTube videos and in daily life. This fierce tenet of its musical culture has helped to carry the genre to where it is today, energised by an exponentially growing online presence and loyal following of fans eager to keep up to date with the drama.

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Kenwood Oakland Community Organization/Connecting Chicago’s Youth to Change Violence in Our City: One Neighborhood at a Time: Project seeks to change the level of violence in the community by connecting youth and adults from different backgrounds through a youth violence prevention project called Youth CAPs. The Youth CAPs program creates safe, non-threatening places for youth in the Grand Boulevard Community. The Chicago Police Department works closely with the program to inspire positive relationships between the youth and the police. The project creates positive alternatives to violence.

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YOUTH AS RESOURCES (YAR): Youth as Resources is a youth development program that gives money (small grants) to youth groups to operate volunteer projects in their community. Since 1993, YAR has funded over half a million dollars to over 2000 youth service projects in the Chicago metropolitan area. YAR believes that youth have untapped talents that can benefit them and their community and that youth involved with community service projects or youth/adult boards begin to feel a sense of connection, civic responsibility, and self-worth.

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The team connects students to tutoring programs and offers a computer lab for doing homework. Team staff members monitor grades and school attendance, and offer information about college and financial aid. Since all members must be students in good standing, those who are at risk for dropping out receive help to keep them in school. The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education revealed that the graduation rate for black males in Chicago Public Schools is 44%. The Drill Team sees 99% of its members graduate with their class and nearly all go on to college or technical school, breaking a cycle of poverty.