My name is Frank Chiarelli
I'm a Chicagoan, a writer and competitive eater with success in teaching my father how to use the internet.
One day I just got tired of the negative reputation clouding my city, reading the weekly homicide totals, and all of the Sunday night dinner and social media complaints about our gang violence and drug wars.
So I decided to do something about it.
I began meeting with educators, public officials, and organizations around
Soon I discovered that kids in our most at-risk neighborhoods are not in the bandwidth of many of the city's youth organizations due to liability concerns.
Furthermore, when kids in these areas are persistently unemployed, Chicago is losing an estimated $9.5 billion in potential tax dollars.
After visiting the oft publicized Kids Off the Block, and meeting its founder Diane Latiker, I identified with her passion for the city.
But more importantly, I saw a drastic difference between her kids and those part of other city groups.
The majority come from extreme poverty with minimal education, have lost parents or siblings to drugs or gang violence, and live in true danger of becoming another statistic of our notorious criminal epidemic.
Here I saw an immediate opportunity to make an impact
Diane has helped over 500 kids acquire gainful employment. Her humanitarian efforts have been publicly received by CNN’s Hero Program, ABC’s Secret Millionaire, and L'Oreal Paris’ National Women of Worth.
Eventually, I sold all of my furniture, cashed out my 401K, and started walking across the country to raise awareness to this issue, and help our most troubled youth land some solid careers.
Where is the money going?
Certified career training and apprenticeship placement for 250 at-risk youth ages 15-24. 7 Million Strides is sponsored by Kids Off the Block a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization in Chicago, IL.
Why we should ALL care
1. Persistent high unemployment among young people adds up to $25 billion a year in uncollected taxes. $9.5 billion in Chicago. (Young Invincible's)
2. If youth unemployment were reduced to its pre-recession rate, the federal government would recoup $7.8 billion, or $53 per taxpayer, and state and local governments would recoup $1.1 billion. (Young Invincible's)
3. Chicago was the only major city in the country to lose population last year. According to the U.S. Census, 8,638 Chicagoan's left — nearly twice as many as the year before. (Chicago Tribune)
4. “The High Costs for Out of School and Jobless Youth in Chicago and Cook County,” concludes that unemployment and violence are directly related. (Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago)
5. In a time when our country and its cities are clouded by negativity, 7 Million Strides attempts to evoke change in the way our early generations think about their roles in society and their potential for betterment.
6. You come from a troubled household. You've lost a parent, turned to crime, lived in poverty, or have the slightest taste of existing without structure, friends, faith or a sense of self.