Proyecto Juventud

Project Youth/Proyecto Juventud (PJ) is an interdisciplinary after-school program for teenage boys and girls ages 13-18 that focuses on topics including violence prevention, leadership and community advocacy, STEM oriented and career readiness programs with a strong push for higher education. It also incorporates evidence-based curriculums such as Joven Noble, Mujeres' Comprehensive Sexual Health Education, and mother/son and mother/daughter components aimed at strengthening family communication and cultural values. Mujeres has created a safe space where teens can express themselves and receive guidance and tools for academic success to become leaders in their communities.  

Comprehensive Sexual Education: Originally started as a teen pregnancy prevention program, PJ offers comprehensive sexual education workshops with accurate information about self-esteem, body image, healthy relationships, menstrual cycle, making responsible decisions, and other issues that affect teens. This program promotes the development of healthy relationships and open communication with peers, family, and school officials.

Advocacy: From the environment to reproductive rights, teens learn about issues and take action on the causes they feel passionate about. Teens visit their legislators in Springfield, make calls to district offices, and educate the community about pressing issues.

Academic Support: PJ teens receive academic assistance and access to crucial resources to be able to succeed in school, including dictionaries, computers, and printers. Teens visit universities and go on fieldtrips to fairs focused on higher education. Through partnerships with local organizations and universities, teens have done scientific research on diabetes, the environment, and insects to introduce them to the STEM fields.  

Violence Prevention: PJ teens are taught conflict resolution and develop their Leadership and Empowerment skills. Through collaboration with the Children’s Research Triangle, teens can access art therapy that allows them to explore their inner selves, embrace their own creations, and build group support that will enable them to empower the community.

Jovenes con Palabra: Jovenes con Palabra is a youth development, support, and leadership enhancement program. The program incorporates an approach and curriculum that is based on the philosophy that youth need other men/women, their family, and community to care for, assist, heal, guide, and successfully prepare them for true womanhood/manhood. Jovenes con Palabra is structured around a 10-session curriculum that aims to reduce and prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, substance abuse, community violence, and to increase the ability of youth to act in a responsible and respectful way in reference to their relationships.

Other Programs Offered This Year:

  • Project Becoming Pilsen
  • Illinois State Assistance Commission
  • After School Matters (Proyecto Juventud Health and Sciences Apprenticeship)
  • Fitness, Nutrition, and Sports
  • Children's Research Triangle
  • Mother/Daughter and Mother/Son

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Interested in interning or volunteering for the program? Fill out an application here

For more information about Proyecto Juventud, please contact Director of Youth Services, Maritza Rocha at 773.890.7676 or

Program participants benefit from mentorship provided by the Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) members.