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Daley Brothers to Help Raise Money for the Gary Comer Youth Center

By Wendell Hutson | October 1, 2013 7:20am
 Former Mayor Richard M. Daley and his brother, former White House Chief of Staff William Daley, are helping the Gary Comer Youth Center raise money.
Youth Fundraiser
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GRAND CROSSING — Former Mayor Richard M. Daley and his brother, former White House Chief of Staff William Daley, on Wednesday will participate in a fundraiser for the Gary Comer Youth Center.

The luncheon event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe St., and individual tickets can be bought online for $150. The goal is to raise more than $100,000 at the event, said Greg Mooney, executive director of the center.

Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Kogan will be the moderator as the Daleys discuss their childhood, what it was like growing up in a politically connected family and the importance of leadership.

"We have always had a leadership focus at the Gary Comer Youth Center, and we have always made a concerted effort to increase the impact and reach of those programs," Mooney said. "Former Mayor Daley was very involved in our work on multiple levels, so he was a natural person for us to turn to."

Mooney added that William Daley has not been as involved in the center as the former mayor, but "was gracious enough to agree to participate."

Jacquelyn Heard, a spokeswoman for the former mayor, did not return calls seeking comment.

The center, which was founded in 2006, plans to offer a leadership class for young people in October.

"The Daley Civic Leadership Society will be an after-school class for freshmen to seniors," Mooney said. "We have 30 young people enrolled in an elective, leadership class [Daley Civic Leadership Course] at Gary Comer College Prep, which is for juniors and seniors."

Both classes are designed to show students different paths to "good" leadership, said Mooney, who added that the center also offers leadership programs.

Jennifer Wright, a 17-year-old Grand Crossing resident, said she has a been a member of the center since its founding and is involved in several programs there too.

"I plan to major in education and psychology in college. I want to teach middle school," said Wright, a senior at William Harper High School. "I like the Gary Comer Youth Center because it keeps me from a lot of violence that takes place on the streets."

Other youths described their experiences at the center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave., as positive.

Airrishaun Sykes, a 19-year-old Grand Crossing resident, is a student at Malcolm X College studying African-American Studies, and works part-time as a kitchen assistant at the center. The aspiring motivational speaker said participating in programs at the center has been beneficial for him.

"By me working here I talk with a lot of people and that has helped my speaking skills," Sykes said.

The Bronzeville Scholastic Institute alumnus added he does not think about becoming a victim of crime when going and leaving the center.

"Me personally, I am never really worried about my safety. The environment in this building and around the building is cool," Sykes said.

And Mua Killins, a 17-year-old Englewood resident, is involved in the center's Legacy program, which he said teaches youth about leadership, college readiness, and service and learning.

"I like that the program is run by the youth. From day one I was put in a leadership role," recalled Killins, a senior at Walter Payton College Prep High School. "All of the programs here have a main goal and that is to better the center, the community and the youth involved. That's what I like most about the Gary Comer Center."