Tag Archives: UPrising

UPrising Youth Program Launches Crowdfunding Campaign!


Universidad Popular’s UPrising Youth Program works with over 100  youth throughout the year and helps them overcome systematic challenges through a holistic approach that covers youth leadership, mentorship, and academics. Thanks to UPrising, Little Village youth have a safe space where they can grow and learn together in a supportive environment.

UPrising Support testimonials

Recently, Universidad Popular became one of hundreds of organizations in Illinois that has been affected by statewide budget cuts and the lack of 2016 budget. Because of this, the youth program will be forced to shut its doors and cease to provide area youth with academic, social, cultural, and physical mentorship.
This is devastating news
Our youth have organized themselves to speak up and demonstrate how important this program is for them. These past few months they’ve participated in demonstrations, press conferences, professional conferences; they’ve sent letters to the governor and public officials; and now they are launching a two-week crowdfunding marathon to make their summer program possible.
You can help
We want to make our summer youth program available for community youth, 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. To make this happen, we need to raise $20,000 by June 30th.
Share this campaign with your friends, family, and everybody else! Spread the word about the importance of funding holistic youth programing. We even made a tiny url to make sharing even easier:
Every little bit helps us reach our goal of sustaining our summer programing while we seek stable funding for the fall.
Checks can be made payable to Universidad Popular with “UPrising” in the memo line and sent to:
Universidad Popular
2801 S Hamlin Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623
For more information contact us at 773-733-5055 or online at www.universidadpopular.us

Universidad Popular Announces BASSET Certification!

Marketing Poster 1Universidad Popular has been working on a campaign that promotes healthy communities–encouraging drug-free youth and  parental awareness about underage drinking among the residents in little village. A series of marketing materials have been dispersed around the neighborhood to raise public awareness. The materials are intended to get parents’ attention and spark discussion with their kids about the negative consequences of alcohol use without using fear as a motivator.

Marketing Poster 5

Apart from the marketing campaign targeting youth and parents, Universidad Popular is also leading efforts to educate the business and service industry in proper protocol regarding alcohol service policies that are meant to prevent youth consumption and reduce consumption abuse by community members.

Marcela Espinoza and Edgar Montelongo will be training servers and employees that work and serve liquor in community of Little Village.  Despite being a requirement for every employee in the establishment serving liquor to to be certified, Universidad Popular wants to make sure our community is not serving minors and is educated on what to do when serving alcohol to adults

The new BASSET law takes effect on July 1, 2015 requiring all on-premise alcohol servers and bouncers in Cook County to attend BASSET, and for ALL Illinois BASSET cardholders to renew their certification every three years.

Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET) is the State of Illinois’ responsible beverage seller/server program. Under the licensing and regulatory auspices of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, BASSET is designed to encourage profitable, responsible, and legal alcohol sales and service.

Link to BASSET Sign-in

The goals and objectives of the BASSET Program are:

Train and educate sellers and servers to engage in responsible alcohol service;
Spot signs of intoxication and utilize various intervention techniques;
Prevent DUIs and alcohol-related fatalities;
Stop underage sales and underage drinking;
Create safer communities and establishments where alcohol is served;
Educate owners, managers and staff on dram shop insurance, state laws, and local ordinances regarding alcohol service.

If you would like to sign up for our training. Click here!

If you have further questions, feel free reach Marcela or Edgar at (773) 733-5055



Volunteer Voices Series: Ouamar Benikene

This essay is published in our quarterly publication: ¡Escucha! which can be found online here: http://www.universidadpopular.us/escucha/fallwinter2014/#/0

An International ExperienceIMG_0251


During his visit last Spring to Universidad Popular, Dr George Palamattam, the executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council of International Programs USA, was so impressed with UPrising’s performance that he proposed to us the idea of hosting someone from another country just as passionate as our facilitators about the role of sport in turning around youth lives. After a quick examination on this venue, Dr Palamattam suggested that Uprising consider Ouamar Benikene, a non-traditionall education practitioner that resorted to sport to engage youth in Les Ulis, a multicultural suburb located about 12 miles southwest of downtown Paris, France, for a cultural exchange. Just as our youth facilitators in Little Village, who work with children from immigrants to this country, Ouamar works with French-born children whose parents are still socially and culturally attached to their countries of origin or birth.

Ouamar arrived in Chicago September 6th, and immediately got himself in the swing of things with our UPrising team. Gradually, a strong work relationship was in place for the delight of the staff and participants alike. With our softball team, he help developed a curriculum and weekly lesson plans to help the team have a successful season. Our cooking class was co-facilitated by Ouamar, he shared some of his personal and famous recipes from France, such as crumble aux pommes and fettuccine alfredo. He was also fully invested is our cultural table activity where he shared many of his personal, cultural and traditional experiences. He also shared some of the hardships that people in France have to overcome to be accepted in society. Thanks to Ouamar, our youth realized that although we come from different places, we face the same struggles.

IMG_0011In our all staff meetings and community meetings, he shared ideas that analyzed and highlighted possible problems. Not only was he critical, but he was able to implement activities and necessary assessments to help facilitate a better program. Ouamar was a great help to the Uprising Youth Program during his time in Chicago. Universidad Popular is grateful for his time and the expertise he was able to share with us. Hopefully, we can repeat this kind of exchange more often between Paris’s southwest Les Ulis and Chicago’s southwest Little Village.

You can also be a part of the solution also! Multiple volunteer and internship opportunities are available at Universidad Popular. For more information e-mail us at volunteer@universidadpopular.us, call at 773-733-5055 or fill out our online form here: http://tinyurl.com/volunteer-up

A Big Thank You! From DePaul University Students to Universidad Popular

Last September 4th, DePaul University student from the Immigrant Youth in Chicago–Discover class visited our center in Little Village and were able to interact with many of our youth in a symposium-style session lead by our youth discussing the issue of the immigration process and growing up in Little Village. Today we received a few thank you notes from the DePaul students and we’re so happy to receive them that we thought we’d share them with you!


Universidad Popular was, hands down, one of my favorite organizations that we have visited during our class I loved being able to speak one-on-one with the kids. They are so adorable and creative, not to mention intelligent, it’s wonderful seeing them in an environment that benefits their learning. I love what this organizaation does for their community. It’s truly a wonderful thing. Thank you for spending that day with us and we hope to see you soon!


To Universidad Popular staff and members,

I would like to thank you so much for the wonderful time you offered myself and my DePaul colleagues! It was truly amazing to see how the community members all work together to help the community. Not to mention the activities the youth are given, like the “jumpin the border” imitation, that teach the youth to be compassionate and grateful. I would especially like to thank Santos and Adrian for helping out with the tour and being as interested in DePaul as we were in them! MUCHAS GRACIAS!



Universidad Popular,

Thank you so very much for allowing our class to experienjce the wonderful things you do for the youth in your community. It was so amazing to tour your organization and see how your dedication has changed the lives of so many people. I felt so incredibly welcomed by everyone, and it was such a fun and enjoyable day! Thank you again! You truly are changing lives.


I’d like to thank you for allowing our Discover class to come in and see Universidad Popular and what you guys do. I was really moved to see how an entire community pitches in to put something like Universidad Popular together for their kids. You don’t see that willingness to help children that much.

Thank you again,


Universidad Popular,

Thank you for allowing my Immigrant Youth in Chicago class to visit your organization. I met and talked with some very intelligents boys and I appreciate what your organization provides for them.Depaul5I would like to thank you for allowing us to visit your organization. Discussing immigrant based topics from the youth’s perspective was very different from the other stories adults told us. I will definitely be interested in volunteering in your community!

Thank you,


I loved the time we spent at your organization and the opportunity to ask the youth questions about their community. Thank you for having us 🙂


Universidad Popular staff and  volunteers,

Thank you for showing us and teaching us about your organization. I enjoyed learning about what it is you do and how you help the community. I loved being able to talk to the youth and answer all the questions they had. Hope to see you soon and best wishes!


Dear Universidad Popular,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us! I really enjoyed the conversations that we had in our small groups! Feel free to stop by DePaul anytime!

Thank you,


UPrising Youth Council Presents to Community Leaders

UPrising’s Youth Leadership Council was invited to the Little Village Youth Safety Network quarterly meeting yesterday to present on their project for the 22nd Ward’s Participatory Budget. Diana, Joshua, Reynaldo, and Kimberly represented the Youth Council, which allows the youth in the community to have a voice and advocate for change.

Youth Council presenting their PB22 campaign  to community leaders in Little Village
Youth Council presenting their PB22 campaign to community leaders in Little Village

The Youth Council worked on the campaign for more than three months; planning how we could have better lighting outdoors for safety. They organized themselves to make sure everyone in the council had different tasks. They also made sure that this was a participatory campaign, interviewing youth, leading activities about youth organizing and participating in weekly meetings with different people in the community.

Youth Council leads an activity about youth organizing
Youth Council leads an activity about youth organizing

The youth worked on a video to show on the PB 22 Expo at LVLHS. Lastly, after all the organizing and outreach, the youth started door knocking around the community to get people to vote for their community project. At the meeting, some of the community leaders at the table asked the Youth Council what their next objective is. Kimberly responded, “We are going to keep making change in the community!” Diana also added, “After all the accomplishments, now we are confident we can make change in the community.”

Youth Council members voting for PB22 community projects
Youth Council members voting for PB22 community projects

UPrising Bike Club

UPrising’s bike club takes little village youth out on their bikes to explore their city and neighborhood. Throughout the year, youth learn basic bicycle maintenance, responsible and safe street riding, and how to lead by following your group.

IMAG1975     IMAG1972


With each bike outing, the youth have learned the history of their neighborhood parks, and the amazing stories of the boulevard park system and the neighborhoods that surround them.By biking together through these areas, youth are expanding their own mental maps of their community and city, while at the same time breaking stereotypes they’ve been led to believe about other parts of the city that surround us. While exploring the beauty that surrounds us, youth also remain active and become enchanted with a healthy, fun activity that can take them to wonderful places.     IMAG1968_1     IMAG1982