After-school program accepting applications

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After School Matters‘ application for summer programs is open, offering opportunities to thousands of Chicago high school teens in the arts, communications and leadership, sports and STEM.

Programs begin July 5 and will take place in-person at locations across the city as well as through select remote options. No vaccinations are required for participation. Teens interested in applying can visit

There is no cost to apply, and teens earn money for their participation. The amount earned in each program depends on the participants age, level of expertise required for the program and weekly hours of program.

Teens ages 14 and 15 can choose from pre-apprenticeship or apprenticeship programs, and both offer stipends for participation.

Teens ages 16 and older can choose between an advanced apprenticeship or an internship that pays $15 an hour.

After School Matters is offering new $15 an hour opportunities for 16- to 20-year-olds in alignment with the city’s One Summer Chicago initiative to provide Chicago youth with advanced opportunities where they will gain entry-level professional skills they can apply to their resume for a future internship or job.

This marks the first summer in nearly two years that the majority of program opportunities will be offered in person; while most programs will take place in-person, remote options are available for young people who prefer them.

Hundreds of programs will be offered this summer, and below is a sampling of some of the exciting programs available to Chicago teens. A full list of programs can be found here.

Advanced Culinary Arts
Teens learn new culinary skills and perfect their basic techniques. Participants receive training necessary to obtain jobs in the culinary hospitality industry or simply to prepare healthy meals for themselves and their families. Teens will also learn the arts and techniques of cake decorating, table setting and catering for large groups.

Astronomy & Space
Teens learn about urban astronomy and celestial bodies by viewing and discussing space-themed films, conducting physics experiments, studying NASA and manned space travel/rocketry, as they learn about careers in the astronomy and space field. By the end of the session, teens will be prepared to present and display newly-gained astronomical knowledge.

Teens explore the connections between people and nature and learn about the process of farming and the concept of whole food – strengthening their knowledge of the environment and their ability to make a positive impact on it to create peace and produce.

Game Design
Teens learn the fundamental concepts of game design and development through play, analysis and game making. Participants will play and analyze existing games (digital and analog) and then create new ones based off the knowledge they gathered in the program.

Les Enfants Dance
Teens are exposed to dance as an art form, professional opportunity and tool of personal expression. Participants will learn and perform a variety of dance styles, foster personal artistic growth and professional discipline through this program.

Yollocalli La Mesita: Radio & Live Stream
Teens explore and narrate the stories of their communities through journalism, audio and radio production. Participants learn production skills while gaining the tools necessary to be civic community journalists and storytellers. They will work as a team to research a story, often interviewing community members, local artists and fellow teens in the process. Their work will be peer edited and published on various media outlets. Collectively, participants produce a weekly radio show that is broadcast on FM airwaves through a partnership with a local radio station.

All After School Matters programs are free and open to Chicago high school students who are at least 14. As part of the application process, teens interview with program instructors to discuss their interests.

For questions about programs and applications, call (312) 742-4182 or email

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