What We Do

UI Empowers Youth, Parents & Communities

Our Approach

Play is a Game Changer

We believe that play has the power to make Chicago safer, more equitable, and more connected. We provide complementary approaches to youth and community development, each of which expands on the inherent power of play to support youth as they learn and grow.

Continuum of Programming

We encourage students to hone their leadership skills and build social capital

Our Continuum of Programming builds on the foundation of social-emotional learning (SEL) youth develop in elementary school. Our leadership development and high school readiness program offers middle school students the opportunity to serve as Team Captains for younger students on the soccer team. Captains participate in group mentoring sessions that build on social-emotional skills taught in our elementary school programs.

Our high school program pairs participants with mentors from Chicago’s professional community and hosts workshops that teach the skills needed to succeed after high school. The program provides work-based learning opportunities that expose participants to diverse examples of success.

SEL Suite of Services

We help elementary school partners to design programming that meets their unique needs

Designed for youth K–8, the SEL suite of services builds a strong foundation of social-emotional learning through play. 

  • Out-of-school-time soccer program
  • Sports camp
  • SEL retreats
  • Recess programming

 21st Century Programming

Investing in educational ecosystems in Chicago

The work that Urban Initiatives has been doing over the last 20 years has allowed us to see the impact that play-based social-emotional learning can have on educational ecosystems, particularly Chicago Public Schools. We have been a leader of sport and play in Chicago while honing this strategy across schools.

Adult programming

We know that well-trained coaches create a more positive youth impact

We invest heavily in training not just our own coaches, but coaches all across the city of Chicago. Through a partnership with We Coach—a nationally recognized leader in trauma-informed coaching—we facilitate a training to prepare parents, guardians, or community participants to immediately organize and implement sport and play sessions for healing, connections and resiliency.

Financial Overview

87% of Expenses Directly Support Our Programs at Urban Initiatives

Urban Initiatives is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating in the state of Illinois. We put donations to work in programs for kids, parents and coaches.