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Jeffery came to After-School All-Stars a timid young man who had experienced a lot throughout his short life. At 12 years old, he had already lost close friends and family to the violence that plagues his neighborhood of Englewood. As a toddler, his older brother was taken by the Department of Child and Family Services, which resulted in his grandmother adopting Jeffery to protect him from the same fate. As a rising 7th grade student at Dewey School of Excellence, his grandmother recognized that this energetic pre-teen boy needed additional support that she couldn’t provide alone.
Jeffery’s grandmother enrolled him in After-School All-Stars, a partner agency of United Way of Metro Chicago. He quickly joined four initiatives—We Are Ready, Sports as a Hook, Life Service Action, and Career Exploration Opportunities. Together, these programs provided Jeffery with the skills for success in high school and beyond, exposure to the arts and technology, and the chance to explore new hobbies like cooking. But, more than that, the lessons learned at After-School All-Stars helped Jeffery find his voice.
Jeffery quickly matured from the shy boy into a confident leader. Through the programs at After-School All-Stars, he discovered a passion for graphic design and hopes to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jeffery was even nominated to sit on the After-School All-Stars national Youth Advisory Board and got to spend a week in Washington D.C. learning how to leverage his leadership skills to create change in the Englewood community.