Xavier and Kaylen know the importance of opportunity.
Kaylen grew up in the Cabrini-Green community--and at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm. For seven years, she attended summer programming for students and learned about "the earth and how it works. It takes a lot of work to grow an abundant garden—support, respect, tending, planning, play, tutoring. It's so important to give all kids opportunities like this to learn."
Xavier moved around a lot as a kid to get away from neighborhood violence. After he started attending Loyola Academy in high school, he "saw the abundance and wealth disparity," he says.
His relationship with Liz, his mentor through Chicago Lights Tutoring, provided a supportive, one-to-one connection and resources to graduate from high school and attend college. "Without her and that program, I would not be set up for success. Chicago Lights is one of the most stable forces in my life," he says.
"I was a kid, just like any other kid, in a world that is not equal. Chicago Lights gave me the opportunities that I needed to develop and continues to be that stable influence that I can count on to help me grow."