People, Places & Things: Lifting Future Leaders

This edition of "PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS" focuses on the following organizations:

COMMON GROUND FOUNDATION-- In existence since 2007, this organization is the brainchild of actor/rapper Common. Designed to empower youth, the COMMON GROUND FOUNDATION offers today's teens positive outlets and supports young aspiring artists. Recently, the group partnered with Little Black Pearl, located on the city's South Side, to work in tandem to groom African American youth interested in the arts.

CHICAGOLAND ENTREPRENEURIAL CENTER'S "Future Founders Program" (part of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce)--This program connects aspiring youth with successful entrepreneurs. Students from area high schools were given the opportunity to present a business plan in a competition that awarded them scholarship money and prizes. The program focuses on helping students with public speaking and financial literacy.

FREE SPIRIT MEDIA-- Established in 2000, this multi-media production company teaches youth how to produce documentaries, dramas and public service announcements. Emmy Award winning producer Jeff McCarter, says he founded Free Spirit to address the lack of diversity in the news media.

PROJECT EXPLORATION--This non-profit science education organization makes sciences accessible to the public -- especially minority youth and girls who are enabled to gain personal experience with science and scientists. Students in the program get hands-on experience both in the laboratory and on the field. They'll be visiting Yellowstone National Park this summer.

AFTER SCHOOL MATTERS--an extension of "Gallery 37," exposes teens to various disciplines such as technology, communications, sports, arts and dance. Teens are offered an outlet for creative expression.

"People, Places & Things: Lifting Future Leaders" is available on-demand at

Rubye Wilson is the producer of "People, Places & Things: Lifting Future Leaders."

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