My Block My Hood My City youth-led summer tours start next week in North Lawndale, Little Village

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Teens from Little Village and North Lawndale are preparing to tell the story of their neighborhoods from their perspectives.

"People might see one thing but it can actually be something else," said Ashanti Marshall who lives in North Lawndale.

Miguel Gadea lives in Little Village. He said his neighborhood is not how it's portrayed.

"It's not always about violence in our community," he said. "There's ups and downs but it's mostly beautiful."

My Block My Hood My City is organizing the youth-led summer tours.

"We're bringing guests from outside the community having our young folks tour them around their neighborhood and learn about the history and culture and the rich marvels of each of these places," said Nathaniel Viets-VanLear, a senior program manager at My Block My Hood My City.

This is the fourth year for the tours in North Lawndale and the first year in Little Village. Organizers said about 30 teens are participating in the program and they'll be paid $15 an hour.

Viets-VanLear said he hopes to inspire and empower the teens.

"We're trying to give them a good reason to get out in the community and do something positive this summer," he said.

The teens said they're building their confidence and learning the art of public speaking through the training. And that will benefit them in the classroom and in their future jobs.

"You got to be confident in your speaking and how you speak and what you say," Marshall said.

Some of the tour guides are excited, but nervous to start leading the tours.

"It is going to be hard," Gadea said.

But he said he's ready for the challenge.

The North Lawndale and Little Village tours run July 9 thru August 28. It costs $30. Organizers said the ticket price funds the program.

My Block My Hood My City Youth-Led Tour Tickets
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