Youth Repertory Theater Troupe

Maggie Brown (far L in photo) is a nationally-acclaimed singer/songwriter and director who empowers and instills compassion in kids as they develop their authentic voice. Her theater troupe is open to all talented youth (ages 8-16) to participate in a 7-week summer intensive culminating in staged public performances throughout the year and – for those that want to take the next step – resourcing within the theater and music industry.

This is a FREE program and registration occurs on a rolling basis (meaning, CONTACT US!) Rehearsals planned for M/W/F from 3:30-6:00pm at University Church

Speak Life Open Mic Series

The Speak Life Open Mic invites all young poets, rappers, singers, musicians of all kinds, comedians, dancers…we’ll make room for all talent! This is high-quality, no-pressure evening where young artists – professional and first-timers – speak their truth and grow their art in a safe and affirming space.

Julie Less is the Open Mic program manager. Please contact us if you’d like to help steer this exciting and fun evening for kids by recruiting, volunteering night-of, or any great ideas you have!

Held every 4th Friday, monthly, at University Church.
Under 21 = 7-9pm
21+ = 9-10pm

After School Tutoring

Photo: James Demus (middle with glasses) and other BG workers helping kids with their work (credit: Ted Lacey, 1978)


Through our partnership with the University of Chicago – Neighborhood Schools Program, we offer after school tutoring for all subjects in both a 1-on-1 and group setting.

Group tutoring is free. 1-on-1 lessons have a small fee, which can be subsidized as needed.

Sessions occur T-Th, weekly, in the University Church Library

Project Heart Food

Photo: One of the youth working in the kitchen program BG used to run in the 70’s (date and credit unknown)


Our “Chef 101” kitchen program is a paid, 6-week apprenticeship for young adults (age 16-24) that offers certificate-level food training and work experience (food prep and serving), a set curriculum, and job placement services in local restaurants after completing the program.

This program runs year-round, with rotating 6-week positions available. Please contact us if interested.


“Teens on 53rd” – We are currently working with Hyde Park and Woodlawn area youth to develop recreational programming along the 53rd Street corridor, and have been sponsoring youth-led activity along that corridor on Halloween for the past couple of years to limit the increasing number of police interactions with young people on that day. Many thanks to multiple individual donors, along with Promontory; Chipotle; Chicago’s 4th and 5th Wards; and the SECC for their investment in this effort.

“Music & Engineering” – We are also working to renovate a space inside of 5655 S. University (Chicago, IL) that will serve as a music studio teaching both songwriting and audio engineering to Southside youth. Local performing artists will serve as mentors and coaches for youth in the program, and after completing the engineering curriculum and learning the basics of digital recording, mixing, and mastering, graduates will be placed with jobs inside of local studios.



Community Programs Accelerator, University of Chicago
(BG was accepted into the CPA program as an Associate in 2016)

Neighborhood Schools Program, University of Chicago

The Law Project

Illinois-Wisconsin Region – Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Illinois Conference – United Church of Christ

Off the Pews Youth Initiative – United Church of Christ/Illinois Conference

University Church


None of this work would be possible without our many partners. The board, staff, and youth of The Blue Gargoyle thank you!!!