"When I was at home, I was in a better place"

- William Shakespeare, As You Like It (II. iv)

What is the true value of having a place to call home? 

An artistic home can provide the foundation and support in a young person’s life to change their trajectory forever by offering a safe space to examine their very contemporary human experiences through a meaningful artistic lens. At Chicago Youth Shakespeare — our lens may be the works of a 450-year-old poet, but the values of our artistic home are immediate and palpable. 

At CYS, teenagers discover a place to develop their own curiosity-driven process, a place to try and fail, to trust and be trusted, and to find their own voice as part of a diverse, creative community of their peers. In short, “a place to call home.” Students leave our CYS home with a greater sense of their own identity as artists and as empowered young adults, with a compassion for the world around them that makes the act of paying it forward instinctual. 

How do we know? 
Recently we asked the ensemble cast of Chicago Youth Shakespeare’s Othello to consider when they first knew that CYS was “home”. Here’s what just a few of them had to say:

"I knew CYS was home when..."


...I had been with the cast for only three days, and it felt like we had been working together for years.

...going to rehearsal made me feel valued and challenged, without making me feel as if I needed to pretend to be someone else. I could ask questions without consequences, and grow without any restraints.

...I felt like my voice mattered and like I didn't have to scream to be heard. I learned that I am enough. I am so much more confident now - ready for anything that comes my way!

...CYS provided me with opportunities that were immeasurably valuable to my identity as an actor, an artist, and a passionate person in a world that often feels uncaring. 

In just five years, CYS has opened its doors to over 7,000 students, providing a home where today’s learners can develop into tomorrow’s leaders — leaders who will make Chicago (and our world) a better place for themselves and for each other.

And...the door is open, there is room in our home for you.  Support from individual donors makes it possible for CYS to provide these life-changing opportunities for students of every background and income level throughout our region. So whether you’re already part of the family, or just getting to know us, we hope you’ll consider becoming a part of the legacy of growth by supporting CYS with your tax-deductible, end-of-year gift.

With thanks and best wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday season! 

- Your Friends at CYS


Get to know CYS better:
Watch this sneak peak from CYS's upcoming documentary project!

And come see for yourself this coming Monday at UIC!

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