April 15, 2024

SWOP & TGI - After School Matters at Gage Park

Dantay Williams, a youth organizer with the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), is partnering with TGI Movement (TGI) and After School Matters to bring the Omega Chi Omega program to one of SWOP’s member institutions, Gage Park High School. Omega Chi Omega aims to curate and cultivate “Oases” throughout Chicago to unite youth across neighborhood boundaries to dismantle dream deserts. A dream desert is described as “the system youth fall into when they are unable to follow their dreams (passion) because of the lack of resources, knowledge and sometimes life circumstances.”

As the lead instructor and facilitator, Dantay engages with the youth cohort through a robust curriculum put together by TGI. “Through this program, we focus on building up young leaders. We want them to be able to advocate for themselves through a myriad of engaging activities.” Dantay shared. Through Omega Chi Omega, participants take part in one to one relational meetings, leadership development opportunities, financial investment training, and much more. Through these experiences, the cohort will also be exposed to internships, civic & community engagement, entrepreneurship development, and networking opportunities.

Dantay resonats with the thoughts and feelings of young people. Recalling his time spent as a youth, Dantay reflects on how he felt as though he received a mentor much too late in his life, wishing he had the opportunity earlier. “I want to be for them, what I wish I had at that stage in my life. It’s hard being a young person and feeling like you have no say and no agency in the things that you do. I want to be able to provide a space for them where they can express what they want and need for their own development.”

When asked about the goals of the program, Dantay shared this. “We want to enable them to pursue their dreams. We have a group of unique young people, so we want to be able to meet them with as much knowledge as we can give them to make it happen.” Dantay added more depth, stating that they aim to provide participants with transformative community organizing experiences, equip them with the knowledge to shape the narrative of their futures, and instill a sense of ownership and commitment that will allow them to become agents of change in the future.

To learn more about Omega Chi Omega, check out TGI Movement’s website.

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