Creating Safe Spaces in Little Village Throughout the Summer

We kicked off our Family Friday Nights last week at McCormick Elementary School's courtyard! It was an evening full of carnival games, food, a bounce house, basketball and prizes! Our staff will continue to create a safe space in this area for the remaining of summer!

This is part of a city-wide initiative called Light in the Night. The purpose is to help community members reclaim public areas as safe spaces and take back their communities to build peace.






West of McCormick Elementary School, we had various youth compete at a basketball tournament Hoops in the Hood! This was launched many years ago as a response to Chicago's violence by providing young people a place to play basketball safely.

Celebrating Graduations with Youth in Little Village and Humboldt Park

In the past couple of weeks, our mentors have been attending graduations and organizing celebrations for the youth. The core of our work is to accompany them through life's highs and lows. We are so happy students felt comfortable enough to include their mentors during this very important milestone.






At the end of every school year, staff at our Humboldt Park location plan a graduation celebration on a Sunday morning during church! It is an awesome time to recognize the hard work and resilience of our youth in front of their families and our local church members. We can't wait to see what's ahead for them!

Pan de Vida Fresh Market Opens in Little Village

We are so happy to finally say our Pan de Vida Fresh Market building is open! We had a series of celebrations with over 500 friends, partners and neighbors last week, as we anticipated this date. We were able to reflect on the past, what God got us through and His provision with this new space.

Pan de Vida is here thanks to those who started it and have passed the baton to the young people who responded in times of crisis and decided to love and serve their community.



Moms Experiencing Mentoring Program

Some of our GEMS girls' mothers had the opportunity to come and experience what their daughters do weekly. They spent time self-reflecting, expressing themselves, participating in a peace circle and enjoyed a delicious meal as they shared their stories.

"It was a pleasure participating and meeting other mothers. Thank you for sharing what you do with my daughter. I felt so relaxed! I loved hearing fro m other moms about how this program has impacted their daughters. May God give you patience, wisdom and blessings as you continue to walk with them," said a participant's mom.



El Grito 5K is Back after 2 Years of Canceling Due to COVID-19

After canceling for 2 years due to COVID-19 restrictions and surges, our annual El Grito 5K Family Run/Walk is finally happening this year! The race is taking place in Little Village on Sunday, September 11 preceding the Mexican Independence Day Parade.

Registration is open! You can sign up individually or with your family at . There is a special Early Bird registration fee of $25 for the month of May only.

About the race: El Grito 5K runs along 26th Street, Chicago’s second magnificent mile, in the culturally rich Mexican neighborhood of Little Village. The race will precede the annual Mexican Independence Day Parade. We invite runners of all fitness levels to participate in the event!

New Life Centers is Awarded Mayor's Medal of Honor


New Life Centers was awarded the Mayor's Medal of Honor last Tuesday, for our “heroic work during the pandemic". During this season, we were able to expand mentoring to 400 additional youth through C2C, sports, after-school and mentoring programs. Our Juvenile Justice Project Coordinator, Amy Williams, was able to expand programming to incarcerated youth in IYC Warrenville. Our Street Outreach and Resiliency Services teams grew and continue to walk life, love and mourn with youth and their families. Our youth-led Pan de Vida food pantry distributed fresh produce to over 2 million people. Most importantly, our staff love people deeply in the name of Jesus.

"So thankful for our amazing staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to love on the young people of Chicago. We did this together. Love you guys!," said Matt DeMateo, Executive Director.

We are also thankful for everyone who supports the work, prays, volunteers and gives. We are excited to see all that is going to happen in 2022!

Learning How to Make Clay Earrings

The young women in our Arise Creations program experimented with new materials for jewelry making. We had a guest come in and show them how to create out of polymer clay! They got a chance to feel it out, cook it and make their own unique designs to take home. Although not part of the collection, Arise Creations always strives to challenge and expose young women to new material. However, they did introduce their new Rose Gold Urban Hope Necklace! You can get yours at

Restarting Open Gym in Humboldt Park

Open Gym was re-started at our Humboldt Park location about 6 months ago! After hearing young men ask for a safe space to play, the staff opened up the gym for hooping. This has been a great way to build community.

An average of 13 youth come out every Monday evening. From the open gym came the basketball team "New Life Boyz" which locally competes in a youth league.

Expanding Programming to IYC-Warrenville

We recently expanded programming to the Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville. Amy Williams, IYC Program Coordinator, tells us they have started art and afro-Cuban drum classes. They will begin practicing peace circles, writing classes and many other monthly activities. She says the young people are very excited to have these activities there. Click play to watch the full update!

Introducing Therapy Through Adventure

Youth i n our Street Outreach program got a chance to explore Big Marsh Bike Park on snowshoes with Chicago Adventure Therapy and even got to play snow baseball! During this adventure, they learned adaptation and how the plants and animals adapt to survive and braze the seasonal changes.

Jose Barragan, Street Outreach Mentor, says it amazes him how we are forced at a young age to adapt to our surroundings in order to survive every season.

"These young men have braved so much and continue to show how resilient they are no matter what obstacles are thrown their way," said Jose.