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Last Chance High

VICE Impact August: Chicago's At-Risk Youth and the Future of Higher Ed

This month we'll be launching a campaign helping vulnerable kids in Chicago, exploring the feasibility of higher education, and diving into the politics of health care reform.

To state the obvious, the first summer of the Trump administration has been wild. The new president's growing pains have dominated headlines and airtime. And understandably, the sensational antics have encouraged some people to disengage from national politics as much as possible. Many Americans are bewildered by the constant dumpster fire, and in many ways the distraction, that is the current management style of the executive branch of government. And regardless of who the new communications director is (Mooch, it's been real), very little has changed in terms of the country's ability to best serve a population that is largely hurting. But as politicos trend towards absurdity, and personal feuds rage on in insulated circles, another more positive trend is underway. Regular people are taking a hard look at the world around them, particularly in their communities and neighborhoods and saying "I've got to do something, because clearly no one else will."


Individuals and advocacy groups of various shapes and sizes are popping up everyday and everywhere.

The devolution of Washington may signal the renaissance of the hometown, and there seems to be renewed interest in the ability of the individual to get shit done at the local level. In late June, hundreds of mayors from across the country -- representing red states and blue -- came together to reaffirm a commitment to renewable energy, and made it clear that local efforts to combat climate change won't wait around for DC to start making moves.

Individuals and advocacy groups of various shapes and sizes are stepping up everyday and everywhere, unlikely candidates are taking a shot at elected office, and innovative approaches are being used to address old problems in new and exciting ways.

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This August, to coincide with the new season of the acclaimed VICELAND series Last Chance High , VICE Impact will be taking a look at the individuals and local organizations that are rising up to the occasion to help disadvantaged kids and who are picking up the slack of a broken education system where too many kids are being pushed-out to failure. Through compelling documentaries and television series, filmmakers Craig and Brent Renaud have been committed to telling the stories of America's most vulnerable, particularly the story of the recently closed Montefiore High in Chicago and the community that the school served. The second season of the award-winning program kicks off August 8, and features some truly remarkable individuals like Coach Frank Williams who worked at Montefiore, and Derek Brown, a former member of Chicago's Vice Lord gang who now coaches and mentors at-risk youth at the North Lawndale Boxing League in Chicago. Both are local, everyday people who provide a refuge of last resort for kids who literally have nowhere else to go, and selflessly give their time and energy to difficult and emotional situations. We'll be raising awareness of their efforts, and hopefully generating some needed contributions so they can continue their work.

Back-to-school time is right around the corner, and college affordability is an issue on the minds of many young Americans and their families, not to mention an area where the country is falling miserably behind. Tuitions are higher than ever, as is increased uncertainty about the future of jobs, so we'll be exploring the feasibility of higher education, different perspectives on the value of a traditional college experience, and what the future of education might look like worldwide.

As lawmakers play public policy roulette with health care, we'll be checking-in with different advocates from all sides of the political spectrum on the various opinions out there about what America's health care future should look like, and lessons to be learned from other countries.

Finally, we'll be continuing a series with YouTube about the creators for change program and how individuals are using video as an effective platform for storytelling, organizing and combating hate speech online. Thanks for joining us, and do be sure to squeeze in some fun in the sun while you still can. Also, please be sure to hit us up at @viceimpact with tips, organizations, and compelling stories that you see as relevant towards making the world a better place.