Thursday, August 03, 2006

Upcomming Event 08/20/06

YSS History

We were founded on August 13, 1994, as a result of a successful peace conference at the University of Illinois—Chicago where 200 young people and adults gathered together to address and improve upon the conditions that youth experience in their communities, neighborhoods, schools, jobs and families. We also discussed societal issues like poverty, racism, police brutality, poor education, drug abuse, cultural and historical ignorance (or denial) and violence in all forms.

We got together in the early days to help with the initiation of young men and women into manhood and womanhood. There were peace retreats to attend and peace conferences to participate in. Relationships between adults and young people were based on mutual respect—something that had been missing from their lives for quite some time.

In 1997, We were featured in a PBS documentary, “Making Peace.” It profiled eight different organizations from different parts of the country that were making positive changes in their communities. Our segment was named “Soul Survivors” and profiled our co-founder Luis Rodriguez, an established activist, author and poet. Our work can be seen making positive changes in young peoples’ lives.

Luis moved back to his hometown of Los Angeles in 2000, with his daughter Andrea also leaving Chicago the following year. Frank and Louise Blazquez, a couple of our adult mentors at the time, took over YSS shortly after. Along with their daughter Tanee and son Frankie and several of their indigenous spiritual circle, they inherited the directorship and introduced much of their own spiritual, cultural and artistic philosophies to form an elder-guided and youth-directed YSS.

We continue to work towards the goal of obtaining equality, justice, peace and self-awareness to all young people and many adults alike. Our ultimate goal is to assist in the creative transformation of all youth and young adults we come in contact with, from gangs, the abuse of drugs, materialism and alienation into consciously awakened men and women. We work to help them realize their true human potential, so that they can contribute to all of our communities.



ILL-NOIZE fuses ancient traditions with the movement and expression of today’s urban arts culture. The highlight is the “culture clash” where dancers from a variety of backgrounds “battle,” or compete against each other.

RED-NOIZE is a collaboration with several Chicago-area organizations like Kuumba Lynks, South West Youth Collaborative, University of Hip Hop, Alternatives, Youth Net, Chicago Tribe, Synergy and Oakland, Calif.-based Ground Affects to bring dance, art, poetry, music and deejaying to youth on Native American reservations.

Urban Roots (Little Village-Lawndale High School) creates opportunities for youth to express themselves through art and culture bringing youth leaders from the community to share their knowledge and talents in art, music, dance, poetry and ceremony. Our students will then have an opportunity to share what they’ve learned with their community.

Rites of Passage is meant as an alternative to what society expects youth to experience. Instead of demeaning acts like hazing with fraternities and sororities, it’s a time of solitude for youth and allows them to look deep within themselves. It’s a time for them to seek that vision of what they can do to help themselves, contribute to their families, and their friends and their communities. In the Native American Lakota culture of South Dakota, it is known as “Hanblechia,” or the vision quest, a time for self-reflection and development.

Contact Info & Under construction

YSS's temporary site- our website is under construction - Blog till further notice

Contact info:
Tanee Blazquez - 630-788-6717
Vice President:
Christopher Dino - 773-780-7887