HS teens blog about growing up in Chicago

HS teens blog about growing up in Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A local blog written by high school students is starting to get attention from the entertainment and business industry.

It’s a project funded by Youth Connection Charter School (YCCS) and what kids write about are gritty topics -- the good and the bad about growing up in Chicago.

“I’m in school because I want to be something, not just another gangbanger on the street,” said student Vernon Williams.

FOX 32’s Joanie Lum asked Williams if he really feels that way.

“Yeah, [but] not always,” he responded.

Writing blogs made Williams confront his dark past.

“Hanging with wrong people, led me to trouble, til I found YCCS,” he added.

Williams said that YCCS gave him a second chance. Instead of dropping out and selling drugs, he'll graduate.

The teen bloggers hope their voices attract traffic to their page called ‘Turn Adversity to Advantage.’ The subjects they cover can be harsh, and often turn to concerns about gun violence.

“Unfortunately violence is a big thing, that's they main concern; drugs, unprotected sexual contact,” said blogger D’andre Washington.

And almost everyone knows someone that is affected by violence.

“It’s sad to see people are capable of it and choose not to do it,” said blogger Juliana Valencia.

That’s why the teens are learning how to design web pages and build their own social media communities in a classroom at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The skills could lead to careers and away from danger. It’s a paid internship that ends in August.

The kids hope to keep the page up during the school year, keep the conversation going and encourage other kids to excel in school.

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