Expanding R CITY’s Path to Career
River City Community Development Center – Chicago, Ill.
- Emerging Leader: Charnesha Collier
- Grant Program: Emerging Leader
- Amount of Grant: $15,000
- Dates of Grant Term: February 2020 – February 2022
Charnesha Collier serves as Tuckpointing Crew Leader for Harambee Citybuilders, a program of River City Development Center, Chicago, Ill. She has worked her way up through the Citybuilders program starting off as apprentice and then junior crew leader to an assistant crew leader and now head crew leader. Collier is currently attending Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill. and is an elementary education major with a middle school endorsement.
Since 2017, River City Community Development Center (R CITY) has operated the Harambee Tuckpointing Apprenticeship Project. Serving youth ages 12-18, the project provides training in the masonry skill of tuckpointing via classroom teaching and community service experience. (Tuckpointing is a technique that involves filling gaps between mortar and brick on masonry chimney and walls.) Up to four days weekly, 1-2 crews of 15 apprentices each serve in the community, providing tuckpointing services to local senior homeowners. Each Friday, apprentices gain classroom teaching on the hard skills of tuckpointing and the career soft skills of money management, budgeting, goal-setting, conflict resolution, and communication. Leadership roles (Junior Crew Leader and Assistant Crew Leader roles) are available for two 18-year-old apprentices gifted in peer leadership and skilled in tuckpointing. In the past year, over 65 teens have apprenticed with the Harambee program. In 2020, R CITY plans to create an additional mini-crew of program graduates to earn income through market-rate jobs that may be outside the current scope of the youth program.