Cause Area

  • Advocacy & Human Rights
  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Education & Literacy
  • LGBTQ+


3013 N MONTICELLO AVECHICAGO, IL 60618 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Pantoja, a social worker and researcher, believed the development of our youths self-esteem was a precondition for academic excellence and it required the students understanding and appreciation for their cultural heritage. After extensive research on youth, she developed an approach known as the ASPIRA Process and it remains the core of all ASPIRA activities. ASPIRA uses a club structure as a means for carrying out this process that involves three core concepts used for youth leadership development: Awareness, Analysis and Action.


Our services at the center aim to meet the social, academic and workforce development needs of young people in our communities and schools. We offer College and Job Readiness, Leadership Development, Mentoring, After School programs and Summer Employment to over 2000 youth across the city.

The Miguel del Valle Youth Development Center holds monthly activities where participants can network, build positive relationships, and have fun while volunteering on a project, learning the latest dance, engaging in cultural exchanges and celebrations, exploring Chicago’s communities, and working on college applications and financial aid. Our youth members also participate in leadership development activities such as the Back to School Celebration and the Atrevete (Dare to) Youth Leadership Conference.

Members of our historic ASPIRA Leadership Clubs meet weekly at participating schools. They join the national movement or renew their commitment to being Aspirantes at the Areyto Ceremony, and celebrate their accomplishments at the annual Leadership Development Institute Celebration. At ASPIRA, our motto is "Once an ASPIRANTE, always an ASPIRANTE!" The Center remains a resource for its participants long after they have graduated from high school. In fact, some have returned as staff.

We invite you to be part of it and experience what we have to offer!


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