Community TV Network

Cause Area

  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Education & Literacy
  • Media & Broadcasting



Organization Information

Mission Statement

Community TV Network (CTVN), a leader in community access to media, empowers low-income young adults and children in Chicago to identify, address, and resolve issues through the use and understanding of digital media arts. CTVN instills in youth the awareness, motivation, and tools they need to create a positive future for themselves and their neighborhoods. Engaging youth in the creative and collaborative process of digital video production, we use the resulting media content to promote positive youth and community development with the overall goal of raising the educational success and economic viability of the neighborhoods where youth participants live and work.


Since 1974, our technology and arts curriculum has empowered more than 11,000 city youth with a platform for self-representation while building self-esteem, community awareness, and intellectual curiosity. Filmmaking is taught through hands-on, interdisciplinary, student- and problem-centered programming, capturing the attention of our focus age group in a society dominated by visual media. Digital video production provides youth with tools to enhance academic learning, further developing essential skills that will lead to success in other subjects and endeavors.

CTVN provides free after-school programs and in-school classes five days a week, year-round, for over 600 youth, including paid apprenticeship positions, internship positions, on-location job training with professional filmmakers, summer employment, and numerous service learning and volunteer opportunities. Through our partnerships with organizations such as Alternative Schools Network (ASN), After School Matters (ASM), and the State of Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), we currently serve at-risk youth at our central site and several satellite locations in nearly a dozen Chicago neighborhoods.

Combining an accessible medium with accessible locations, we address the needs of the community by providing meaningful learning experiences in safe and nurturing environments throughout Chicago. Our approach both engages participants in creative youth development activities and uses the resulting youth media messages to directly address urgent community issues.


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