Jim Dower will speak on the topic, Urban Initiatives: Empowering Inner-city Youth, Changing Families and Community. A decade ago Jim Dower and longtime friend Dan Isherwood began teaching in Cabrini Green. With a bag of soccer equipment they started a small, 12-student team at Byrd School. Today Urban Initiatives has grown into an organization that works in 23 Chicago neighborhoods impacting over 10,000 Chicago Public School Students. Through their holistic approach of empowering youth through sports based youth development they have created a movement that impacts children, families, and the community.
Jim is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Urban Initiatives. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Political Science, Jim got his start in Chicago as a substitute teacher at Cabrini-Green’s Byrd Academy, where the inspiration for Urban Initiatives began. Jim has been recognized as a non-profit leader, from the 35 Under 35 Leadership Award from the Community Renewal Society to the Chicago Sun-Times list of 50 People Who Make Chicago a Better Place. He also is in his 8th year as a professional soccer coach for the Wilmette Wings Soccer Club. Jim oversees the day-to-day operations of Urban Initiatives and takes the lead on program development and external relations.