Non-profit organization Go for Yours Foundation held an online fundraiser to give youth in Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles an opportunity to attend screenings of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther.
Go for Yours Foundation’s founder Erika McCall launched the organization after speaking to students at Julian High School, 10330 S. Elizabeth St., where she shared about her book entitled, Go For Yours. The mission of the Go for Yours Foundation is to provide young people (ages 13-21) with financial assistance, guidance, and resources to create opportunities for success.
“I chose to start the Go for Yours Leadership program at Julian High School in honor of my cousin Ben Gibson who graduated from Julian in 2000,” said McCall. “Like too many young people in Chicago, he didn’t make it to see past his 23rd birthday due to the senseless violence. There is a huge opportunity gap for young people of color in the United States. They are being isolated from the resources that will make them successful. Through the Go for Yours Foundation, I want to make sure no dream is left behind due to lack of money or resources.”
Originally, McCall intended to raise funds for just a Chicago screening but after speaking with friends she was able to extend the fundraiser to include Atlanta and Los Angeles through generous donations, social media assistance, and great momentum towards young people seeing the film. More than 450 young people were slated to benefit from the fundraiser. According to the Go for Yours Foundation’s website $7,100 was raised toward a goal of $50,000.
The screening dates were:
February 19 – Los Angeles
February 23 – Chicago
February 25 – Atlanta
The Defender spoke with McCall in the days leading up to the premiere of Black Panther.
Defender: Why was Black Panther your movie selection? How much money do you hope to raise from the Black Panther screening?
McCall: Black Panther is the movie selection because we want to provide young people with a chance to see themselves depicted as strong, intelligent, and beautiful on the movie screen while simultaneously serving the youth and community.
We hope to raise at least $50,000 for the fundraiser. Additional proceeds will go to the foundation’s Go for Yours Fund. The Go for Yours Fund is available for young people who have modeled a commitment toward reaching their goals and are in need of financial assistance and support to achieve their short-term and long-term endeavors.
Defender: What does it mean to you for your organization to return to Chicago and do good work with the students?
McCall: I’ve been doing work in Chicago for quite some time. I started the Go for Yours Leadership Program in 2013 before I moved to Los Angeles. Living in LA has allowed me to gain a lot of connections and resources that will be beneficial to the students living in the city. My overall goal is for the foundation to create a platform for others to give back. For instance, I brought actor and Chicago native Cory Hardrict to speak to a group of students at Julian High School back in 2016. Additionally, I spoke at a graduation for Donda’s House in 2015.
Defender: How many youth are served through the Go For Yours Fund annually? How much money was raised last year and so far this year?
McCall: We just launched the Go For Yours Fund in January. We created the fund for students in expedient need. Our participant whose dream is to compete in the Olympics is the first of many that will be served. The foundation currently serves about 50 students. We have just began fundraising this year. So far the Go for Yours foundation has raised a little over $10,000.
Defender: Would you provide more details about the activities/goals being set for participants of the Go For Yours Leadership program? Is there an application process? Application fee?
McCall: The foundation has created a leadership program called the Go for Yours University. It consists of an 8-week leadership academy for students (ages 13-21). The curriculum is meant to inspire, educate, and provide participants with the resources needed to grow academically, personally, and professionally. Upon completion of the program, students are offered services through the foundation that will allow them to gain access to the resources needed for them to succeed.
Currently, the program is provided on a need basis. All of our programs are free to the students being served.
For more information about Go For Yours, visit https://www.goforyours.com/.