Entertainers like Common and Chance the Rapper have utilized their platforms to give back to the city of Chicago and other rappers are following suit. Chicago native Vic Mensa recently announced the launch of his nonprofit which is designed to help youth in the city mentally deal with the trauma that stems from violence, Billboard reported.
The foundation—dubbed SaveMoneySaveLife—will have two programs under its umbrella, the news outlet writes. One of the programs—called StreetMedics—will bring mental health professionals into Chicago schools that at-risk youth attend in efforts to help them overcome traumatic experiences that they’ve dealt with while growing up in neighborhoods plagued by violence and crime. As part of this initiative, the organization will train first responders in areas of Chicago that have higher rates of violence. The other program, called UniVerse, was designed to address the education gap in the city by empowering Black youth to stay on track through a mentorship program.
Mensa has used his lyrics as an avenue to bring attention to social issues but wanted to go beyond music and further his impact in the community that he was raised in.
“The amount of trauma that the kids in these neighborhoods are dealing with is almost unprecedented, in what we consider to be first-world society. These murders are affecting everyone, every single person in the community. It’s very rare that they get an opportunity to talk to somebody about the trauma and to work through it.” Mensa told Billboard. “I wanted to specifically focus on kids around the age of fifth or sixth grade because they’re still at a point where things can really be turned around and where they can really shape and decide how they want to grow into adolescence.”
The launch of Mensa’s nonprofit comes months after Chance the Rapper and Google teamed up to donate $1.5 million to support STEM programs at Chicago public schools.