Empowering at-risk children, families, and communities  

At SGA Youth & Family Services, we use proven techniques for helping to make real, sustainable change for the most underserved individuals and neighborhoods in Chicagoland.  

Our Mission: SGA helps children, families and communities facing great challenges to realize their potential. 

Our Vision: SGA works to transform challenged neighborhoods in the greater Chicago area into healthy communities. 

SGA creates and implements innovative, tailored solutions based on best practices to continuously improve outcomes for individuals and communities. SGA is committed to fulfilling its mission with respect, integrity and accountability. Our success is driven by using innovative services, providing sustainable programs, employing collaborative efforts, and by having measurable outcomes. We are constantly evolving to adapt to the communities we serve and the ever-changing needs of those we serve. 

Our agency began in 1911, so we have a long history of helping people in Chicagoland realize their greatest potential. At the time of our founding, Chicago was home to a group of visionary women—the Hull House reformers—who were determined to shift social policy toward interventionism and address the needs of Chicago families. Their work resulted in national and international changes to government, including the enactment of the Social Security Act, the Juvenile Court system and the formation of the U.S. Children’s Bureau at the Department of Labor. 

In that era, Illinois law allowed children to go to work at age 14 and many low-income families depended on those additional earnings. But uneducated children had difficulty finding and keeping jobs; when they did, it was often seasonal or grueling manual labor. In response, SGA’s (which was named Joint Committee at the time) earliest mission was to provide scholarships for vocational education and training to the children of Chicago’s most vulnerable families. These young people learned valuable skills that enabled them to become long-term contributors to the financial health of their families. 

While SGA no longer provides scholarships to children, we do continue to help train young people and help them find and keep jobs. Workforce development is just one of the four core service areas of SGA. We use a proven and innovative method called the Cycle of Opportunity©. This system is a continuum of comprehensive services that helps break the cycle of adversity and provide families with enough opportunity to change their lives and their communities. The other three areas in this Cycle are parenting, early childhood education and education support services.