In May of 1986, Jess Levine, a Chicago businessman, became involved with the Hans Christian Andersen Elementary School through the Chicago Board of Education’s Adopt-A-School program. Through this program, which linked businesses with public schools, Levine collaborated with the school’s administration, its faculty and parents to establish an extensive after-school program that would provide academic assistance and extra-curricular activities. It soon became evident that a much more comprehensive support system that would extend beyond the students’ elementary years was called for in order to make a positive and effective impact in the children’s lives.
The East Village Youth Program was incorporated as an independent, non-profit organization in February 1989. It was developed as a model program that could be extended to other schools. From 1989 to the end of 1995, EVYP offered its programs and services exclusively to students from Hans Christian Andersen Elementary School. In 1998, EVYP extended its reach to better serve students by establishing an evening tutoring program, staffed by volunteers. EVYP opened a satellite program in 2001 and partnered with two elementary schools, Mitchell and Chopin Schools. Since moving in 2007 to its current location in the Avondale neighborhood, EVYP has focused on the immediate and surrounding communities, including West Town, Humboldt Park, Belmont-Cragin, Avondale, and Logan Square, providing comprehensive college and career readiness services to more than 1000 youth and their families.