And Life Skills!
The drill team is currently looking for highly motivated young men and young ladies ages 6-18 who are interested in joining our marching line and drum corps. Registration is open and awaiting your application. So, look no further, click the link below to complete the online application and someone will respond accordingly.
James Crafton, MA, Executive Director
A native Chicagoan born and raised in the Harold Ickes Public Housing Development, James L. Crafton graced the world July 12, 1974, to Janet Elaine Crafton and Burt Lee Walker, Sr. James is the 3rd oldest of 7 siblings.
James' educational background consists of Wendell Phillips High School, Diploma (1992), Kennedy King College, Associates of Arts in Business Administration (2009), National Louis University, Bachelors of Arts in Social and Applied Behavioral Science (2011), National Louis University, Masters of Arts in Psychology (2013).
At the age of 12, James joined the 21st Police District Law Enforcement Explorers Program (Post 9221) where he posted colors for the late Mayor Eugene Sawyer. At the age of 14, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Sports & Recreation Department appointed James as the Sports Coordinator for his community. His charismatic and vivacious persona enabled him to engage the young adults of his community in efforts to ensure adequate programming. At the age of 16, James joined the Untouchable Unity Dance Troupe (U-Phi-U) where he started as a dancer and later promoted to the Group Director performing the duties of management, public relations, booking, promotions and marketing, group structuring, and discipline. While being a part of the dance troupe, James' outgoing persona enabled him to establish a networking relationship with various agencies and organizations in order to provide quality resources not offered by the troupe.
During his tenure as a resident of the Ickes Community, James has played a major role in the community where he gained independence in the community by securing his own apartment, where he was elected Building Vice President with the Ickes Local Advisory Council (LAC). He was also co-captain of the CHA Tenant Patrol and served as a community representative for three years. James also implemented the “Just Say No” Dance Troupe, a teen pregnancy & drug prevention program for young ladies within the community.
One year out of High School in December 1993, James was employed with the CHA as an Information and Referral Counselor. In July 1995, James was transferred to the CHA Police Department as a Police Assistant, performing administrative duties to commanding officers. In 1999, the CHA Police Department closed, and James transferred to the CHA Resident Program Department as a Program Coordinator over the CHA Ambassador Choir and later participated as the Program Director of the CHA Drill Team.
As a positive role model for today’s youth and young adults, James continues to mentor and nurture youth to ensure that they are setting realistic goals in life. With the desire and understanding for today’s youth, James continues to stand in the forefront as a role model of communities cloning the support he received growing up. Though some members tend to stray away from the tough love that James gives, they somehow find their way back home and James vowed to always give his best until all is given.
With his passion for youth and young adults, James now works within the Chicago Public School system as a Citywide Provisional Cadre Substitute Teacher at his Alma Mater, Wendell Phillips High School.