South Shore Drill Team & Performing Arts Ensemble
7218 S. South Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL  60619-1206
(773) 752-7830
(773) 752-7457
Executive Director:
Mr. Arthur Robertson
Web Site:

The year 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of South Shore Drill Team, well recognized for its high-energy, professional-level performances. Since 1980, South Shore Drill Team has reached out to young people who are at risk for dropping out of school and becoming involved in gangs or drugs. From a handful of neighborhood children, the team has grown to over 350 members ranging in age from 8 to 21. Founder Arthur Robertson is a former Chicago Public School teacher who continues to direct the group today. Team members are required to be students in good standing, and their grades are monitored. Although many come from schools where the drop-out rate is 55%, the team sees 99.5% of its members graduate from high-school, and most go on to college or technical schools. The team performs at more than 100 events with a combined live audience of more than 2.5 million annually. The chance to travel and perform is a strong motivating factor for young people to work hard in school and at rehearsals. In addition to its unique marching style, the group has a wide-ranging repertoire of dance. In 2005, the members traveled to Africa to tour Casablanca and other towns in Morocco as part of the Sister Cities program. In 2006, the team relocated to Gary Comer Youth Center: Home of the South Shore Drill Team, a facility constructed by the Lands End Founder who grew up in the neighborhood. The team works closely with Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Police Department, and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services to promote positive activities and encourage youth to pursue their educational goals, professional careers, and healthy lifestyles.

Mission Statement:
South Shore Drill Team is a prevention program which fights against gangs, drugs, high drop-out rates, and teen pregnancy. Through performances and education support, it offers youths an opportunity to develop self-esteem, self-discipline, and goals for their future.

Current Program:
South Shore Drill Team's rehearsals, performances, and recreational activities give young people an outlet for their creativity and drive. Performances offer young people an opportunity to develop self-esteem, self-discipline, and goals for their future. All of the programs include discussions with individuals and groups on life skills and a concerted effort to promote positive youth development. Parade Performances - Activities include learning precision drilling, traveling to other cities and states, and performing in parades. Children have opportunities to meet dignitaries, sports figures or performing artists, as well as youth from different backgrounds. They enjoy fun activities such as skating and basketball, and develop respect for themselves and each other. Dance - Youth are exposed to a wide range of dance techniques from ballet to modern dance to hip-hop. Year-round training culminates in an annual show that helps instill goal setting, teamwork, and responsibility in team members. At-Risk Youth (Court Diversion Program) - The team accepts referrals including youthful first-offenders from Cook County Juvenile Court, law enforcement officials, and school authorities. The young people take part in community service projects while learning to take responsibility for their actions. Activities include discussion groups, family meetings, school attendance and grade monitoring, and homework assistance. They receive training in dance and drill techniques and are encouraged to join the team as performing members. Education Support - The team offers tutoring and a computer lab for homework. Staff members serve as a liaison to school officials and monitor grades and attendance. Team members learn about college and financial aid options, and receive assistance with tuition and books. By helping young people succeed in school, graduate from high school, and attend post-secondary schools, the team assists young people in breaking the cycle of poverty. Employment Training - The team offers stipends for youth as assistant instructors, office workers, and sound crew. Members learn to be responsible for paperwork, equipment, and to serve as role models as they guide younger children. Leadership Development - Members learn leadership skills and the importance of being involved in their community to bring about positive change. Youth are encouraged to take a leadership role in their community and on the team. Financial Assistance - The team helps youth whose families struggle to provide the basics. Meals are served at the Youth Center, and warm coats and holiday gifts are given during the winter months. The team also offers to purchase school clothes and bus fare for travel to and from rehearsals.

Grants Since 2007:
YearProgram AreaAmount
2010Arts & Culture$25,000.00
2010Community Development$10,000.00
2008Basic Human Needs$20,000.00