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Everyone deserves to live and work in safe places, but that’s not the reality in some Chicago neighborhoods.

It’s an issue our employees in these communities are passionate about. Believe Chicago is an AT&T employee initiative informed by grassroots efforts to improve lives and lift 19 Chicago neighborhoods most affected by gun violence and high unemployment.

By focusing our company’s people, hiring, services and contributions, we will lift these neighborhoods and help people who live in them find opportunity they deserve to succeed in education, careers, and life.

Meet Caitlin Capporelli. She’s one of many employees who have inspired us from the beginning. 

Here’s her story:

Chicago is my home. I was born and raised here. In fact, my family immigrated from Mexico generations ago when the steel mills were still booming. That was a much different time and my corner of Chicago is a much different place.

When people think of Chicago, they may think of shining skyscrapers stretching into the sky. My reality in East Side Chicago is much different. The sound of gunfire is a constant reminder of where I live. The skyscrapers of downtown couldn’t feel farther away.

I’ve had family members uproot and move far away to escape the violence happening in the streets. They couldn’t have their kids living this life. I don’t blame them, but this is my home, my family is here, I grew up here and I’m not going anywhere.

The biggest issue on these streets is opportunity  – or the lack of opportunity. That’s where AT&T comes in.

I’m a neighborhood success story and I just happen to be a manager at AT&T. In the year that I’ve been with the company, my life has completely changed. Being part of the AT&T team has ignited a fire deep within me that I didn’t even know existed. Doors are opening and opportunities are there to live the life I deserve. I want that for my family and my neighbors, too.

Employees, like me, got the ball rolling in stores, call centers and company equipment garages all across Chicago to help in any way we could. That inspired AT&T to put its resources behind employee ideas and efforts in 19 neighborhoods which opened doors that never seemed possible. It is different because AT&T is going into Chicago neighborhoods like mine and asking, "What do you deal with? What is an average day for you?” AT&T is listening, not telling. It makes an incredible difference.

My hope for my Chicago neighborhood is to lose the stigma of a place of violence. My community and my coworkers are amazing people, loving people, who are doing something to change their neighborhood, not just standing by and watching it happen.

I’m excited to see what Believe Chicago will ignite in others. 

Caitlin’s story is just one of hundreds from our employees and our customers, and we want everyone in Chicago to know, we’re not going anywhere.  We are here to stay, here to grow with you and here to help each and every one of you flourish. Then together, we can teach the next city how it’s done. Learn more about Believe Chicago and hear more about Caitlin and her co-workers’ stories from the people who know Chicago best, our employees.