Chicago teen on living amid violence: "I don't expect to have a future here"

Yaviel Ivey
Yaviel Ivey, 15, is a straight-A student living in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, where at least 80 people have been killed in the last 16 months. He recorded video diaries for CBS News.

(CBS News) Yaviel Ivey has lived in Englewood since he was eight. In the past 16 months, at least 80 people in this neighborhood have been killed and 260 others have been wounded by gunfire -- including 100 teenagers.

"In the area I live in, I don't expect to have a future here, and I want better for myself," he says.

Gang wars at the root of Chicago's high murder rate

CBS News wanted to know how good kids live and survive in that environment. So, for 30 days, we gave 15-year-old Ivey a camera to show us what it's like to grow up here. An Army brat, Ivey has lived in Arizona and Japan. After his parents divorced he moved here with his mother and sister.

"I'm not really used to what goes on around here," he explained in a diary clip. "I'm used to living in civilized areas, but I've gotten used to living over here."

At night, Ivey recorded candid video diaries.

"And, I saw this guy getting chased down the street by another dude who was firing a gun at him, and my mom was like 'What are you doing? Get down!'" Ivey told the camera. "And, I got down, and it was like I didn't know what was happening, but my sister was really scared."

Another time, he described the day he was confronted by a gang member.

"I guess he was trying to start something, so he asked me what I was. He was trying to see if I was in a gang. I told him I wasn't, I was neutral," he said.

Ivey attends Urban Prep Academy, the only all-black male school in Chicago. He's an A-student. He wants to be an entrepreneur and own his own business. Like Bill Gates, he says.

He explained that the violence outside often keeps him indoors, but he finds relief at church and in writing music.

"I know your pain, but please hang in there," he sings.

He says the song he wrote was to encourage people going through hard times: "Just because you are given a bad hand in life doesn't meant you have to give up."

For Ivey, where he lives does not define who he is.

"If you are afraid that hinders your progress in life," he says.

It may be a life surrounded by violence, but this young man is filled with the determination to make it out.