CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel paid a visit to some young people taking part in the city’s “One Summer” jobs program on Wednesday in the West Englewood neighborhood.

The mayor showed up in jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers, and helped kids paint abandoned homes at 64th and Wood streets.

“These buildings were meant to be torn down. Now they’re art that students have a chance to actually turn from what should have been torn down – what was going to be torn down – to art that the community participated in,” he said.

The project, led by artist Amanda Willams, is called Color Theory. Four abandoned homes on the block were painted bright colors.

“Even something as simple as a can of paint can transform their environments, and they can take ownership of that,” Williams said. “Arts can be a way that communities can transform. … The students can understand – even given whatever they feel, all the frustrations of their communities, or their lives – they can make a difference instantly.”

High school student Avery Sterling said the “One Summer Chicago” jobs program changed his life.

“I came a long way to be in the position that I’m in today,” he said.

Sterling said he has been given a chance to help other at-risk youth like him.

One Summer Chicago provided jobs to 20,000 Chicago youth this year.