Youth Crossroads Receives $2 Million in Grants to Support Gun Violence Prevention
In the past two months, Youth Crossroads has been awarded three grants totaling close to $2 million to help address gun violence impacting youth and families in Cicero, Berwyn, Stickney, Summit, Lyons, and Forest View. The grants include $1.5 million over three years from Cook County’s Justice Advisory Council’s Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Grant. Youth Crossroads also received a $225,000 grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), which will be used to start a workforce development program. We were also awarded a grant for $261,000 to fund our counseling, youth development, and food security programs to support gun violence prevention. (Details of the grant will be announced in September)
How Youth Crossroads Programs will Address Gun Violence
Cook County’s $1.5 million JAC grant, made possible by the support of Cook County Commission Frank Aguilar, will fund expanded gun violence prevention and trauma-informed care for youth (ages 10-17) in Cicero, Berwyn and surrounding communities who are impacted by community violence and trauma.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Grant for $225,000 Funds Workforce Development Training Program
Our new workforce development program, made possible with the support of Illinois State Senator Lisa Hernandez, will provide high school students and young adults with introductory training for careers as Community Health Workers (CHW). Our primary focus will be connecting 1st and 2nd generation Latinx residents in our community with health care systems. CHWs share the ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and life experience with residents. CHWs offer interpretation and translation services, provide culturally appropriate health education information, give guidance on health behaviors, and advocate for community health needs. CHW training will be provided by University of Illinois Chicago’s CHW Connect. The workforce development program will also provide students with an introduction to careers in the arts and entrepreneurship, resume building, interview skills, stipends and job placement. To learn more, contact program coordinator Arafat Olari
Susanne Lodgen Charitable Gift Fund Awards $15,000 to YLP
In recognition of the enormous impact that service-learning trips can have on the future trajectory of our youth, local philanthropist Susanne Lodgen has awarded a $15,000 grant to our Youth Leadership Program to support a service-learning trip in 2023. Susanne is committed to giving local teens an opportunity to expand their horizons by supporting service-learning travel opportunities outside their communities. Last June, YLP took students on a service-learning trip to Flint and Detroit, Michigan to learn about the water crisis and discover how communities decimated by the loss of jobs in the auto industry are building vibrant neighborhoods.
Youth Crossroads Staff and Interns Stand Ready for the New Normal
Last year was extremely challenging for Youth Crossroads staff and interns. Students returned to the classroom after 18-months of remote learning with unprecedented mental health and behavioral issues. Incidents of fighting, bullying, gun violence, suicides, alcohol and drug use, and anxiety and depression increased exponentially. This year, YC staff and interns are launching comprehensive new gun violence prevention and workforce development programs. They are introducing new community counselors and moving YLP from our building to the schools. None of our work would be possible without the profound commitment that staff and interns make daily to teens in our community.
Youth Crossroads Becomes Fiscal Agent for AOK Cicero
All Our Kids Network Cicero has joined the Youth Crossroads family. Under the leadership of Linda Rios, the AOK Network provides a high-quality, well-coordinated, easily accessible system of care to promote positive growth and development for Cicero children up to five years of age, as well as their families.
B.U.I.L.T. Program a Success
B.U.I.L.T. (Building Unique Individual Leaders Today), a free summer camp for local middle school students, was an enormous success in 2022. The summer was full of fun art activities, science experiments, socio-emotional learning, and field trips! Special thanks go out to the Berwyn Fire Department, Berwyn Public Library, and Brookfield Zoo for their support. Students were not only provided with a safe and educational place to be over the summer, but they also were served a nutritional breakfast and lunch as well as a space to develop personal skills. As the new school year commences, we are excited to welcome some of our B.U.I.L.T students into our Y.C.A program!