Cook County Awards Nearly $2 Million In Anti-Violence Funding

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The Cook County Board today approved $1.9 million in grants for 15 local community groups. The organizations’ work will be aimed at reducing violence in Cook County.

The grant proposals were recommended by the Violence Prevention, Intervention and Reduction Advisory Committee, which was established by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as part of the 2013 budget. The seven-member committee evaluated the grant submissions and made recommendations to the Cook County Justice Advisory Council about the best way to allocate limited funding to serve the needs of communities plagued by violence.

“I am grateful to the committee for determining how to distribute resources in an effort to make an impact in our neighborhoods,” President Preckwinkle said. “I look forward to working with these individuals and organizations to ensure the grants are as effective as possible. We believe this funding will provide critical services that help address violence prevention.”

The committee evaluated proposals submitted by 112 organizations. The committee members are Aurie Pennick, Executive Director of the Field Foundation; Thomas Weitzel, Chief of the Riverside Police Department; Esther Franco-Payne, Program Director for Metropolis Strategies; David Rosa, Administrator at St. Leonard’s Ministries; Commissioner John Fritchey; Commissioner Edwin Reyes and Commissioner Deborah Sims.

"While money alone won't eliminate the violence plaguing our communities, providing these grants to organizations doing frontline violence prevention work is a significant step toward breaking the cycle of violence that has taken far too many lives," said Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12th). "I want to thank President Preckwinkle for her leadership on this important issue."

“As we all know, violence in our communities is an unfortunate reality,” said Cook County Commissioner Edwin Reyes (D-8th). “These grants will go a long way towards helping organizations that are on the frontlines and provide a positive alternative to the most vulnerable to violence on a day to day basis.”

“Out of the 112 requests we received there were a number of good proposals and we wished we could have given everyone funding,” said Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims (D-5th). “The 15 organizations that will receive funding are going to do great work in their communities and I'm thrilled to work them and witness the fruits of their labor first hand.”

The following organizations were awarded grant funding:

Alternatives Inc.

The proposal includes plans to provide wrap-around services to youth exiting jail or detention. Three case workers will work with 10 clients at a time. The services include mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, re-enrollment in school when possible, career and employment training. The program will operate in the Uptown and Rogers Park neighborhoods. Award amount: $240,000.

Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School

The goal of the program is to provide a holistic approach to violence prevention and intervention at the school level. The program will operate in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Award amount: $100,000.

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

ICHV’s proposed program includes an “Activist Institute,” an eight week program that teaches youth how to advocate for legislation and other policy reform regarding gun violence prevention. The program targets all of Cook County, but focuses primarily in the areas most impacted by gun violence. Award amount: $75,000.

Illinois Collaboration on Youth

ICOY will use program funds to expand its Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (“SPARCS”) training curriculum. The SPARCS training will provide trauma counseling by offering training to community care providers. Training will be provided to organizations that serve multiple geographic areas within the County. Award amount: $123,082.

La Rabida Children’s Hospital

La Rabida Hospital will provide trauma, outreach and clinical services to youth at the University of Chicago Hospital and Stroger Hospital who have been injured as a result of violence. The program is modeled after Drexel University’s Healing Hurt People program. The program will serve youth from anywhere in the County, but anticipates most participants will be from the South and West sides of Chicago. Award amount: $219,918.

Lawndale Christian Legal Center

This program will provide legal representation, mentorship opportunities and wrap-around services to youth involved in the adult and juvenile justice system. The goal is to provide holistic services to youth involved in the court system. The program will target the Lawndale neighborhood. Award amount: $36,000.

North Lawndale College Prep

The goal of the program is to expand current practices of the Peace Initiative at the school. It includes daily advisory classes on conflict resolution, training of students as “Peace Warriors” to encourage them to practice conflict resolution, lead peace circles throughout the school, administer peer juries for conflicts involving physical contact, and targeted psychological interventions for youth applying evidence-based practices. Award amount: $51,000.

Pilsen Wellness Center

The program is primarily focused on prevention. It will implement a substance abuse prevention program for students in grades 6 – 8 at Little Village Academy and grades 9 – 10 at Latino Youth High School. The program will also have anger management serving smaller groups of youth. The program will serve the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. Award amount: $136,000.

Roseland Ceasefire

Roseland Ceasefire proposes to expand its violence interrupter program. The expansion would include a program manager, outreach supervisor, three outreach workers and one violence interrupter. The program will serve Roseland and surrounding South and South Suburban areas. Award amount: $175,000.

Struggling Youths Equals Successful Adults

Struggling Youths is a program that targets foster children 17 and older as they are aging out of the foster care system. Each participant will be paired with a “life coach,” who is a former foster child to help guide the youth through the transition to independent life. The program will serve youth from all over the county, but anticipates most participants will come from Englewood, Auburn Gresham, Bronzeville, Roseland, Austin, South Shore, Humboldt Park, and Lawndale. Award amount: $80,000.

Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network (UCAN)

Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network’s (UCAN) program provides wrap-around services for youth who have been violent or been impacted by violence. Services include mental health screenings, individual or group mentoring, participation stipends to increase attendance, and clinical services. The program will serve youth in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. Award amount: $200,000.

Union League Boys & Girls Club

The proposal seeks to increase the availability of programs and make them more robust. The club offers a wide variety of activities for youth ages 6-18 including sports, recreation, academic support, mentoring, good citizenship, healthy lifestyles and other related programming. The program will serve the Humboldt Park and West Town areas of Chicago. Award amount: $100,000.

Victory Christian International

Victory Christian will build upon current programming offered as an aftercare mentoring program. The program focuses on civic engagement of youth, educational assistance, mentoring, parental engagement, conflict resolution and skill building. The program will serve the South Suburbs particularly focused on Markham and the surrounding areas. Award amount: $39,000.

Victory Apostolic

The program has five main components: (1) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (2) Occupational Skills Training, (3) Employment, (4) Mentoring, (5) Leadership Development. Group therapy sessions will be focused on substance abuse. Occupational skills are based on the curriculum from the National Center for Construction and Education Research. Employment services will be offered through a partnership with Operation H.E.L.P, Inc. Mentoring will be offered through church members. Leadership development will be offered through the South Suburban Community Development Corporation. The program will operate out of Matteson, and serve the South Suburban area of Cook County. Award amount: $125,000.

Youth Advocate Programs

YAP proposes a 3 to 4 month program (per youth) in groups of 25. Youth will be referred by the Chicago Police Department’s organized crime division and the gang school safety team. The program consists of mentoring, educational assistance, occupation training, employment assistance and 24/7 crisis intervention. The program will operate countywide. Award amount: $200,000.

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