Youth Leadership Council

What is the Youth Leadership Council?
Talented, committed, and inspiring youth between the ages of 12 and 17 participate in the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) – an intensive program in civic engagement and social justice. Participants are trained on leadership, community development, and self-empowerment, with the goal of creating an independent team that votes on and leads its own projects in the community.

What does the Youth Leadership Council Do?
With guidance, the Youth Leadership Council discusses problems in the community, and thinks out solutions to fix each problem. Teens work together to implement their vision of a solution. They may team up with community organizations, government figures, the police, and schools to create positive solutions to problems that they encounter in their everyday lives. While the youth have the final say in the project they choose to implement in the community, some examples may include:

  • Organizing community events against violence and bullying
  • Advocating for a community center, summer jobs/internships, and educational supports
  • Supporting alternatives to detentions and suspensions, such as peace circles
  • Leading anti-violence workshops in their school, community center, or church
  • Hosting public meetings between police and students/residents to improve mutual trust and communication

Why join the Youth Leadership Council?
The YLC addresses issues directly, empowers youth to plan and execute their own initiatives, and supports them with the mentoring, leadership tools, and civic engagement skills. In addition, all Youth Leadership Council participants will experience the following direct benefits:

  • Meet like-minded students who have a VOICE in the community
  • Build leadership & problem-solving skills
  • Earn credit for community service hours
  • Build your resume and/or college application
  • Create programs in the community that YOUTH want to see

For more information, or to join the Youth Leadership Council, please contact ASE at 773-221-8908.

 

 

GRACE: Restorative Justice on the Southeast Side

Our communities are facing an epidemic of youth incarceration and recidivism. Too many of our young people are growing up in a climate of violence, without the economic opportunities, community mentors, and training they need to thrive and grow.

That’s why the Alliance of the Southeast (ASE) and affiliated community partners have launched GRACE (Groups Responding with Another Chance and Education) a comprehensive strategy for restorative justice in the South Chicago neighborhood of the 4th Police District.

It is with the participation of the community that we hope to transform their lives, guide them to community resources, and make them leaders in their community.

GRACE is a community-integrated  intervention approach to youth sentencing to reduce recidivism and curb youth violence. GRACE intervenes with juvenile offenders with restorative justice practices, mentoring, and counseling. Cook County Juvenile Probation and Diversion Departments and 4th District Police Department will refer juvenile offenders to community service hours with ASE partners, to re-integrate them into the community, form relationships with local residents, and connect them to resources. Although ASE will take referrals for youth living anywhere in the 4th District, the GRACE program will focus on juvenile offenders living or attending school between 82nd and 95th Streets, east of South Chicago Ave.

Jail and juvenile detention centers can be traumatizing places for youth offenders. Many enter the system and find it difficult to get out. Meanwhile, studies have shown that community service and counseling sentences have dramatic effects to reduce recidivism rates for young people, while providing them with the skills, connections, mentors, and support they need to reintegrate successfully into their neighborhoods.

Through ASE’s GRACE Program for Restorative Justice, youth offenders can now be sentenced to community service with the following partner organizations:

  • Alliance of the Southeast
  • Claretian Associates
  • 10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza’s Office
  • SkyArt

This approach will affect dozens of at risk juvenile offenders per year, and reduce overall the predominance of youth violence in South Chicago.

For more information, please contact Amalia NietoGomez at 773-221-8908 or 773-800-0322.

Safe Zone

The Alliance of the SouthEast and partners are establishing a safe zone, or neutral zone, on 91st St between Houston and Burley, and on Burley between 89th and 92nd Streets.

The goal is to provide a safe place for children to attend school and for families to use the services on 91st Street, including the library, the YMCA, Metropolitan Family Services, and attend church. The safe zone, or neutral zone, is a zone that is free from violence from 9am-9pm.

There are nine community partners that have agreed to be Safe Havens, places where people can go if they feel threatened. The organization is committed to providing reasonable assistance to persons in distress (which may include calling police or emergency services). Safe Havens are designated with a sign in the window designating them as a safe haven, and has a picture of a street light (shown below).

Safe Haven signsafe passage sign

Ways that you can get involved:

  • Place a Safe Haven (businesses) or a Safe Passage (residents) flier in your window and call police if a child takes shelter or requests assistance.
  • Report any violence to the police. If possible, please give your information. You can make a report ANONYMOUSLY by:
    1. Calling 911 (You can request to be anonymous)
    2. Texting the word “CPD” followed by a video or your description of the crime and person committing the crime to CRIMES (274637), OR
    3. Reporting a crime online to: Community Policing E-tip:
      1. Drug activity
      2. Gang-related activity
      3. Other major crimes
  • Create a phone list/email list with your neighbors to receive neighborhood alerts and to let neighbors know about recent activity.
  • Attend meetings regarding neighborhood safety.

Community Cookout
ASE held our first Community Cookout in July 2013, celebrating the creation of a safe zone along 91st Street and along Burley St. Over 300 people attended the event, including neighborhood residents and their families and local organizations. We had games for both kids and adults, a fire engine tour for kids, and served hamburgers and hot dogs. It was one of the few times neighbors have sat on their porches.

Kids in line for sack races

Kids waiting in line to get faces painted at the community cookout, celebrating the safe zone.

Sack races

Sack races at the community cookout.