June 28, 2016
On Saturday, June 25, the Y celebrated the strength and resilience of the young men who have completed the Urban Warriors 16-week curriculum during a recognition ceremony at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
Mickey Johnson, former Chicago Bulls basketball player, was the keynote speaker at the graduation. He inspired the audience with his story about growing up in the South Shore and playing basketball at the Y, where he also learned to swim.
Jamie DeLuna and Noah Bakr also shared two YSVP Story Squad presentations. With the goal of reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences, nurturing reiliency and building the protective factors that support strong children, youth, families and communities, 22 Urban Warrior youths from South Chicago and Little Village/Pilsen graduated from the program.
Two inaugural Larry Melvin Alumni awards were presented to an Urban Warriors veteran mentor and youth alumni. Angel Herrera was honored for his service and dedication to our country and youth. YMCA youth Danny Vigil was recognized for his resilience, perseverance and leadership as a program alumnus.
Urban Warriors is a program of the YMCA of Metro Chicago's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) Initiative that pairs post-9/11 military veterans with youth with high exposure to violence. This program is designed to process past traumas and support future dreams.
We're very proud of our youth and their accomplishments! Learn more about YSVP and the Urban Warriors program.
Click here to see more photos of the event.
Urban Warriors is generously supported by Allstate Insurance Company, the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, the Boeing Company, BMO Harris Bank, Chicago Bulls Charities, the Leo S. Guthman Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Nurmi Family Foundation, Michael Reese Health Trust, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.