July 11, 2014
|Military veterans and teens from Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood put their hands together in a huddle June 14 at Wolf Road Woods in Willow Springs. The outing was part of the Urban Warriors mentoring program the YMCA of Metro Chicago launched to help teens affected by neighborhood violence. Eddie Bocanegra, one of the executive directors of the YMCA initiative, is at far left. Photo courtesy of John J. Kim, Tribune Photos.|
By Annie Sweeney, Tribune reporter
YMCA Youth Safety and Violence Prevention's Urban Warriors program is aimed at helping at-risk youths deal with trauma from violent neighborhoods
"For 12 weeks at a time, the YMCA of Metro Chicago is pairing kids from one of the Chicago neighborhoods on edge with people who know well the struggle of surviving a dangerous place: military veterans who fought in the nation's two most recent wars. Youths from Little Village, including Sammy and Alex, were part of the pilot Urban Warriors run by the YMCA and the Adler School of Professional Psychology. The program is part of a broader effort by the Y to focus on treating mental and emotional wounds that youths growing up in Chicago's more fractured communities suffer."
Learn more about the YMCA's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention Program