The YMCA of Metro Chicago's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative provides an innovative, trauma-informed program called Urban Warriors that pairs post 9-11 war veterans with at-risk youth from some of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods. Watch the video to learn more.
The Y’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention program (YSVP) is a comprehensive, trauma- informed approach to violence prevention that looks at past exposure to trauma as a main driver of future dangerous behaviors. Everything we do is designed to help our region’s most vulnerable young people become leaders in their own communities.
The Y works every day to transform lives and communities. Amidst the ongoing problem of violence in Chicago, the Y provides leadership and initiatives that help make our neighborhoods safe. Based on growing bodies of research, we know that chronic exposure to traumatic stress places thousands of Chicago area youth at risk of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sleep disturbance and somatization. Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to engagement in maladaptive coping mechanisms and behaviors such as drug use, academic failure, self-harm, bullying, gang involvement, incarceration, and early death.
The Y’s approach to violence prevention is designed to reduce this cycle of harm, mobilizing what Dr. Bruce Perry has called the fundamental power of rhythm and relationships. We move towards this vision by working to reduce adverse childhood experiences, building community protective factors, and strengthening human resiliency. Importantly, the Y’s commitment to violence prevention represents an evolution of our decades-long work with those youth at the highest risk of both violent victimization and the perpetration of violent acts.
YSVP operates five ongoing programs and one special initiative, each of which is described below. All of these efforts are designed to build out our ‘Circle of Care’.
It is only through support from our foundation and corporate partners and private donations that we are able to do this important work. Please support our cause.
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