Youth Safety and Violence Prevention–Story Squad

Listen to this video to learn more about Story Squad and how it helps youth process and deal with trauma.

EMPOWERING YOUTH TO SHARE THEIR STORY

Young people pay attention to their peers, neighbors and environment in ways adults sometimes overlook. Story Squad, an audio storytelling program of the YMCA of Metro Chicago's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) initiative, empowers youth to channel their experiences through personal audio stories that are shared within their community and throughout the world.

“The youth learn what kind of support they might need when difficult thoughts and feelings surface and how to extend that support to their peers,” says Grant Buhr, who developed and runs the program for the YMCA's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative.

YMCA of Metro Chicago Story Squad

ABOUT STORY SQUAD

Story Squad is a 16-week, curriculum-based program of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) program, which serves young people in neighborhoods with some of Chicago's highest rates of violence. The program focuses on developing self-reflection, critical thinking, self efficacy, and audio production and storytelling skills. Story Squad uses trauma informed group processes that draw on foundational principles in media literacy, restorative justice and cognitive behavioral therapy in order to promote positive youth development.

Through this process, youth can develop the social and emotional skills necessary to process their own experiences with violence and reexamine dominant narratives through the lens of context, place and policy, allowing them to place personal experiences within broader structural inequalities. 

PROGRAM DESIGN

The Story Squad pilot program provides 16 weeks of structured two-hour evening programming per community cohort. Each cohort is comprised of 8-11 and 12–19 year olds. Sessions are facilitated by YSVP staff and supported by YSVP interns.

LISTEN TO THEIR STORIES

Below are audio diaries from two 2015 Story Squad cohorts. Take a moment to hear the compelling stories of these brave and inspiring youth.

 

SUPPORT THE Y's YOUTH SAFETY AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION (YSVP) PROGRAM

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.

To learn more about how you can support YSVP contact ysvp-generalinfo@ymcachicago.org
Interested in telling the YSVP story? Contact ysvp-mediainquiries@ymcachicago.org

Interested in making a donation now? Click here to submit your donation.

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