Mission in Action: Keeping Youth Safe

August 01, 2015

 

Growing up is hard for everyone, but when youth lack access to safe spaces to spend their free time or take refuge from the challenges in their lives, it can be even more difficult for them to build the self-confidence, knowledge and relationships they need to realize their fullest potential and grow into thriving members of the community."

A SAFE PLACE FOR YOUTH

Growing up is hard for everyone, but when youth lack access to safe spaces to spend their free time or take refuge from the challenges in their lives, it can be even more difficult for them to build the self-confidence, knowledge and relationships they need to realize their fullest potential and grow into thriving members of the community.

Youth from all walks of life need a safe environment that serves as a haven from daily pressures and empowers them to overcome barriers that can stand in the way of their healthy development.

At the Y, all children and teens can find a space where they can be themselves, build confidence, make friends, get academic support and form relationships with mentors.

Unsupervised youth are at a higher risk for juvenile crime, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, accidents, gang involvement and dropping out of school. By contrast, the Y helps youth manage the issues they face at home, in school and in their neighborhoods and focus their attention on building successful futures.

With a holistic approach that promotes healthy spirit, mind and body for all, YMCAs across the country provide safe spaces that support youth of every age, gender, faith, sexual orientation and cultural background so they feel more connected and secure.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention programs help vulnerable youth manage and reduce the traumatic effects of violence they’ve experienced in their communities. By focusing on “healing as prevention” and connecting them with resources, support and guidance to break a cycle of harm, the Y empowers youth to pursue their goals and develop as young leaders. One program, Urban Warriors, pairs high-risk youth with military veterans who can relate to the trauma they’ve experienced and serve as positive role models while helping the teens overcome barriers and realize their potential.

On Saturday, July 18, more than 100 YMCA of Metro Chicago youth, families, staff and supporters, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, gathered inside La Villita Community Church for the Urban Warriors Recognition Ceremony. Learn more about the event and Urban Warriors here.