November 20, 2018
The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago has received a $100,000 grant from Boeing to support Urban Warriors, a trauma-informed, violence prevention and intervention program that serves youth from 10 under-resourced communities. Youth mentoring is provided by post-9/11 military veterans, who receive training and ongoing support from YMCA staff.
The Boeing grant, which is part of its Global Engagement Fund, will support program operations and concurrent strengths-based case management services that address each participant’s needs and interests beyond the 16-week structured sessions. This latest grant brings Boeing’s total support of Urban Warriors to $300,000 over three years.
“The YMCA is extremely grateful for Boeing’s ongoing commitment to Urban Warriors, which has sparked a fire within each of our participants to reach for the stars," says Jadhira Sanchez, Director of Urban Warriors, YMCA of Metro Chicago. “This generous grant will support the delivery of our mission and our staff’s small contributions to helping youth and military veterans process traumatic experiences, which in turn helps them establish healthy relationships, develop as individuals, and realize their full potential.”
Last year, Urban Warriors served 102 youth and 26 veterans. The Y expects to serve 120 youth in eight cohorts in 2019, including two in its newest communities Woodlawn and South Shore. Urban Warriors is part of the YMCA’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) initiative, which serves youth at high risk for mental health and behavioral problems, including involvement in violence as both victims and perpetrators. YSVP serves more than 325 youth every year.
According to a study conducted by the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, youth in the 2016-17 Urban Warriors cohorts experienced high rates of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression that far exceed national averages:
92% reported exposure to at least one traumatic event, such as a shooting
39% reported clinically significant levels of anxiety
36% reported clinically significant levels of depression
19% reported clinically significant levels of PTSD
Thanks to a new partnership with Rush University Medical Center, YSVP recently broadened services for youth and families, staff, and volunteer military veterans to include mental health evaluations and professional counseling.