YMCA’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention to Serve Two Additional Chicago Communities

October 04, 2018

Chicago, IL- The YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative (YSVP) will broaden its services for youth and families, staff, and volunteer military veterans to include mental health evaluations and professional counseling, which will be provided by Rush University Medical Center. YSVP will also expand its reach from eight to 10 Chicago communities. This expansion is supported by a $1 million grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) with funds from the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Community Violence Program.

YSVP, which follows a comprehensive and trauma-informed mentoring approach to violence prevention, currently serves Austin, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Lower West Side, South Chicago, South Lawndale, and West Garfield Park. Thanks to the ICJIA award, YSVP will serve the Woodlawn and South Shore communities in 2018. The new clinical services will be provided on-site at three YSVP locations, removing many of the barriers to service access.

“This work is in line with Rush’s commitment to improve the overall health and well-being of communities on the west side. Through our engagement with the community, we know that mental health is a top priority. Our work with the YMCA will help address this critical need,” said Darlene Hightower, Associate Vice President, Office of Community Engagement and Practice, Rush University Medical Center.

“YSVP is thrilled to work with ICJIA to expand our reach, quell violence, and promote healing through trauma-informed care. With support from ICJIA, we will continue to provide place-based services to youth and families impacted by violent crimes. The award also makes it possible for us to provide much-needed clinical services to youth and their veteran mentors,” said Chico Tillmon, YSVP Executive Director.

Additionally, YSVP will be able to increase its outreach to current collaborators and community stakeholders to ensure that YSVP staff members are available when crisis intervention services are needed. VOCA funding will support case managers, who will provide education regarding available resources, offer transportation to and from appointments, refer clients to clinical services, and accompany and advocate for victims as they navigate systems. The additional team members will collaborate with outreach specialists to support, advocate for, and facilitate connections to outside services for clients who have complex areas of need.