To help engage the community in the Bridging the Divide program, YMCA members from the represented communities were asked to participate in a photo contest. They were asked to find images of beauty in their neighborhoods, as a means of finding common ground. The posters above reflect some of the winning photos and compelling prompts that help frame the Brdiging the Divide mission.
The YMCA of Metro Chicago's Bridging the Divide program was developed to help build understanding between youth, law enforcement officials, and other community members. Throughout the project, the YMCA and community partners offered opportunities for dialogue through cafés, peace circles, and the exchange of photos and stories.
Bridging the Divide was developed by the Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) program at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, in partnership with the CAPS program of the Chicago Police Department. Other initial contributors include Judge Colleen Sheehan, Universidad Popular, Enlace Chicago, Firehouse Community Arts Center, Claretian Associates, South Chicago Arts Center and the North Lawndale Employment Network. This effort was supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, the Illinois Collaboration on Youth, and Allstate.
Over the course of the partnership, the YMCA and the Chicago Police Department developed a toolkit to help improve youth and police relationships. The toolkit included:
As part of the program, audio diaries were captured to share compelling stories and reflections by youth and law enforcement officers who participated in the program. Below are excerpts.
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