Chico Tillmon, YSVP’s New Executive Director—After 16 years in prison, Chico is a few months away from his PhD. Here's his story, and his plan for the future of our Youth Safety and Violence Prevention programs. Read more about Chico Tillmon.
The Y’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention program (YSVP) is a comprehensive, trauma-informed approach to violence prevention that looks at past exposure to trauma as a main driver of future dangerous behaviors. Everything we do is designed to help our region’s most vulnerable youth become leaders in their own communities.
The Y works every day to transform lives and communities. Amid the ongoing crisis of violence in Chicago, the Y provides leadership and initiatives that help make our neighborhoods safer. Based on growing bodies of research, we know that chronic exposure to traumatic stress places thousands of Chicago-area youth at risk of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sleep disturbance, and somatization. Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to the use of maladaptive coping mechanisms and behaviors such as drug use, academic failure, self-harm, bullying, gang involvement, incarceration, and premature death.
The Y’s approach to violence prevention is designed to reduce this cycle of harm, mobilizing what Dr. Bruce Perry - psychiatrist and Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, TX - has termed the "fundamental power of rhythm and relationships". We move towards this vision by working to reduce adverse childhood experiences, building community protective factors, and strengthening human resiliency. The Y’s commitment to violence prevention represents an evolution of our decades-long work with those youth at the highest risk of both violent victimization and the perpetration of violent acts.
YSVP operates five ongoing programs, and one special initiative, each of which is described below. All of these efforts are designed to build out our "Circle of Care".
It is only through the support from our foundation, corporate partners, and private donations that we are able to do this important work. Please support our cause!
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