Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Four teenagers from the surrounding area helped write a grant to theNational Crime Prevention Council. Thanks to their unique and wellplanned idea, Chrysalis Community Center will sponsor a teen and familyfriendly weekend at the end of July."Violence Free is the Way to Be!",is the theme of this youth-driven service project.
Teen leaders and volunteer staff will host a Red Carpet Dance onFriday, July 27th, and an Open Mic/Talent Show on Saturday, July 28th. Both events are open to 7th-12th grade teens in the SouthSuburbs. Admittance is free; only a school ID is required for entry. On Sunday, July 29th, a Family Recreation Day will be open to all teensand their families, again with free admittance.
As the young people wrote to the Council, "You can have fun in ourcommunity without participating in violence." They are working withChrysalis to put on this weekend of events to get this message across. "Being a part of Boot Camp and Anger Management was what led us tochange our motivation and make better decisions for ourselves regardingfighting, disrespecting others, and our overall attitude. We hope[this weekend will help] better our community, change the youth’smotivation, and prevent violence."
The teenagers are a part of a local Boot Camp, and are also enrolledin Chrysalis’ Anger Management program. Our young people realize thatthey have both the opportunity and the responsibility to give back toand be a part of their communities, and as they will tell you, theyaren’t just the future, they’re the NOW!
For more information, or to find out how you or your organizationcan get involved and support this community event, please call RaeganBricks at 708-769-2236.
Park Forest resident Raegan Bricks has founded an organization to reach out to at-risk young people. Chrysalis Community Centeris a community education center dedicated to working with youth andtheir families to strengthen the South Suburban communities bycombating violence, decreasing juvenile delinquency and incarceration,and by offering opportunities for young people to develop into capableand involved community leaders.
Chrysalis Community Center is already actively working to help youth. At a recent organizational meeting for Chrysalis, Bricks commented onpart of the organization’s focus, helping girls who need intervention. Bricks says, "The statistics in the last 5 to 7 years have beenastounding in the increase in incarceration" for young girls.
"To combat the violence and to work true to our mission, havingsomething like Women in Business sponsoring something for girls’groups, it allows them to see a completely different side of themselvesas young women."
Many girls, she says, are in a position of acting as a second parent inthe house taking care of siblings. "Then, when it comes to being a kidor dealing with some issues, they run into some problems like assault,battery, theft, domestic issues that come before the judge."
Currently, Bricks says Chrysalis is providing anger management classes to young people.
"Part of us achieving our mission and our vision for the south suburbsis creating wholistic programming and resources for young people andfamilies. We can’t do that just as Chrysalis." So, Bricks says,collaboration with schools and law enforcement, police departments,businesses and churches is important. "We can’t do this just as oneentity. But when we network together, we have this entire web ofpeople that can catch young people while they come through the system,and be able to support them, so they don’t fall through the cracks."
Why do we do it?
VISION: All young people and families in the South Suburbs of Chicagolive in a safe and thriving community, free from violence and economicdisparity. Community stakeholders, from residents to law enforcement,business owners to faith-based organizations, connect and work togetherfor the good of all.
How do we do it?
FIRST: Our Community Advisory Council (CAC) focuses on networking,collaborating, and ensuring sustainability for the good of ourcollective community. The CAC brings law enforcement, the localmunicipal court and probation, community organizations and schools,parents and young people together to discuss and take action onimportant issues facing the South Suburbs.
SECOND: Our programming is centered on education and empowerment atall levels: from youth and young adult participants, to their families,to the staff and volunteers who facilitate the programs. We all havemuch to learn from one another, and we all have talents to share.
Youth Can!- Offers activities and opportunities to young people ages 8-24. We support youth-led projects and clubs like our Teens on Point (youth-led club, 12-14 year olds). Youth Can! also provides Youth Leadership Development opportunities: we are the sponsoring agency for a local Youth Advisory Board member of the Illinois Violence Prevention Center. We also guide and support youth participants in Living Justice to become leaders in Youth Can! This programming includes Peer Mediation and Prevention Projects, and develops youth to become leaders, teachers and mentors in Violence Prevention work.
Living Justice- Living Justice offers court diversion programming and alternatives to young people referred by the courts, probation, law enforcement, schools and community agencies. Living Justice programming utilizes standards of Positive Youth Development, and is based on the Principles of Balanced and Restorative Justice: bringing together the victim, offender and community; and, focusing on competency development, accountability, and community safety. We practice Living Justice through providing Restorative Justice trainings and programming to the community through victim services and inclusion; training of volunteer facilitators for court alternative programming; making conferencing/mediation services available to the community; providing anger management and skills development workshops and classes; offering violence prevention workshops to schools and community organizations; and employing young people who successfully complete the Center’s programming to give back and teach back to other young people.
For more information about our program offerings, or if you would likeus to work with your organization or school in the area of youthleadership and violence prevention, contact us at [email protected] or call Raegan Bricks at 708-769-2236.