Community violence is an unfortunate reality for many of the children in Chicago, and these experiences can be detrimental for their mental and emotional development. Programming at the ARK provides constructive outlets for youth who have experienced trauma, empowering them to become leaders in the community.
B.R.A.V.E (BOLD RESISTANCE AGAINST VIOLENCE EVERYWHERE)
B.R.A.V.E. is a peer led violence prevention youth council designed to cultivate and develop young people into leaders and agents of social justice. The B.R.A.V.E. youth leaders are between the ages of 14-21. Youth in the program are exposed to a number of exclusive opportunities throughout the year including: community service projects, youth retreats, social gatherings, and professional development.
Life Skills discussions provide opportunities for social and emotional development. Under the guidance of trained, trustworthy staff, youth in the ARK’s program are provided with a safe space to discuss issues that are relevant to their own lives. In doing so, they learn techniques for anger management, violence prevention, leadership, and more.
RISE (Restoring Individuals through Supportive Environments)
RISE is mentoring program for high school boys who have had exposure to the juvenile justice system, and are considered at-risk of being exposed to violence or becoming a perpetrator of violence. The program is led by mentors who offer a space for candid discussion and emotional development, while connecting each mentee with the resources they need to overcome barriers in life.
St. SABINA PEACE LEAGUE
St. Sabina’s Peace League is a 12 week league with 8 teams that provides young men in the community a safe space to play competitive basketball in an environment that promotes peace. The games take place every Monday evening. The Peace League was created to offset violence and gang activity in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, with all of the teams being composed of former gang members from various rival gangs.
Strong Futures is a pilot initiative by the City of Chicago, Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) in partnership with St. Sabina, aimed at connecting justice-involved, disconnected and opportunity youth and young adults to services. This initial pilot has brought together various city departments and delegate agency partners, along with government entities in an effort to break down barriers for Strong Futures participants and place them on the path to success. Intensive mentoring and coaching is provided to the participant to ensure the program has a lasting impact on the young men who are enrolled.