The Violence Prevention Program, funded by the Cook County Government Justice Advisory Council, seeks to mitigate the risk factors associated with an increased likelihood of engaging in violent or delinquent behaviors of youth between the ages of 9 to 17 who reside in communities experiencing high levels of violence. Specifically, the program incorporates an evidenced-based curriculum, “Creating Lasting Family Connections” (CLFC), that paired with a sports programming component increases youth engagement and reinforces social-cognitive skills presented in the curriculum. This dual, parent-child intervention serves as a shield against environmental risk factors by teaching appropriate skills for personal growth, family enhancement, and interpersonal communication, including refusal skills for both parents and youth.
6Additional program activities include community-based psycho-education workshops for parents, residents, and organizations serving youth which focus on the signs of emotional and behavioral distress thus encouraging early referral to treatment. Staff also utilizes PWC’s Mobile Wellness on Wheels Van to deliver crisis intervention services following a violent event in the community. This facilitates access to both mental health professionals and wellness interventions restoring positive perceptions of community support. Lastly, evidence-based Mental Health First Aid trainings are offered throughout the grant cycle. These trainings increase a community’s knowledge of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with mental illnesses and addictions.