Chicago often makes national news for homicide numbers in the city. But the rhetoric around Chicago and crime can quickly turn real victims into faceless statistics. And while that violence takes its toll on residents, youth are particularly affected, left to cope with the trauma without guidance.
The YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative have found that these youth share similar experiences to veterans. Through these findings they developed a program called Urban Warriors. The 16-week program pairs veterans with Chicago’s youth who need socio-emotional support to cope with the trauma of being exposed to violence.
Morning Shift sits down with Chico Tillmon, executive director of Youth Safety and Violence Prevention at the YMCA, veteran mentor Karen Hernandez, and Taina Ocasio, a teen participant in the program.