WHAT WE DO
We engage young people most impacted by violence with a restorative justice approach of healing, economic empowerment, and civic engagement that supports ongoing successful advocacy led by young people.
Introducing The Woodlawn Restorative Justice Program
Situated in the heart of Chicago, the Woodlawn area has been grappling with a tragic surge in homicides, particularly among youth aged 24 and under. Much of this violence stems from gang-related conflicts, affecting not only Woodlawn but its neighboring communities as well. In response to this grim reality, the Youth Leadership Program (YLP) has evolved into an organization committed to instilling restorative justice practices within Woodlawn and its surrounding communities. The Woodlawn Restorative Justice Hub was born with a mission to engage those most affected by violence through a comprehensive approach that includes restorative justice, economic empowerment, and civic engagement. Our aim is to create a peaceful community where young people and families collaborate to foster peace.
Our restorative justice program repairs harm to the victim while decreasing the offender’s likelihood of repeated crime. We are successful in promoting justice and reparation completion rates.
Youth participants engage regularly in community organizing activities -- including outreach, public speaking, and participatory research -- around juvenile and criminal-justice reform, healthcare, and community-development issues.
Peace circles allow participants space to develop social-emotional and leadership skills and build community. Youth are empowered to engage in the grieving process, resolve conflict, and support one another. Youth take roles in planning and leading peace circles.
The Multigenerational culture of WRJHUB allows youth participants to address cultural trauma, community violence, systemic and institutional violence, and bullying through healthy stress-response patterns and art-therapy sessions.
A cultural learning program that provides youth with field trips and other enriching cultural experiences, reinforces the idea that we are all interconnected.
Equipping youth with job readiness skills, mock interviews, virtual learning, soft skills training, resume building, and job placement assistance.
"I learned a lot of stuff that I did not fully know about myself before [this program]... like how to own up to my problems and feelings and talk to someone about them."
- Deon, participant
We serve youth residing in the neighborhoods of Woodlawn, South Shore, Hyde Park, Washington Park, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, and Auburn Gresham.
Youth participants' background often reflect some or multiple environmental impacts and social determinants that push young people into gang involvement, such as early childhood trauma, poverty, traumatized communities, addiction, structural racism, abuse, and violence in community.