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.
YOUNG LEADERS FOR PEACE
Young Leaders for Peace is a holistic restorative justice program centering around a series of six weekly peace circles. These circles facilitate contact between youth from opposing factions and build opportunities for inter-group restoration. Trained, local staff are attentive to how the restorative justice model brings up and addresses trauma for youth, and are mindful of supporting youth as they imagine ways to spread restorative justice across their communities. The program focuses on six methods of intervention, which are explained below:
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.
Participants have the opportunity to express themselves creatively through music and video production, music industry fundamentals, creation of an artistic product, and art-therapy sessions.
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.
Mentorship with community members offers youth an opportunity to develop a sense of personal accountability and empowerment.
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.
Collaborating with a case manager, participants set goals for education and employment and develop a support plan to achieve them. If goals and needs extend beyond what WRJH can provide, the case manager can also refer them to outside services.
"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.