Cook County Justice Advisory Council funded Gun Violence Prevention Program

The Justice Advisory Council of Cook County granted Children's Research Triangle a three-year grant for Youth Moving in New Directions (Youth MIND), a Trauma-Informed Schools Gun Violence Prevention Program. The program aims to reduce the risk of violence among students at 10 schools on Chicago’s South and West sides and near suburban communities. All of the Chicago schools served by Youth MIND are in the 15 community areas identified by the Chicago mayor’s office as being at higher risk of violence than the rest of the city, experiencing more than 50% of the serious victimizations in Chicago while making up only 30% of the total population. Youth MIND, is a school-based gun and other violence prevention and intervention program, using a trauma-informed schools framework and evidenced-based treatments to address the impact of childhood exposure to violence and trauma. Youth MIND serves students, their families, school personnel and other service providers working within each school. Youth MIND uses a 3-tiered approach to co-locate services within our 10 partner schools to create system-wide changes in their approach to prevention and intervention in youth violence, including gun violence. This program establishes school-based Behavioral Health Teams, conducts Trauma Informed Organizational Assessments, and develops universal screening and prevention and crisis management initiatives including the implementation of group, individual and family evidence-based therapy. Youth MIND also provides trauma and mental health–related trainings and intensive consultation for school personnel to increase knowledge and skills necessary for reducing violence among students, while decreasing secondary traumatic stress and burnout.

Youth MIND Schools:

 Chicago West Side/Near Suburbs

Al Raby High School (East Garfield Park)

Collins Academy High School (North Lawndale)

John Hay Community Academy (Austin)

 Chicago South Side/Near Suburbs

Englewood STEM High School (Englewood)

Fort Dearborn Elementary School (Auburn Gresham)

Johnson College Prep High School (Englewood)

The Montessori School of Englewood (Englewood)

Wendell Smith Elementary School (Roseland-Pullman)

Lincoln Elementary School (Dolton)

Roosevelt Elementary School (Dolton)

Project Team:

Project Director, Tracey Bell-Hodgman, LCSW

Project Coordinator, Venezah St. Louis, LCSW

Clinical Supervisor, Stefanie Ward, LMFT

Therapists: Gauri Goswami, LCSW

Training Coordinator: Samantha Orbach, PsyD

Trainer: Victoria Albarracin, MA

Lead Evaluator, Cassandra Boyd, MSW