Mayor Emanuel Increases Investment in Mentoring

Investing in Violence Prevention by Significantly Expanding Mentoring Programs

To ensure that at risk youth in high crime neighborhoods receive the support they need to graduate from high school and stay off of the streets, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is launching a three-year initiative to expand high quality mentoring programs.  The Emanuel Administration will achieve this expansion by investing $36 million over three years in these programs– half provided by the City of Chicago and the other half from the private and philanthropic sectors.  Through this initiative, the City will provide roughly 7,200 8th, 9th, and 10th grade young men in Chicago Public Schools in high crime neighborhoods with a mentor through high quality programs like Becoming a Man (BAM).  The Mayor will also expand the successful Working on Womanhood (WOW) program by 30% by 2018. 

Young men that have dropped out of school and are unemployed are far more likely to be the victims and perpetrators of violent crime.  Academic research has shown that early efforts at prevention for at risk youth through mentoring and social emotional learning during the high school transition years pay off, keeping students engaged in school and out of the criminal justice system.  One of the most successful mentoring programs is BAM, which has been proven through a University of Chicago Crime Lab study to reduce overall arrests by a third and violent crime arrests by half amongst participants.  This past academic year, BAM served 2,700 youth but the need remains great.  According to the University of Chicago Crime Lab, there are roughly 7,200 8th – 10th grade males enrolled in 160 CPS neighborhood schools in roughly 20 high crime community areas that are at heightened risk of dropping out.

Mayor Emanuel is launching a bold and aggressive effort to invest $36 million in public and private funds over three years to expand mentoring programs like BAM to serve each of these at risk boys while also increasing the number of girls served.  Through this initiative, the City will be searching for new evidence-based programs as well as investing in expanding existing programs, like Becoming a Man (BAM), which has been proven to reduce violent crimes among its participants by nearly 50 percent compared to their peers not enrolled in the program.  The Administration will work with the University of Chicago Crime Lab to incubate and support high quality mentoring programs beyond BAM.  Additionally, the City will expand WOW by 30% to serve 1,300 young women by 2018.  Using a trauma-informed approach, WOW targets young women with significant risk factors for dropout or delinquency such as: teenage pregnancy, trauma, drug or alcohol abuse, self-harm, gang involvement, fighting, academic failure and discipline referrals.

The selected communities for mentoring expansion, informed by University of Chicago Crime Lab research, have the highest per capita homicide rates in Chicago and are also the areas with the highest violent crime rate. 


Posted by Paul Guagliardo on June 21, 2017
I would like to explore initiating a technology curriculum to help young students learn about technology in pursuit of a certification.
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