Monday, April 28, 2008

The Costs of Growing up in a Violent Environment

On the frontpage of the Chicago Tribune today, there was a photo of a young African-American boy standing in front of the Cabrini-Green rowhouses. The boy is DeJour Stewart, and he is the younger brother of one of out students here at Cabrini Connections. The article is about the mental health challenges young people face when they grow up in neighborhoods where violent crime is prevalent. The article is very good, but I especially recommend watching the video to see the young people talking first hand about how hard it is growing up in neighborhoods such as Cabrini Green and constantly being scared.

Obviously, parents in these neighborhoods are doing all they can to make sure their children live as normal of lives as possible. Another article, in the New York Times talks about how groups of parents in Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods have set up systems of escorting their children to school. This is a wonderful example of parents taking control of the violence endangering their children's lives. Another is in the Chicago Tribune article, where DeJour Stewart's mom, Norrine Rhodes, talks about the importance of keeping kids off the street but at the same time keeping them active. She mentions how she has enrolled her sons in tutoring and mentoring programs so that they will not only succeed in school, but that they also will have a safe place to go after school.

This also brings up a wonderful point. If people see stories such as DeJour's in the news, then they will want to do something about the violence that we are seeing as of recent. One of the most effective ways of combatting the violence is to give money to tutoring and mentoring programs throughout the city so that there will be places for even more children to go to. We just had a fundraiser ourselves this past Friday at Schuba's Bar. We raised over $4000 and had a lot of fun doing it. Thanks to everybody who came to our Spring into Action event.

Also, if you want to find out more and get involved in helping kids stay alive and succeed, you can always attend out Tutor/Mentor Conference, which will be Thursday May 29th and Friday May 30th at Northwestern Law School off of Lake Shore Dr. and Chicago Ave. You can also visit the website at

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