Chicago Seed Community: Chicago, IL

New Life Centers of Chicagoland

About the Applicant

New Life Centers of Chicagoland was originally created in 2005 to address the needs of the neighbors surrounding New Life Community Church locations. As neighbors approached the church with pressing issues – youth violence, gang violence, teen pregnancy, justice system involvement, unemployment – New Life responded with tailored programming to fit the community. New Life Centers are neighborhood-based and connect youth and young adults with community through mentoring, education, and sports. New Life Centers’ mission is to provide mentoring and advocacy to guide youth toward a new life and a new direction out of the school-to-prison pipeline by providing alternatives to violence.

About the Project

New Life Centers’ Urban Life Skills program targets youth ages 12-to-24 in two demographics: gang-involved or justice-involved youth on probation and youth referred through local schools, community agencies, and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and Cook County Jail. Programming is targeted at reaching those who are at highest risk of violence or involvement with the justice system.

The program provides mentoring in individual, group, and team sports contexts and also provides street outreach, violence mediation, intervention services, and street-based counseling for community youth. In 2017, Urban Life Skills served 836 youth and provided mentoring for 200 youth, with an average of two sessions per month. More than 817 at-risk or gang-affiliated youth, ages 12-24, were engaged in peacemaking and community building through sports-based development. From 2016-2017 shootings decreased by 14 percent and homicides by 61 percent in Little Village.

Key Implementation Partners

  • Little Village Violence Prevention Collaborative
  • Little Village Youth Safety Network
  • Communities Partnering 4 Peace
  • Community Restorative Justice Hubs