Chicago schools look to community groups to help with violent teens

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After being criticized for choosing an out-of-state group to provide mentors for students who are most at-risk of being involved in violence, the district is officially reaching out to local organizations.

After being criticized for choosing an out-of-state group to provide
mentors for students who are most at-risk of being involved in
violence, the district is officially reaching out to local
organizations.

Thursday Ron Huberman made good on a promise he made last month to
include community organizations. The district posted a request for
proposals for student mentorship and advocacy services.

About $5 million will be made available to groups to provide services
to 3,000 students. Already $5 million was awarded to Philadelphia-based
Youth Advocacy Program to work with the 250 most at-risk students.

The community groups will be selected through a process carried out by
a blue ribbon panel. The panel, also announced Thursday, includes two
mothers who lost sons to gun violence; former Chicago Police
Superintendent Terry Hillard; and three clergy.

The proposals are due next month.

Below is the list of the blue ribbon panel members:

  •  Miguel Del Valle, Chicago City Clerk and the first Latino to serve
    as assistant majority leader in the Illinois Senate. Clerk Del Valle
    received a B.A. and M.A. in education and guidance from Northeastern
    Illinois University.
  • Terry Hillard, former Chicago Police Superintendent.
  • Rev. Ruben Cruz, pastor of the Spanish Christian Church. The
    Spanish Christian Church is the delegate agency to the Karen Cruz
    Children’s Center.  The center offers after-school, and school vacation
    day care programs for children ages six through twelve. The primary
    goal of the program is to promote the full intellectual, social and
    emotional development of the children.
  •  Lula Ford, Commissioner for the Illinois Commerce Commission; a
    career educator who was formerly an assistant superintendent and chief
    instruction officer with Chicago Public Schools.
  • Rita Fry, attorney and former chief of the Cook County Public Defender’s office.
  •  Annette Holt, Chicago firefighter and president of the
    African-American Firefighters Association. After losing her son to gun
    violence, Ms. Holt has been on the forefront of the campaign against
    violence as the President of the Purpose over Pain Organization and
    through her work with various other initiatives to combat youth
    violence. 
  • Felipa Mena, Wells High School Local School Council parent representative who lost her son to gun violence.
  • Rev. John Buchanan, pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of
    Chicago.  Fourth Presbyterian Church operates Chicago Lights, a
    nonprofit community outreach organization that fosters literacy and
    education, helps to alleviate hunger and homelessness, and advances
    health and wellness through various programs.
  • Mike Ivers, president of GoodCity, which focuses on building skills and capacity of community leaders and organizations.
  •  Dr. Carl Bell, President and CEO of the Community Mental Health
    Council, psychiatrist and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Public
    Health at the University of Illinois School of Medicine. Dr. Bell is an
    expert/lecturer on violence prevention and traumatic stress caused by
    violence.
  • James Montgomery, attorney, partner in the law firm of Cochran,
    Cherry Givens, Smith and Montgomery. He is a former City of Chicago
    Corporation Counsel (1983-1986).
  • Pastor Darrell Griffin, pastor of Oakdale Covenant Church. The
    Oakdale Covenant Church established the Oakdale Community Development
    Corporation to impact the needs of the Brainerd/Washington Heights
    community