Woodlawn RJ Hub

In the last 5 years the Woodlawn area experienced 49 homicides, most of which were youth aged 24 and under. Much of this violence is gang related. Woodlawn is among the top ten communities with the highest number of admissions to the juvenile detention center and Cook County Jail.

The Woodlawn Restorative Justice (RJ) Hub Program leverages relationships with gang affiliated “high-risk” youth from conflicting gang territories to interrupt their violent behavior and engage them in long-term leadership development, violence prevention, and peace building. The Woodlawn RJ Hub is a partnership between Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors (WECAN), Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), Dust Em Clean Maintenance (a community based maintenance business), artists, and community outreach workers.

The Goals of the Woodlawn RJ Hub are to:
1) Reduce violence;
2) Develop community capacity to hold restorative justice peace circles;
3) Create a long-term mentorship support system for youth who are most at risk;
4) Develop youth civic leadership;
5) Create opportunities for artistic expression in a trauma informed context; and,
6) Connect disconnected young people to social services.

The program is structured to separately engage conflicting groups in the same curriculum. Over the course of the program we strategically foster a peace building dialogue across the groups. Each group includes street organization affiliated “high-risk” youth, participants receive stipends for program participation.
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