Release Date: Dec 7, 16, 12:00am

On Saturday, December 10, 2016 SSA's Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention (CCYVP) hosted the YMCA of Metro Chicago who held a recognition ceremony for graduates of its Urban Warriors youth mentoring program. These youth are being recognized for completing a 16-week structured curriculum in partnership with military veterans who have served as their mentors throughout the process.

The recognition ceremony will take place at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) from 11 am–12:30 pm.

Urban Warriors was launched in 2014 as a program of the YMCA's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) initiative. The program has captured national attention for its pairing of post-9/11 military veterans with youth exposed to high levels of trauma. This cohort is the first to include young women and female veterans.

Xavier McElrath-Bey, senior advisor and national advocate of the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth, will be the keynote speaker. McElrath-Bey, who grew up in Back of the Yards and was incarcerated as a young adolescent for a gang-related murder, has gained renown advocating for youth around incarceration issues since his release in 2002.

Speakers will also include Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL); YSVP Executive Director Eddie Bocanegra, AM '15; SSA's Deborah Gorman-Smith, the Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor & Deputy Dean for Research & Faculty Development and the Director of the CCYVP, who is leading a multi-year study funded by the MacArthur Foundation to study the program's effectiveness; as well as an Urban Warriors veteran mentor and youth. An outstanding veteran mentor will be recognized with the Larry Melvin Alumni Award.

Contact: Aileen Tormon
December 7, 2016
312.440.2413
atormon@ymcachicago.org

Urban Warriors is generously supported by Allstate Insurance Company, the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, the Boeing Company, BMO Harris Bank, Chicago Bulls Charities, the Leo S. Guthman Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Nurmi Family Foundation, Michael Reese Health Trust, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.