It’s Friday! How about some good news?
Our Strengthening Youth through a Network of Care (SYNC) partners are committed to providing supportive services to acutely high-risk youth in seven Chicago communities hardest hit by poverty and violence. SYNC components include establishing new pathways for services, creating centralized systems for intake and community-based case management, and strengthening service providers so they can deliver evidence-based mentoring and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) programs.
Here is a recent success story shared by one of our SYNC partners:
One Hope United
Grant Recipient – Core Programming: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, SYNC, SYNC Training
During our initial screening with a young man named Trey*, he informed us that his only interest was in becoming a drug dealer and gang banger. Those were his words.
Additionally, Trey presented as though he lacked any control or concern for his actions. We felt that he would be a great candidate for SPARCS. Unfortunately, on his first day, Trey was very disruptive, and before the session could even begin, he attacked a girl in the group.
Our staff knew that Trey’s previous exposure to community violence coupled with his current living environment was undoubtedly affecting his ability to regulate behaviors and emotions. The SPARCS therapist chose to use the incident as an opportunity to review how distress and anxiety manifests within us and comes out in unhealthy ways.
While the school staff recommended removing Trey from the SPARCS group, we chose to keep him enrolled but did move the young woman to another group for her safety. After all, the goal of our program is to reduce youth stress and give children concrete, useful tools to manage their distress: Trey was exactly the type of young person we hoped to reach.
As time went on, the young lady attacked by Trey was able to thrive in her new group. There, she often took a leadership role, actively participating and demonstrating exceptional understandings of SPARCS concepts. She spoke frequently about how she was able to successfully use the skills she was learning to prevent certain situations from escalating.
As for Trey, he started looking forward to the SPARCS sessions and soon became one of the most interactive participants. He took initiative in learning the Core Concepts and even led the group in activities relating to SOS/Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Let ‘M Go’s, and Make A Link. By the end of the program, he reported lower levels of stress and higher levels of control – the making of a success.
About One Hope United
One Hope United is a SYNC service provider partner with Get IN Chicago. In addition to receiving technical assistance support to certify therapists in SPARCS and strengthen program infrastructure, their team will provide community-based CBT services to acutely high-risk youth with their SYNC award. Last year, One Hope United received Get IN Chicago support to provide SPARCS to 100 young people in Englewood, West Englewood, and Roseland.