When we meet up, Latrice is hard at work, filling out a job application.  As a student at North Lawndale College Prep, she has a full senior schedule with Advanced Composition, English, Environmental Science, and Trigonometry.  She is also working on her senior project – a research paper on police brutality – and filling out college applications.  So far this week, she has finished applications for 13 colleges and universities.

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A few months ago, Latrice’s days were quite different.  Involvement in a fight led to an arrest.  At her hearing, she was ordered to participate in court-mandated anger management classes as part of her probation.  She attended the classes, but did so reluctantly.

“I didn’t think I needed an anger class.  I kind of felt crazy there,” she admits.  “But the teacher told me to think of it as a place to get things off my chest.  She was more like a counselor.”

We know that different kids need different types of support, and sometimes, the best approach isn’t the most obvious one.  For Latrice, the anger management classes themselves didn’t help much – but she did benefit from talking to a trusted adult.

Luckily, participating in the class led Latrice to Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC) and the chance to continue talking it out.   Get IN Chicago funding supports the mentoring program at LCLC, where mentors provide wraparound services, intensive support, and case management to youth involved in the juvenile justice system. In addition to giving youth academic support and guidance, the LCLC legal team provides specific expertise to help youth navigate the world of probation, community service, and expungement.

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The team at LCLC celebrates vacating two cases and a clean record for Louis, a program participant.

Now, Latrice meets with her LCLC mentor Kim about once a week.  Kim works with Latrice to keep her on track for her goals, specifically with timelines for her senior year, college, and beyond.  She is also assisting Latrice with paperwork to expunge her record.  But ultimately, Latrice thinks the biggest benefit of their meetings is simply the chance to talk.

“Meeting with Kim helps me relieve some of my stress,” says Latrice.  “With my friends, we mostly talk about parties.  I have one friend who is kind of on the same track as me, but most of them aren’t.  But I can talk to Kim about working on my personal goals.”

Through their time together, Kim has noticed a change in Latrice.

One of Latrice’s most pivotal experiences was participating in the LCLC Court Advocacy Apprenticeship program last summer.  The Mock Trial program gave her a chance to learn more about the law and sparked the idea for her senior project on police brutality.

“I think we can create a system to find better ways for the police to deal with issues,” she says.  “We can change how we socialize and educate our police.”

Right now, Latrice has her sights set on college.  She hopes to be the first in her family to attend.  Her three older sisters all dropped out of high school when they became pregnant, and Latrice is determined to set a different course.

Hear Latrice’s plans for herself over the next five years:

Undoubtedly, Latrice is on track to make it all happen.  So on behalf of Get IN Chicago, we congratulate Latrice on all of her successes so far and wish her the absolute best!