Monday, November 16, 2015

Urban Warriors

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

This week’s cool ideas is Urban Warriors, a program of the YMCA of Metro Chicago and the Adler School of Professional Psychology, that pairs youth from Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods with military veterans.

(Check our archives for parts 1-68.)

The program was featured in a July 11, 2014 Chicago Tribune article. According to that piece, some of the program’s young participants were referred by their schools or the justice system.

The program is part of the Y’s broader “focus on treating mental and emotional wounds that youths growing up in Chicago’s more fractured communities suffer.”

The Tribune article shed light on the hard lives of Alex (who was 18 at the time of the article) and Sammy (who was 15).

“I’ve seen people get shot,” Alex told the Tribune reporter, Annie Sweeney. “It does...mess my head up. But I’m living it every day. So, like, I guess I put up with it.”

“Right when I walked outside they shot someone at the corner,” recalled Sammy, who the Tribune noted is not in a gang. “Then they started chasing me and shooting. ...I got away. Again. That was my second time.”

Luckily for the young men, the vets chosen for the Urban Warrior project could relate.

Many of them not only suffered stress from their experiences in combat, but, like Alex and Sammy, they also grew up in Little Village and knew the dangers youth faced on the streets.

Read the full Chicago Tribune article.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? You can also post them to our Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

No comments: