Chicago Youth Advocate Programs, (YAP) Inc. is gaining national exposure as a key to solving crime in Chicago. Known in Chicago for its success as a community-based alternative to youth incarceration or other away-from-home residential confinement, YAP’s emerging crime prevention work is in the national spotlight.
The effectiveness of YAP’s model is its simplicity. In 100 communities across 23 states, YAP neighborhood Advocates partner with youth and families, providing them toolkits to identify and employ their strengths to achieve personal success, support family members and give back to others.
In 2015, Chicago’s Choose to Change (C2C) program engaged YAP Advocates in a five-month evidence-informed violence reduction pilot program. Working with the University of Chicago Crime Lab, C2C identified youth who’ve been involved with the juvenile justice system and/or who have been exposed to trauma. The youth pair up with YAP for its special brand of intensive, holistic mentorship advocacy and receive trauma-informed group therapy provided by Children’s Home and Aid. Chicago YAP, which supports and empowers hundreds of youth and families each year, is in the third phase of its C2C work, which Crime Lab results show has already led to a decrease in youth arrests in Chicago.
In addition to serving young people and their families through its evidence-informed proven anti-youth incarceration model, Chicago YAP provides its services as part of several Chicago programs. YAP partners with Get in Chicago, Chicago Beyond, the City of Chicago, the Chicago Department of Children and Family Services — as well as C2C.
In this video, Chicago YAP Advocate Marlon Rucker and three youths he works with talk about how the program keeps young people motivated to stay on the right track.