This past year, New Life Centers has had the privilege of serving youth at another Juvenile Detention Center located in St Charles, IL. This project is a collaborative of the Restorative Justice Hubs (www.rjhubs.org) with partners who are located in the neighborhoods with the highest rates of violence, and are committed to hyper-local programming, restorative justice practices, trauma-informed approaches, and principles of nonviolence.
This Juvenile Justice team calls themselves the ‘Hope Squad.’ They are trying to create safe spaces for young people to see their worth and value while they temporarily reside in a place that constantly reminds them of their shame and decisions/mistakes.
Some of the programming provided by the Hope Squad include:
- Freestyle Hip Hop Peace Circles provided by Circles and Ciphers, which culminates with an Open Mic performance
- Restorative Justice Peace Circles provided by Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
- Afro-Caribbean Drumming Classes provided by Segundo Revis Belvis Cultural Center, which concludes with a concert performance by students
- Art and Sports programming provided by Alliance of Local Services, which produced a mural created and painted by the youth in the Teen Center
- Equine Therapy provided by Adler University and An Arena for Change for youth with more trauma history and requiring additional mental health services
New Life Centers also sponsored the following special events:
- Summer Family Fun Fest, which included games, food, inflatable slip and slide, dunk tank and drumming circle. Many families attended and participated in the corn hole games, the water slide and more. The facility has never held an event like this on the facility grounds and with such success!
- An obstacle course event
- Fall Family Fun Fest with parent-teacher conferences. The 2nd Family Fun Fest included an inflatable obstacle course, life size Connect Four, Jumbo Jenga, food and more. Youth participated in a peace circle with teachers, families and staff.
- An Xbox NBA2k Tournament
New Life Centers is excited to continue working with local partners for Year 2 of the project, bringing hope and life to young people in desperate need.