Neighborhood Recovery Initiative

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The Illinois Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) is a collaboration of public and private agencies which provides pro-social opportunities to youth and parents in underserved communities in the western and southern suburbs of Chicago. This is made possible through funding from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. 


NRI program components work to empower youth with job training, strengthen social skills, and increase parent leadership within communities. Comprised of youth empowerment, parenting, and re-entry programs, NRI will:

  • Reduce risk factors and promote protective factors associated with violence through the provision of traditional employment for community youth, adults, and professionals
  • Provide community-based services for youth and young adults including mentoring and social, emotional, and job skill development
  • Build parent leadership within neighborhoods to create a foundation for stronger, healthier families and communities
  • Provide crucial services for youth and young adults ages 16-24 returning to the community from correctional facilities to encourage them to make positive life choices

UCAN is the lead agency overseeing the delivery of these programs in the East Garfield Park area.

Youth Employment Program

The Youth Employment Program will prepare 1,800 Chicago-area youth between the ages of 16 to 24 to be employed by a local businesses and organizations in 24 Chicago and South Suburban neighborhoods for nine weeks in the summer of 2013. To accomplish this, comprehensive workforce development training will be rolled out. In addition, youth will be provided with group and one-on-one mentoring as well as opportunities to participate in community outreach programs. 

Traditional employment and evidence-based mentorship will create the foundation for youth as they set out to gain valuable work experience. All wages will be subsidized by the NRI state grant program, and delivery of services will be provided by the New Baptist Ministers Fellowship and New Life-New Solutions.

Parent Program

The Parent Program will employ and charge 110 parent leaders within the 23 NRI communities to both reduce the risk factors that contribute to violence and negativity as well as promote factors which contribute to family and community stability, well-being, and peace. The 19-week program is a collaboration of citizens, businesses, government, schools, and non-profit organizations that will support parents in raising healthy, positive, and productive children. 


Delivery of services will be provided by the People's Community Development Corporation and New Life-New Solutions. 



Re-Entry Program

The Re-entry Programs provide crucial services for youth and young adults, ages 16-24, returning to the community from youth and adult correctional facilities. Re-entry is designed to reduce recidivism by providing young people with educational and vocational opportunities as well as mental health services which encourage and support them in making positive life choices.

Delivery of services will be provided by the People's Community Development Corporation and Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

For more information, please contact Michael Wilson, UCAN Program Supervisor, at wilsonm@ucanchicago.org.

Note: This project was supported by Neighborhood Recovery Initiative funds awarded through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Points of view or opinions contained within this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

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