Waukegan-North Chicago Cluster LAC Meeting, May 16, 2022


  • LAC helps shape path and vision for how funds are invested based on how we work live and reside in the community
  • In reference to what happened in North Chicago recently the LAC has found that some of the best strategies for
  • Direct Violence Prevention Funding:
    1. Violence Prevention
    2. Youth Development
    3. Street Outreach
    4. High Risk Youth Interventions
  • Social Determinants Investments
    1. Financial Stability and Mobility
    2. Addressing Substance Use
    3. Housing
    4. Reentry Supports
  • Top Choices for Activities
    1. Group Violence Intervention
    2. Collaboration between Community and Law Enforcement
    3. Address Access to Firearms
    4. Events/ Activities to Foster Community Cohesion

Running Notes

  • Greg Willis
    • Been tasked to help with our cluster and Chicago Heights Cluster
    • Here to answer some questions but we must upload information to website and drive the LAC meetings subject matter
    • Megan McKenna was the designated communications lead for this
  • Members- in attendance as 5:13
    • Megan Mckenna- CEO- Boys and Girls Club
    • George Moore - Executive Director of Legacy Reentry
    • Leon Rockingam - Mayor of North Chicago
    • Mark Pfister- Executive Director- Lake County Health Dept
    • Courntey Combs - Executive Director of LLCF- Manager of Community Impact
    • Bill Mckinney- Mayor of Zion
    • Matt Thornton- Zion PD/ Zion Business Owner
    • Angelina Alfaro- Director of Social Services- Curt's Cafe
    • Jennifer Yonan- Exec Director of Youth Conservation Cpre
    • Eric Barton - Zion PD - Chief of Police
    • Dylan Olthoff- State Rep Mayfield's Office -
    • Awisi Bustos - DHS- Part of the Reimagine Public Safety Office
    • Eric Rinehart- Lake County State's Attorney
    • Steven Spagnolo- Office of Lake County State's Attorney- Chief of Govt Affairs
    • Antmound Foundation
  • Mckenna- This work is very important,
    • Thinking about what happened in North Chicago particularly over the weekend, where another young individual lost their lives.
    • Why we need to work for and with our community
  • Main order of business go through Summer Questionnaire distributed during 05/12/22
    • Met Thursday 05/12/22 between all LAC's in the state
    • Had breakout session on clusters- housekeeping things about meeting times, but wanted to begin moving through the Summer funding recommendation guide and something we need to turn back into DHS by this Friday
    • LAC helps shape path and vision for how funds are invested based on how we work live and reside in the community
    • Unfortunately I didn't finish up the summer funding guide at the last meeting but that is what we will do today.


  • Which of these strategies are most needed to interrupt and prevent firearm violence in your community?
    • High Risk Youth intervention is crucial as well as Youth Development-Mayor McKinney
    • George Moore Agrees with High Risk Youth Intervention , Youth Development, Violence Prevention, and Street Outreach; Have to reach them if we will have an impact
    • Need more grassroots street level outreach- Courney Combs
      • We should have different ways to reach them;
      • A lot of the things which currently happen are at the street level and so a more grassroots approach is necessary to impact the at risk youth. 
      • Sometimes the children in our organizations aren't the same as the at risk youth we would like to help.
    • Mayor Rockingham agrees- incident in NC, he was 14, so all 4 that you spoke on definitely are important
    • Eric Rinehart- High Risk and Street Outreach is very important;
      • With respect to street outreach-How do we find the at risk youth? This is a critical facet of this issue;
      • Restorative Justice may be more of a longer term issue;
      • We have individuals in our justice system that we shouldnt isolate from these outreach services;
      • Have population of people who have already made contact with the justice system and should try not to exclude them;
      • Potentially Non traditional probation approaches
    • Mark Pfister-This lines up with my choices; What is the difference between Youth Development and High Risk Services, could they go together?
      • Street outreach- one concern is that hospital based violence interventions street outreach needs to be tied into getting the data as to where victims come from, and the kinds of injuries.
      • Need that data asap rather than 2-3 yrs as we typically get it
      • Need data in a more timely manner to have more effective funding decisions and impact
      • Good with Street outreach if we can tie that back into how Hospital systems get data on how individuals were victimized so we can respond effectively to the current problems
      • I think the longer term one is mental health and behavioral services as many of these issues are related back to this issue
    • Youth development- Megan McKenna
      • Broad amount of services open to youth to help them develop, mentally, physically, emotionally
      • High risk youth intervention is getting to and helping kids in crisis or approaching crisis
      • A lot of youth who utilize our services are at high risk but many of these people are approaching a crisis and understanding their story and how they have been pushed out of other systems for other reasons…. High intervention for kids who are being failed… kids who can't be supported in mainstream systems
    • Given that explanation, Mark Pfister believes that his four would then be Violence Prevention Youth Development Street Outreach and High Risk Youth Interventions
    • Jennifer Yonan and Angelina Alfaro concur that their top choices are in agreement with Mark Pfister
    • Ok so it seems that our 4 have emerged.
      • Violence Prevention
      • Youth Development
      • Street Outreach
      • High Risk Youth Interventions
    • Case management will be coordinating all of this so I think that would be an important one to factor in as well - Angelina
    • Rinehart- Violence prevention is quite large/broad, is there a distinction between this and the other 3 in a meaningful way?
    • Pfister- We need to establish what violence prevention model we should utilize but what model are we looking to utilize for overall violence prevention as a team- DATA driven evidence based model
    • Violence prevention is pretty broad unfortunately mckenna
    • Jennifer- Data driven policing model could be a way to prevent crime
    • Mckenna- Which existing organizations could actually help us implement this moving fwd. It would be hard to implement this work if we don't utilize existing entities.
    • Combs- DHS is giving us flexibility so that would allow us to pivot and change how we attempt to solve the problem if new challenges arise

Social Determinant Investments

  • Billy Mckinney- One of things we hear in our community is the biggest issue is financial stability and mobility- not having the means to do things; Ties back into food insecurity
  • Combs- Housing is a very important and many people have nowhere to go in lake county
  • Matt Thorton- They turn 18 and they have nowhere to go
  • Angelina and Jennifer agree that this has been an issue they have experienced as well
  • Mayor Rockingham- Addressing Substance Abuse is also an issue to be look into
  • Rinehart- Housing and Financial Stability is such a destabilizing issue; In order for us to focus the message short term and a summer focus I think housing stability, financial stability, and substance abuse will be the pertinent issues
  • Pfister- Financial stability and mobility, Subs Abuse, housing, and a education funding; As we should provide something that will create a Living wage
  • Courntey Combs- is financial stability about breaking down some of the cyclical issues which people are exposed to due to financial stability?
  • Mckenna- I think it relates back to the intrafamilial violence portion
  • Angelina - Id vote on Financial stability, family violence prevention, and addressing substance abuse, reentry supports
  • George Moore- Family violence prevention, Reentry support; Based on the individual who passed last night and his family structure; Financial supports and addressing substance abuse
  • McKinney - I agree complete George, Housing and family stability is tied to the instability they feel in these neighborhoods; To improve the safety of a city you have to improve the neighborhoods; Housing and addressing racism in many lights are one in the same
  • Antmound - Reentry supports, housing supports, Financial stability, and addressing racism and historical Disinvesting from historical disinvestment
  • McKenna - fiNANCIAL stability and mobility, housing, family violence prevention and reentry supports
  • Thorton - Go with financial stability, substance abuse, Housing, Reentry; So many kids come in and out of the system, and we should figure out how will we be able to help them after going in and out of the system so many times
  • Angelina- Something for restorative youth circles would be great; Have gotten quite a few calls from youth about the event that happened over the weekend as well
  • Final Choices appear to be
    • Financial Stability and Mobility
    • Addressing Substance Use
    • Housing
    • Reentry Supports


  • McKinney
    • Need to address the access to firearms and
    • TO many kids have access to firearm, events activities and collaboration with law enforcement , and group violence intervention? Violence seems to happen between people due to fb feuds and I think group violence prevention would really help
  • George
    • I agree completely with the mayor on this; I used to not know how to feel about working with the police but now i recognize it is important to work hand and hand with the police
    • As of right now I spoken to many gang members and at this time i now know about retaliation, the man's family life, and the players 
    • In this time we need to trust law enforcement and work hand and hand with them if we want the community to get better
  • Chief Barden
    • Second what he said to a T
    • Speak to a little bit as to how It was pretty unheard of to get a gun off someone in Zion
    • Last year alone Zion Police took almost 100 guns of the street
    • In one shift it was almost 70
    • Access to these guns is what spurs it and we have seen group on group violence in which social media leads to others committing crimes
    • Group Violence is what we have seen a ton of
    • Law enforcement has been trying to get out of their cars and bridge part of the trust with the communities learn about them, build trust and regain trust with communities who don't necessarily trust law enforcement Group violence prevention, access to firearms, and events and activities to get police out into the community and help build trust with the communities
  • Mayor rockingham
    • We talk about the 14 yo but just a week ago a gentleman on his lawnmower was riding around in his lawn and got killed
    • We have gotten to the point where pd has been telling people to be careful as gangs have been retaliating against each other
    • As we continue to work together we try to get our police to walk the streets see how things were going
    • Build trust in the community, disperse there cards to people- a direct number to certain people? Has been helpful for us to retrieve information and also build trust that the police are there to help
    • Ceasefire was one of the best programs lake county could have
    • Something would happen,, they would get out into the community try to understand the situation and minimize and stop retaliation
    • In my 17 years it did help as it would allow gang members to talk it out rather than continuing the way in which they have been shooting
  • Rinehart
    • Supports those 4
    • Appreciate what everyone before me has says
    • Chief Barton and i have spoken about it but an innocent bystander had been killed and I think those 4 can truly help
  • Pfister
    • I agree with violence prevention, working in partnership with law enforcement, events to build trust, and engage in partnerships with hospitals
    • How do we identify in a timely manner how we can implement data that we gather on
  • Choices
    • Group Violence Intervention
    • Collaboration between community and law enforcement
    • Address access to firearms
    • Events/ activities to foster community cohesion

Describe Strategies needed

  • Cardiff Model- CDC, ICIJIA - Pfister
    • Model says about 50% of violence never gets reported to law enforcement
  • Front Line Strategies- immediate family services- engage the young people, know there next move and try to help them - George
    • There are no gang leaders now a days, it is completely different from before
    • Engagement- Youth Ground level if you want to help during a crisis
    • Case Management
  • Having a place where kids could utilize rec centers would be great too and allow you to combine the aforementioned engagement- Courtney
  • Youth Drop in Center is very helpful as it helps people humanize each other and build the relationships necessary to stop retaliation- Thornton
    • Thornton- That is why it is very effective as it is a personal relationship with the individual at hand and they see you as an uncle in many lights so they are willing to open up and you can help them from there.
  • Utilizing information for the justice system to help people
    • Clients and getting them services
    • Criminal justice system has info on at risk individuals who could talk to not only parole officers, but also role models like George and Matt and they could be truly helped by that
  • Important for DHS to consider how they structure program evaluation and data collection for the the grants to ensure that the Data collection and program evaluations aren't too complex or overly quantitative that they create barriers for community based organization
    • Takes away from the face to face work to be done in the community
    • George Moore- I will emphasize this point as it is very complex to get these different data points and does create barriers to us being able to help
    • Certain kids you can't keep a record of - Thorton; For instance if there is a $50 dollar disagreement which may end up with someone dying; Then I will obviously pay the $ so someone doesn't die and they may or may not pay me back but the most important thing is that we stop the retaliation
      • Antmount- Many times these situations are fluid and we are focused on stopping the retaliation not simply gathering the data itself
  • Wraparound Center in DT Waukegan
    • It is supposed to just be for Waukegan, students and families
  • Modernizing Data Systems in the state so that it is easier to extract aggregate and use data for decision making policies, programs, etc

Qualitative Questions

  1. Who needs to be prioritized for violence prevention programming?
    1. At risk youth - McKinney
      1. Youth, youth development,
      2. Disenfranchised youth or Opportunity Youth
        • Youth disconnected from opportunities to work and school
    2. Impacted youth- Substance abuse, gang affiliated, mental health
      • Or family impacted as well- Combs
    3. Jennifer Yonan- were you thinking of an age category?
    4. A lot of children are also from immigrant communities who live in the constant fear of their family being interrupted - McKenna
    5. We could also work with DCFS to be better informed about what families specifically would need help- Rinehart
      1. More families might engage in waivers if it got them more support
      2. We must respect confidentiality, but we can also be more intentional in how we talk about waivers for families
      3. DCFS may have some very interesting info on identifying trends as well
  2. Where should violence prevention programming be focused (specific blocs, census tracks, neighborhoods)?
    1. High Activity Spots
    2. NC: 10th St, 14th St, Broadway, Hervey, MLK,
    3. WAUK: 10th Washington, Jackson, Genesee; Zion, 27TH Salem, Galilee,e
    4. Zion: 27th, Salem, Galilee, Diagonal Corridor (Lebanon, 25th & galilee, Hebron Apt on 21st)
    5. Heat Maps can be a great resources to utilize to see what are the areas of the most crime
      1. How do we best address this issue? Eric Barden we are working on a county wide system to transition and until then we are running spreadsheets and continuing i to work with that we will share everything we have to reduce
      2. A lot of the data we are working with is historic so it doesn't always help us address the current crimes at hand
    6. What we are seeing is a lot of transient crimes not just within NCC ZION and waukegan, but we are seeing crime stem from Wisconsin and we are making a tandem team to be able to help and deal with the crimes which originate outside our land
  3. What best practice interventions are you aware of that are meeting the needs of the community?
    1. Community engagement events, job fairs, expungements
      • Barbecues or anything where you are giving something away is always a great event
    2. Antmound has some great programs for people to turn around their life from the gang life as well
      • Legacy Reentry, Antmound, and MFB have done a great job getting into the community
        • How do we identify those who need these services
    3. Can we work with schools and identify youth who are at risk?
      1. Truancy, youth development, youth suspended multiple times?
      2. Want to be proactive in how we help the kids and make sure that when they are moving towards a suspension we should make sure that we help them before they end of track or burned out and don't want to continue
        1. Once you kick these kids out of school permanently with a expulsion they don't have the $ to pay for finishing school
        2. Also once they are ostracized and not allowed to graduate, we many times will have to deal with them again on not great terms
    4. Embed staff in the local hospitals ER to be on the frontlines and speak to individual victims to understand what happened to them.
      • Especially given that not all people report the violence, the ER may be able to help understand the violence at hand
    5. How can we create pipelines of support from higher education institutions? How can we expand and create pipelines of support from higher education institutions?
      1. We can really build and expand a network for students with pipelines of support and I think thats key for outreach
  4. What else is needed in your community to address firearm violence in your community, including funding and activities not described above?
    1. Embed staff in the local hospitals ER to be on the frontlines and speak to individual victims to understand what happened to them.
      • Especially given that not all people report the violence, the ER may be able to help understand the violence at hand
    2. How can we create pipelines of support from higher education institutions? How can we expand and create pipelines of support from higher education institutions?
      • We can really build and expand a network for students with pipelines of support and I think thats key for outreach
    3. Expanding youth opportunities through youth employment
      • Maybe expanding county wide efforts with Reentry Legacy and Antmound might be a great way to help people throughout
    4. Transportation
      • Is a huge barrier to participation for many people and contributes to a lot of the disinvestment that people end up experiencing
    5. Involve the churches as it may be a great way to get into the community
      • Any faith based institution is a great way to work with the community and its leaders - George