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Sauk Village is located in south suburban Cook County. Sauk Village has a population of 10,410, 65 percent of whom are African-American. A readiness assessment design was created for Sauk Village with the following goals:
- Assess and document the extent of overrepresentation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system from the Sauk Village Community.
- Assess and document south suburban Cook County's ability to address DMC in Sauk Village using the following criteria:
- Stakeholders' engagement and collaboration;
- Community engagement and collaboration;
- Purpose of alternatives to detention and utilization of alternatives to detention;
- Capacity for data collection and analysis; and
- Identification and documentation of other factors that could impact DMC reduction efforts effectively.
Meetings to discuss the DMC initiative were attended and facilitated by key stakeholders from Sauk Village, community-based and faith-based organizations, and residents of Sauk Village. The dialogue focused on strategies for the collection of both formal and informal data on arrests of community juveniles at risk of detention and the selection of a target population. Since that dialogue initially occurred, juvenile arrests and probation violators have been areas of focus.
In 2007 the Y.E.S. (Youth Expecting Solutions) Youth Group was created. The Y.E.S. group serves as a youth leadership community group with focus of reducing the number of youth being arrested formally or informally at the community/local level. Y.E.S. Youth Group members have continued to meet during this quarter with participation in alternative activities. Y.E.S. Youth Group has participated in DMC Awareness activities such as Intergenerational Program, Rollin' Against Violence, and Drama and Arts. Additionally, the Y.E.S. Youth Group in 2009 received a grant to continue work for two antiviolence programs: Rollin' Against Violence and After School Programs. These programs build bridges between municipal, youth and community. With the grant, a number of positive youth activities have been developed for Sauk Village youth. With the increased funding, the youth program continues to operate five days per week.
Current and planned youth activities include:
- Rolling Against Violence
- Dance and drama
- Girls' mentoring
- Arts and crafts
- Recreational activities
- Computer workshop and lab
- Chicago Bulls playoff game outing (planned for April 2009)
In 2009, the Sauk Village Fusion Dance Troupe was created. The group provides exposure and dance expression to Sauk Village youth external to local communities. Sauk Village Fusion Dance Troupe participated in the Inspirational Gospel Celebration Reception in Sauk Village to bridge the gap between youth and adults. The dance troupe received special recognition for their efforts.
The Sauk Village YES group convened approximately 35 youth, 12 parents, 3 interns, CBO, DMC Coordinator and community residents to participate in a Town hall meeting with the Mayor of Sauk Village to discuss issues concerning youth in the Sauk Village Community. Some of the areas of concern were:
- Lack of activities for youth of Sauk Village
- Lack of use of the senior and youth service center
- Treatment of youth by police officers in Sauk Village such as tone of voice used by the officers and ticketing of youth who walk on the side of streets with no sidewalks
- Bringing employment and business opportunities to the community to retain current residents.
As an outcome of the meeting, the recreational center was secured as the additional location to expand DMC programs and activities.
Local DMC Coordinator Angela Greene attended the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Conference in Orlando, Florida. From her discussions during the conference, she was extended an invitation to present on the workshop entitled "DMC: From a Community Perspective." The presentation was given at a second conference of the NCJFCJ given in Chicago during July of 2009. Angela Greene also attended the Congressional Black Caucus Conference in Washington, DC. At the conference, Angela attended workshops and met with key legislators regarding DMC initiatives.
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