Keeping The Peace Program
A year-long project with a holistic approach.
Created in 2013, Keeping The Peace Program (KTPP) was established as a 12-month program providing resources, tools and mentoring opportunities that enabled children of incarcerated parents to overcome obstacles such as poverty, violence, and lack of education. At its heart, this program worked to advocate for children who are victims of a parent’s situation. KTPP addressed the child’s need for physical and emotional wellness, social guidance and educational assistance.
KTPP was grant project that was created to help provide services to community youth on the west side of Chicago, primarily in the high risk Austin and North Lawndale neighborhoods. It included a 12 week summer session and a 38 week school year session working with Chicago Public School children.
More than 150 youth of incarcerated parents, caregivers and family members participated in Keeping The Peace, and 500 direct service hours were provided over the course of the year including:
Group workshops that included counseling with a strong focus on conflict resolution, problem-solving and anger management. Mind and body wellness classes, such as meditation, yoga and swimming lessons were provided.
Mentoring services targeted empowering students through positive social relationships with peers.
Field trips around Chicago were a highlight and first experience for many of the children, exposing them to activities most of us take for granted. These excursions included trips to the Art Institute, an organic Farm, Tuskegee Airmen flying lessons, Whole Foods cooking classes, Diana’s Banana’s Chocolate Factory, Second City, Women’s Sky basketball game, planting and maintaining gardens, Millennium Park, and the Brookfield Zoo.
Caregiver and Parent Support
Using a nationally accredited curriculum called Strengthening Families, we worked with families of children in the program weekly to make sure basic needs and support tools were provided.
Successes And Outcomes
As a result, all participants showed growth in areas of student achievement, self-esteem and optimism. Nearly all participants have successfully stayed in school and out of the criminal justice system, putting them on a path to success and ending the cycle. Without intervention, statistics show that nearly 80% of this target population would face high school dropout and/or incarceration.