Choose to Change: Your Mind, Your Game is an Innovative Approach to Violence Prevention

Choose to Change (C2C) engages youth heavily impacted by violence and trauma by connecting them with intensive advocate and wraparound supports along with trauma-informed therapy to help them live safe and successful lives.

A partnership between Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. and Children’s Home & Aid, C2C provides young people with a trauma-informed, sixth month program to help them develop healthy decision-making tools.

What makes C2C unique?

Through a randomized controlled trial, researchers at the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab have found that C2C reduces violent-crime arrests by almost 50% and increases attendance in school by about a week.

The Choose to Change program played an important part in making sure I was kept on a path that guided me towards making the right decisions. Without it, I’m not sure where I’d be today.

― Malik Hicks, C2C Alum

They [C2C] gave me a bunch of opportunities to try to help me get into hair school. I feel like they’re family to me – [they] helped me with my anger and when I called them, they were there.

― Trishauna Herron, C2C Alum

Program Components

Intensive Advocate and Wraparound Support

C2C youth and their families receive an average of 8 hours of community-based individualized wraparound services and support outside of school per week, which provides basic necessities in addition to meaningful opportunities for growth.

Group Behavioral Health Support

C2C youth participate in up to 16 sessions of trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy sessions run by a clinically trained therapist, with the aim of returning a sense of control and hope to youth while increasing their social-emotional skillset.

Evidence-Based Programming

C2C partnered with the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab to rigorously evaluate the program’s impact on behavioral and academic outcomes through a randomized controlled trial. Mid-study findings have shown that the C2C program is effective in helping youth reduce violence engagement and interactions with the justice system while also improving educational engagement.

Choose to Change helps Chicago’s youth succeed by improving academic engagement and reducing interactions with the justice system.

Our Program at a Glance



Since 2015, over 800 youth from communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence throughout Chicago have either completed or are actively engaged in C2C services.



While C2C began in the greater Englewood areas in 2015, the program has expanded in recent years to engage youth across many neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West Sides.



C2C offers 6 months of community-based wraparound support and trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy to help youth process trauma and develop healthy decision-making tools.

About Us

Choose to Change is an innovative partnership to help youth thrive and succeed.

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