Choose to Change: Your Mind, Your Game

Photo by Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Choose to Change: An Innovative Approach to Violence Prevention

Choose to Change engages youth heavily impacted by violence and trauma and connects them with intensive advocacy and mentorship along with trauma-informed therapy to help youth live safe and successful lives.

A partnership between Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. and Children’s Home & Aid, Choose to Change (C2C) provides young people a trauma-informed six-month program with:

Intensive Mentorship

C2C youth and their families receive on average of 8 hours a week of community-based intensive mentoring and tailored support outside of school to provide basic necessities and meaningful opportunities for growth.

Group Behavioral Health Support

C2C youth engage in up to 16 sessions of trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy sessions run by a clinically trained therapists that aim to return a sense of safety to youth and increase 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 reducing violence and interaction with the justice system and improving educational engagement.

Our program at a glance

800+ Youth

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

X communities served

While C2C began in the greater Englewood neighborhoods in 2015, the program has expanded in recent years to engaging youth across x different community areas in the City of Chicago.

6 Months of Service

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

What participants say

“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.

– C2C alum, Malik Hicks

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 call them, they were there.

– C2C participant, Trishauna Herron
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