The Risk and Resilience Lab is currently engaged in research exploring justice in schools under a grant from the National Science Foundation. The goal of this project is to understand how the manner in which schools respond to violence and harm (i.e. restorative justice, exclusionary practices, school resource officers) impacts student outcomes and perceptions of school safety and belonging. Quantitative and qualitative data in the form of surveys, focus groups, and interviews are being collected in collaboration with schools in the Chicagoland area, and community organizations such as BUILD, GirlForward, and Unity.
Additionally, since 2000, our research team has been working on understanding a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that will allow us to expand our cross-age peer mentoring project. The overall goal of this project titled Saving Lives, Inspiring Youth (S.L.I.Y) is to evaluate the effectiveness of community based cross-age mentoring to reduce negative outcomes related to violence exposure/engagement and promote positive development among African-American and Latino youth from four low-income, high violence urban neighborhoods (Englewood, Bronzeville, North Lawndale, and South Lawndale) engaging youth mentors from the same high-risk environment. In collaboration with several community organizations such as Bright Star Community Outreach, Sue Duncan Children's Center, Telpochcalli Community Fine Arts School, After School Matters, and more, a prospective approach has been implemented to follow cross-age mentor/mentee pairs for one year of mentoring. We have concluded the mentoring intervention at all sites and data have been collected pre, post and at a 12 month follow-up. Qualitative data collected throughout the intervention has allowed us to investigate what occurred in the mentoring process that helped produce positive outcomes from the cross-age peer mentoring relationships. Data are currently in the process of being analyzed in order to evaluate the intervention and disseminate our findings.
Unity Partnership aims to have a positive impact on the relationship between police and civilians by creating opportunities for interactions that foster mutual understanding, erase negative stereotypes, and develop new pathways for dialogue in the community.