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The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award

In Little Village – one of the city’s most vibrant communities – 50 percent of the population is under 25. And while renowned for its residential and economic vitality, in recent years youth and street violence have monopolized the headlines there.

Determined to quell violence and strengthen the community, Enlace Chicago built on a 10-year history of violence prevention to create a multi-pronged approach that involves all community stakeholders – from youth, to parents, to schools and employers. Enlace was the catalyst for the creation of safety networks, community watch and safe passage programs that stimulated greater community involvement and reinforced the notion that neighborhood safety is everyone’s responsibility. From its headquarters at 28th and Harding, the organization also fostered mentorship and advocacy programs that provide internships, encourage social services and employment opportunities, sponsor and organize sports and educational programming for weekends and host evenings and summer activities. Partnerships with gang intervention organizations provide meaningful help and alternatives for young people.

These innovative, comprehensive efforts have significantly reduced violence in Little Village, connected youth to opportunity and strengthened the neighborhood. They are also the reason that Enlace Chicago is the winner of The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award.