Our mission is to come alongside youth and young adults twenty-four years old and younger who live in North Lawndale and are involved in the juvenile and adult criminal courts. Through quality legal representation, compassionate social health services, and one-on-one mentoring, our mission is to help our youth and young adults become good citizens and leaders of our community.
We are a ministry of Lawndale Community Church, located in North Lawndale. While we focus on serving North Lawndale youth, youth of nearby neighborhoods are also welcome to seek our services.
Under our Juvenile Justice program, our staff and volunteers come along side youth from North Lawndale accused of an act of delinquency in the Cook County Juvenile Justice Division. Depending on the nature of the alleged delinquency, these youth may be seventeen years of age or younger. Under our Young Adult program, our staff and volunteers come alongside young adults twenty-four years of age and younger from North Lawndale who have been accused of a crime in the Cook County Criminal Justice Division (adult court). Depending on the nature of the alleged crime, those in adult court may be between thirteen and twenty-four years old.
We provide youth with a unique integration of legal and social services. Our youth meet regularly with a case manager to create a service plan for success that is unique to their needs. Attorneys appear in court on behalf of our youth, advise them of their rights, visit them in custody, and advocate for them in and out of court. Our attorneys and case managers work together to develop a network of support for each youth to help them navigate their way through the justice system and accomplish the goals identified in their game plan. In addition to their attorney and case manager, a youth’s network of support often includes family members, a mentor, teacher, athletic coach, afterschool program leader, employer, youth pastor, and/or counselor.
We serve youth throughout the full duration of their involvement with the criminal justice system. Our services begin while our youth have a case pending in juvenile or adult criminal court, but continue after the case is over during their period of supervision, probation, incarceration, or parole, or for six months if they are found not guilty. On average, we work with our youth for three years until they are completely free of the criminal justice system. Every year, we hold an Annual Graduation & Awards Ceremony where we honor youth who have graduated from our program. To be honored as a Graduate, youth must be completely free from the criminal justice system and have consistently demonstrated good citizenship and leadership in our community.
We require youth and young adults in our Juvenile Justice and Young Adult programs to do the following in exchange for our services:
• Pay $10 per month while we represent you in court
• Work on developing and implementing a game plan with identified career goals and the steps needed to achieve those goals
• Be engaged in a mentoring relationship
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