History


Founder: Gianfranco Farruggia
In July 1980, the organization initiated services to adjudicated delinquent adolescents referred by Cook County Juvenile Probation. This service has been maintained to date.

Over its 30-plus year history, the organization has provided Youth and Family counseling and case management services via our Unified Delinquency Intervention Services; Crisis Intervention Services and case management via Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services; Micro-Computer training to low-income adolescents, adults and seniors; Job Readiness, Placement and Retention services to low-income unemployed and under-employed individuals; and direct employment via our Work Center. In partnership with Lester & Rosalie Anixter Center, in 1991 we developed Affirmative Industries of Chicago (AIC) to provide staffing services to address the needs of business and industry while employing persons with economic disadvantages and disabilities. At its peak, AIC employed 750 individuals working 3 shifts that were in operation for 10 years.






Our first program participants

Our programs, which ground our experiences in preventation and intervention efforts, are rooted in case management. These services are provided to youth as young as 13 to as old as 24 years of age.

The managing of a youth’s case can involve interaction and counseling about specific needs and issues; maintaining lines of communication with school personnel (instructional and administrative); locating, securing and monitoring external services (medical, educational, housing, or other needs); maintaining lines of communication with juvenile justice personnel (youth probation officers, parole officers, public defenders, and police officers); locating, securing and monitoring external vocational and academic services and providing tutoring in areas a youth might be lacking; and maintaining lines of communication with various members of a youth’s family to deal with routine as well as crisis issues. Over this program's 30-plus year history its had an 89% to 93% annual success rate of keeping our participants out of the Illinois Department of Corrections. These successes are due to the strong efforts of our Youth and Family Counselors who have been dedicated employees over the years

Our efforts over the years are directly connected to the five major outcomes of intervention and prevention efforts:
  1. Reduction of bullying and victimization
  2. Reduction of general antisocial behavior (vandalism, fighting, theft, truancy)
  3. Reduced recidivism
  4. Increased educational and vocational attainment
  5. Improvement in social climate (improved order and discipline, more positive social relationships, more positive attitudes toward school).