Winning Entry: Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) - Sports Edition

The University of Chicago Crime Lab is pleased to announce the launch of the Chicago Youth Gun Violence Initiative. In the spring of 2009, the Crime Lab launched a city-wide design competition, which sought proposals from local government agencies, non-profit organizations and faith-based organizations for promising ideas about how to reduce crime and violence among Chicago youth that could be subject to rigorous evaluation. The response to our request was overwhelming, with over 30 outstanding proposals from a broad range of organizations doing important work all across our city. With the assistance of an advisory selection board that included representatives of the local philanthropic community, service providers, and community members, the Crime Lab is pleased to announce our partnership with two local community organizations, Youth Guidance and World Sport Chicago, to launch a new youth violence prevention program and evaluation. This initiative is made possible with $1 million in funding from the Joyce, MacArthur, McCormick, and Spencer foundations, the Chicago Community Trust, ComEd Corporation, and the National Institute of Health, as well as core support from the University of Chicago’s Office of the Provost, School of Social Service Administration, and Center for Health Administration Studies.

Youth Guidance: Becoming a Man (B.A.M.©) Program
Youth Guidance has been working in Chicago for over 82 years to help improve the lives of children and families by providing access to case management services, academic tutoring, life skills training, individual and group counseling, health services, college preparation, and career development. Youth Guidance currently serves over 16,000 children annually through operations in over 40 elementary and high schools in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system.

As part of the Youth Gun Violence Initiative, Youth Guidance will be providing hundreds of CPS male adolescent students with their innovative Becoming a Man (B.A.M.©) Program, which seeks to help youth develop coping skills for managing situations that might otherwise lead to violence and other negative outcomes including school failure. B.A.M.© seeks to help adolescent boys learn to navigate real-world conflicts, and to overcome faulty assumptions brought about by their environment that violence can resolve their problems. As part of the Youth Gun Violence Initiative, the B.A.M.© program will operate in 14 Chicago schools over a 27 week period during the 2009-10 academic year.

World Sport Chicago: Sports Edition
World Sport Chicago is part of the legacy of Chicago 2016, and has the mission of broadening interest in and expanding access to Olympic and Paralympic sports. Since its launch in 2007, World Sport Chicago has touched over 30,000 Chicago-area youth through its events and programs. World Sport Chicago is partnering with Youth Guidance to complement B.A.M.© with sports programming, by helping to recruit and retain children to participate in B.A.M.© activities, and by reinforcing many of the conflict resolution skills and social and emotional learning objectives of B.A.M.©. The goal of the World Sport Chicago program is to help youth learn to compete within the strict confines and techniques of a sport, and to give them an experience of self-control and accomplishment. By doing all of this within a realistic social context, particularly the one-on-one sports, World Sport Chicago seeks to help participants learn “soft skills” that will help them avoid criminal behavior, succeed in school and in the labor market. The sports offered as part of the Youth Gun Violence Initiative vary by school and include some combination of Olympic wrestling, martial arts, archery, fencing, weightlifting, rugby, and handball. Each school that is participating in Sports Edition will have three different sports seasons throughout the year, with the sport changing each season.