Faith Leaders to Provide Post-Trauma Counseling to Victims of Violence; Reduce Incidents Overall

Bright Star church, with support from University of Chicago Medicine, Northwestern Medicine and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, is launching an innovative approach to help heal victims of violence and avert behaviors that may lead to conflict by using faith leaders to provide post-trauma counseling and other support. Bright Star church, with support from University of Chicago Medicine, Northwestern Medicine and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, is launching an innovative approach to help heal victims of violence and avert behaviors that may lead to conflict by using faith leaders to provide post-trauma counseling and other support.

The plans for the Bronzeville Dream Center were announced at Bright Star church on Thursday, September 18th. United Way President and CEO, Wendy DuBoe, was joined by Mayor Rahm Emanuel; President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (NMHC) and United Way Cabinet Chair, Dean Harrison; Kenneth Polonsky, Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs of the University of Chicago; and Rev. Chris Harris of Bright Star church in celebrating the launch of the Center. More than 25 inter-faith leaders—who will be trained in delivering mental health services—attended the celebration in support of the Dream Center.

The new Bronzeville Dream Center will draw on a model used by NATAL-Israel Trauma Center, which helps residents of communities affected by war and terrorism in the region cope with and reverse the traumatic aftereffects of violence. Dream Center organizers also will be working with Social Development Research Group’s Communities That Care, an approach that seeks to strengthen the community and prevent youth delinquency, substance use and violence with programmatic interventions, including resources coordinated by United Way.

Under the partnership, the University of Chicago Medicine and Northwestern Medicine committed $250,000 each for the first two years of data gathering, implementation, oversight and evaluation. United Way of Metropolitan Chicago will offer scaling expertise, funding administration and access to its network of partners. In addition to NATAL, Dream Center organizers will be working with Social Development Research Group’s Communities That Care, an approach that seeks to strengthen the community and prevent youth delinquency, substance use and violence.

Watch the WGN report here

Read the Chicago Tribune reporthere

Read the DNAInfo report here