by KOBE HERNANDEZ
Chicago may seem like a grand city to others visiting, but the residents have other opinions. An eighteen year-old high school senior, Joshua Streater, has had friends who have been shot and killed. He told NBC news, “You won’t believe what happens to your friends.”
Another resident, Crespin Luna, states that hearing gunshots is just a part of a normal daily life. Luna states, “You’ll hear gunshots or something and know that somebody’s passed away.”
Fortunately, Chicago introduced a non-profit organization called the “Becoming A Man”( BAM), program. The BAM is a learning program for students who feel insecure or unstable with their emotions. Also, it’s a place where people can come to socialize and get help with their problems. The BAM is offered for male students at the Youth Guidance in Chicago-area schools. In a large part, it’s supposed to help students before they join gangs.
One of the helping principles that the program use is cognitive behavioral therapy. This was first used at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center where it prevented violence by helping others slow down and think before they do something uncalled for.
During social sessions, the young men can work through their emotions and find alternative methods to deal with situations.
In recent statistics, the program cut violent crime by 50 percent and increased high school graduation rates by 19 percent for those involved in the program.
Anthony Ramirez-Di Vittorio, the founder of the program, states, “It’s a safe place to come check in and to deal… with everything that’s happening out there.”
In better news, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a latest expansion of a three-year, $36 million drive to invest in the program. He hopes that the added investment will dramatically increase the extent that the program can reach throughout other neighbourhoods.
Streater states, “BAM has made me become more responsible, respectful and made me have more control of my actions, my behavior. It made me become a better person.”
As our society strives toward a peaceful country, this program is sure to help the dream push through.