Let’s talk about the struggle our kids are facing.
75% – 93% of incarcerated youth have experienced severe trauma.
Research shows traumatic stress changes the structure of the brain, hard-wiring it to protect against danger. This causes youth to live in “survival mode” – even when there are no actual threats, making it extremely hard for them to develop positive coping mechanisms.
Incarceration is not the solution.
Youth incarceration can be profoundly harmful. And expensive.
Statistics show that youth incarcerated for more than a year are…
• Almost 3x more likely to have physical limitations
• Over 4x more likely to have depressive symptoms
• Over 2x more likely to have suicidal thoughts as adults
FY19 figures for Illinois project the cost of housing in a juvenile justice facility for one year at $187,765 per youth.
We have a better idea.
What if we meet kids where they are in the system? Whether that’s…
- Arrested and detained at a police station.
- Placed in a diversion program, put on probation.
- Recently released from an Illinois Detention Center or Correctional Facility.
- Or Incarcerated.
…and we help them confront their trauma by helping them write and share their story. Stories that are the hardest to tell and weigh the most. Can we lift the burden of lost identity, lost dignity, lost confidence and lost hope?
We can. And we do.
“Stories have the power to create empathy within us, and over time, people begin to see the world through the eyes of the ones they have opposed.”
Storycatchers Teaching Artist
Right now, approximately 400 young people involved with the juvenile justice system are collaborating with each other and professional teaching artists to weave a fully-realized musical narrative. Learn more about our cohorts and how they use our award-winning writing curriculum to help prepare them for re-entry into society.
It’s not just our impact on participants, but also the greater community. We work with the Chicago Police Department in unique and critical ways. Our young people perform for judges and civic influencers. Every year, hundreds of at-risk children watch and discuss the stories performed in our musicals.
See the stats. Read about the change. See a success story that will make you smile.