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Rockford Police opens youth center thanks to grant

ROCKFORD — The Rockford Police Department is housing a support services center thanks to a grant by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICIJA).

The Community-Based Violence and Interruption Prevention program is a trauma-focused initiative that provides support and services to at-risk youth ages 11-16, who have experienced trauma due to violence. The objective of the VIP program is to keep youth and families engaged in order to shift children away from criminal behavior through street intervention, counseling and therapy, case management and developmental services.

The center is housed in Police District 2, 1410 Broadway.

The project is the result of a cooperation between the police department, Youth Services Network (YSN) and the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation (CNCT).

Rockford Police Assistant Deputy Chief Mike Dalke said the Youth Services Network will provide crisis intervention and outreach to identify youth who qualify for the program. Youth Services Network will work with those selected and their families to develop a case management plan, set goals, and provide advocacy services to include a parent engagement specialist and therapist.

Police officers will engage participants in tutoring, mentoring, leadership, nutritional education and athletic activities. The program began last week and will be held every Wednesday evening. The CNCT will teach participants computer coding, music production, nonviolence leadership and entrepreneurship development every Saturday afternoon. R.

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